20 Slow Cooker Recipes that go with Rice or Pasta

We love saucy food. Sauce makes everything better. So it’s not a surprise that we love just about anything that gets served over pasta or rice.  But since I’m such a big fan of the slow cooker, I’m really loving these meals  that go with rice and pasta right now.

RicePastaFB

 

The options are endless when it comes to meals that include rice or pasta. And with both pasta and rice relatively affordable, it makes sense that a lot of us center our meals around one or the other. You can cook your way through a lot of different flavors from around the world, too. From kicking up the heat with Mexican ingredients, or creating an Asian-inspired stir fry, and taking a trip down south for Jambalaya or just eating something comforting like Chicken and gravy, rice is the perfect starch to round out so many meals. But pasta? I think pasta has a special place in our hearts. I love saucy meat sauces and Italian inspired anything really has to have a good pasta with it.

What I love about all of these recipes is they are all easy and require minimal time in the kitchen. That means I have more time for enjoying the summer and spending time with my kids.

What’s your favorite pasta or rice meal? I am always looking for new ideas!

Slow Cook Recipes to serve with Rice & Pasta

  1. Sausage Jambalaya
  2. Chicken Curry
  3. Chicken Spaghetti
  4. Thai Peanut Chicken
  5. Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks
  6. Chicken and Broccoli “stir fry”
  7. Italian Chicken with Tomatoes
  8. Spaghetti and Meatballs
  9. Teriyaki Pork Chops
  10. Baked Chicken with Summer Vegetables
  11. Ravioli
  12. Chicken and Gravy
  13. Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken
  14. Garlic Chicken with More Garlic
  15. Sweet and Sour Pork Chops
  16. Zesty Chicken (pasta, rice or couscous)

From other Bloggers

  1. Tamale Balls
  2. Chicken and Zucchini Pasta
  3. Eggplant Parm

RicePastaPin

Print Friendly

3 Things that Work in the Kitchen – Hand Washing Dishes Tips and Tricks

3 Things that work in the kitchen

It’s been a while since I’ve done a 3 Things post.  We’ve been deep in the slower summer pace around here and I’ve let a few routines languish.  But let’s get back to it (or at least pretend to) and talk about some things that are working in the kitchen.

Specifically, let’s talk about washing dishes.  Our dishwasher had a terrible leak.  Actually, we think it had two different leaks based on the damage that was done.  You may remember that I thought I’d fixed it.  I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

Several weeks ago we noticed that the cabinet next to the dishwasher had some water damage.  It had been soaking up all the water that had been leaking, keeping us from realizing just how bad the leak was.  Let’s just say that water logged particle board will really smell after a while.  Yuck!

Once I realized how bad it was, I wanted that cabinet and dishwasher out fast!  Isaac was home that day, so he helped me get them both out.  Here’s what I mean by help – I told him which screws to unscrew to loosen the cabinet from the wall and he contorted his 17 year old body under the cabinet to do it.  We worked together to figure out how to unhook the dishwasher from the plumbing by sending text pictures back and forth to my dad.

The floor underneath the cabinet and dishwasher was nasty!  I cleaned it and then Jim bleached it that evening.  Here’s what we were left with:

Kitchen without dishwasher and cabinet

We still need to cut and patch the side of the sink cabinet.  It was also water damaged.  As I write this post, the kitchen still looks like this.  Three weeks and counting.  The weird thing is, it hasn’t really bothered me.

I unloaded the cabinet and put all of those dishes/serving trays in the dining room.  The silverware is in the tray on top of the counter, covered with a dish towel to keep it clean.  I’m sure that one of these days I’ll reach the point where I can’t take it anymore.  Hopefully, the new cabinet will be in before that happens.

For now, we’re hand washing the dishes.  I’m not sure when we’ll decide to replace the dishwasher.  Surprisingly, I don’t really miss the dishwasher.  The kitchen stays cleaner than it did when we had the dishwasher.  Everyone pitches in to help clean.  Overall, hand washing is working for us.  Here are three reasons why:

1.  A decent sized dish drainer

We’d been using a drying mat for the few hand washed things we did while using the dishwasher.  A drying mat doesn’t cut it when you’re hand washing everything though.  I bought the largest sized dish drainer I could find.  The store I shopped didn’t have a great selection though, but this one works.  I think dish drainers used to be designed better years ago.

dish drainer

I also prefer the kind with the drain board on the long side.  Those fit the space better I think.

2.  Dishwashing wand

Dawn dishwashing wand

Everyone has been helping out with the dishes, largely because of this tool.  It’s easy for the kids to wash a plate and glass after a snack.  They’ll even wash their own plates after dinner.  That helps keep the dish duty to a reasonable level.

There are a number of brands that make a dishwashing tool like this.  I chose this because I liked the sponge on the end.  Some have scrubbies, but I didn’t want anything that rough.  I’m also a huge fan of Dawn dishwashing detergent.  The stuff just works better than anything else I’ve tried.  This isn’t sponsored at all, I just really like Dawn.

3.  Plenty of dishtowels and dish rags

I’ve always been in the habit of getting a clean towel and dish rag (or dishcloth for those who grew up more refined 😉  ) every morning, so I had a lot of them.  But hand washing sometimes requires more than one a day.

I haven’t found the perfect dish rag yet.  I do like microfiber, because it dries out quickly.  That keeps them from smelling bad.  As for towels, anything that’s 100% cotton is absorbent and works well.

How do you feel about hand washing dishes?  Are you devoted to a dishwasher or do you prefer hand washing?

Print Friendly

9 Asian Style Meals in the Slow Cooker

Almost everyone loves a good Asian dish. There’s something about even plain old takeout that just hits the spot. It’s probably because Asian food is big on umami, and it’s hard not to crave that perfect combination of flavors. But take out can really add up, especially if you have a family of hungry people to feed, and making it on the stove can take a lot of time. Plus, not everyone has a wok to make the perfect stir-fry. Slow cooker to the rescue!

asianfb

The slow cooker is obviously my favorite summer kitchen accessory. It’s the perfect way to keep the kitchen cool. Not turning on the stove or oven makes a big difference!  Of course, I find it to be such a time saver, on top of it.  You can make almost everything in the slow cooker, and Asian food is no exception to this! There’s a lot of things you can do with Asian-inspired flavors in the slow cooker. From tangy, sour and sweet  pork chops, to an easy stir-fry that you can make in the crock pot, it’s hard to beat coming home to food that’s better than take out at the end fo the day.

Of course, most of this food is not authentic Asian by any means. But all of the flavors are inspired by great Asian dishes and some of our favorite take out dishes. All of them really hit the spot when we’re craving  take out. My family loves it when they see any of these nine recipes going into the slow cooker for dinner!

What’s your favorite Asian Inspired meal for the slow cooker?

Asian Inspired Slow Cooker Meals

  1. Thai Peanut Chicken
  2. Korean BBQ Tacos
  3. Soy Ginger Chicken
  4. Thai Curry Chicken Soup
  5. Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks
  6. Teriyaki Pork Chops
  7. Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs
  8. Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
  9. Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

asianslowcookerpin

Print Friendly

Homemade Popsicles with Whole Fruit

Whole Fruit Pina Colada Popsicles

A few weeks ago, I got a bright idea.  I decided to make homemade popsicles with real fruit so we would always have a healthy snack around this summer.  This idea was so perfect!

There’s no end of flavors you can make and they’re all delicious.  (See the recipes below for Pina Colada Popsicles and Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles)

Whole fruit is good for you.

They’re quick and easy to make.

The molds were cheap to buy in the grocery store.

I was sure that I’d be able to resist my beloved ice cream once I had a freezer filled with homemade pops.

All of those things were true, but one.  I’ll let you guess which one.

I started by making Pina Colada Popsicles based on the recipe by Shutterbean.  I didn’t use real rum in mine, but went with imitation extract.  You can also leave out the rum flavor all together.  I also didn’t strain the popsicles before freezing.  I wasn’t concerned with making them perfectly smooth.

I really liked the Pina Colada Popsicles.  They taste like vacation and summertime.  So refreshing!

Homemade Popsicles with Whole Fruit

Serves: 10 popsicles

Ingredients
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut in cubes
  • ⅓ cup canned coconut milk, stirred well
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. rum extract
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze until firm, 3-4 hours.

Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Popsicle

For the Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles I used a bag of frozen triple variety cherries I bought at Costco.  I envisioned the vanilla yogurt being more swirled in these, but it turned out more blended.  Next time, I think I would just stir it all together and not worry about trying to make them look pretty.

The flavor of the Cherry Vanilla Yogurt pops is wonderful.  Very cherry with creamy, sweet yogurt.  This could be breakfast!

This recipe is based on this one from Steel House Kitchen. I used Greek style vanilla yogurt instead of plain and I skipped the honey.

Homemade Popsicles with Whole Fruit

Serves: 10 popsicles

Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, thawed
  • 1 cup Greek style vanilla yogurt
Instructions
  1. Place cherries in blender and blend till nearly smooth.
  2. Stir yogurt into cherries.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds.
  4. Freeze till firm, 3-4 hours.

As I said at the top of the post, all of the statements below are true except one.

There are more homemade popsicle variations than there are fruits.  So many to choose from!

Popsicles made with real fruit is healthy, especially if you include other healthy ingredients.

Freezer pops only take a few minutes of prep time.  Once they’re in the freezer it’s just a matter of waiting.

Decent popsicle molds are readily available and inexpensive.

For the statement that didn’t turn out to be true – Even with a freezer full of delicious, homemade popsicles I cannot give up the ice cream.  You guys, I love ice cream with a deep, deep love.  I can’t quit it!

 

via GIPHY

 

Print Friendly

Learning to Enjoy the Good Things in Life – Plus S’mores Milkshakes

Smores Chocolate Milkshake

Back in the winter, during a big snow that confined us in the house, Jim and I decided to cash in our frequent flyer miles.  We booked a trip to Paris, France for the first week of August.  Crazy!  We’ve been gathering air miles and thinking of going to Europe for a few years now, but we kept putting it off for one reason and another.  It felt good to have the trip booked and planned.

As the trip got closer, I started to feel like maybe we shouldn’t go.  It just feels so extravagant.  Then we discovered that the dishwasher had been leaking slowly for a long time.  Long enough to ruin the cabinet next to it.

Things had to be propped up.

Kitchen without dishwasher and cabinet

I began to really wonder if we should spend the money on the trip.  We can still afford it though, and of course, it was too late to cancel anyway.  But I was having such trouble justifying the trip to myself.

I mean – Paris!  It’s a dream trip!  We aren’t celebrating anything.  No big birthdays or anniversaries.  If we wanted to get away, we could do a closer trip that’s less expensive.

Then it hit me that Paris is like those wonderful milkshakes you see on Instagram and Pinterest – the kind with a whole other dessert on top of them.  Just like those shakes, Paris is decadent and delicious and absolutely impossible to justify.

Smores Milkshake with Cookie

The thing is, why should I need to justify it to myself at all?

I realized that I have trouble accepting the really great things in life and enjoying them as they come.

I determined to change my attitude about the trip.  To stop trying to justify it and stop feeling guilty for taking a once in a lifetime trip with my husband.  Honestly it doesn’t get any better than that and I want to enjoy it fully with no guilt attached and no need to justify it.

Shortly after this epiphany, Jim had a bad bike wreck.  I got a call at 6:30am from a stranger saying he’d been in an accident and they were waiting on the ambulance.  By the time I got there, he was loaded on the ambulance, bleeding and immobilized because they feared a neck or spine injury.

He ended up having a concussion and lots of bruises, scrapes and road rash, but he’s recovering just fine.  His wreck was three weeks before our trip, but he’s going to be fine to go.

Then the air conditioner in our house stopped working.  More real life stuff coming at us.  More reasons to make me second guess taking this trip.

Milkshake jar ready

Life is messy.  But we are all prepped for this trip.  Life isn’t perfect, and waiting for the perfect time for a once in a lifetime event would be foolish.  We are ready to experience all the decadent goodness of traveling together to Paris!

Which brings me to these S’mores Milkshakes.  We consume a lot of milkshakes at our house, but they aren’t as decadent as these.  This time, I wanted to go all out!

I started with top notch ingredients.

Kroger_PromisedLand_Breyers_Summer_Milkshake_asset_1_500x500_061516_V2[2]

I popped into Kroger for Promised Land Chocolate Milk and Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream.  The actual milkshake part of this dessert has only those two ingredients.  And I have to say that this is the best chocolate milkshake I’ve ever had at home.  That Promised Land Chocolate Milk is almost like a milkshake before even adding ice cream.  It’s so good!

The S’mores part of the shake comes from prepping the jar and adding a S’mores cookie that I picked up in the Kroger bakery.

To prep the jar, I swiped marshmallow and fudge toppings inside the glasses.  More marshmallow topping rimmed the outside of the jars and dripped down in imperfect, messy streams.  I scattered chocolate sprinkles on the marshmallow topping.

Pour the chocolate milkshake into the prepped glasses.  Top with another scoop of ice cream, so that the cookie has something to hold onto.  Add whipped cream and stick the in the cookie.

Did I mention you’ll want a plate under these?  Once the cookie goes in, the milkshake will begin to overflow in a lovely, messy this-is-too-good-to-be-true kind of way!

Promis Land milk with milkshake

You need to make these milkshakes!  And when you do, think about savoring the good things in life without attaching any strings to them.  No justification.  No guilt.

Drink the chocolatey shake.  Eat the cookie.  Scrape the fudge and marshmallow from inside the glass.  Then lick the outside too!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Disclosure: I have written this post on behalf of Kroger, Promised Land and Breyers.  I have been compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own.

Print Friendly

Garden Produce in the Slow Cooker

You know what one of my favorite things about summer is? Fresh garden produce! But lately it’s just too hot to turn on the stove and cook any of our hauls from the garden.  I love my slow cooker for cooking everything, and it’s perfect for cooking up produce, too!

There are dozens of ways add produce into your meals. But if you’re looking for some ways to straight up cook veggies and fruits, here are some of my favorites.

gardenslowcooker

Cook Garden Produce in the Slow Cooker

  1. Potatoes Au Gratin
  2. Summer Squash
  3. Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes (and chicken)
  4. Honey Glazed Carrots
  5. Scalloped Potatoes
  6. Sweet Potatoes and Apples
  7. Apple Butter
  8. Apple Sauce

From Other Bloggers

  1. Baked Potatoes
  2. Caramelized Onions
  3. Corn on the Cob
  4. Parmesan Ranch Mushrooms

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly

A Salad for Peace and Victory

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Peanuts and Blue Cheese

Over the last few months, I’ve intentionally not paid much attention to the news.  Or maybe I should say, I’m very deliberate about the news and the sources I seek out.  But sometimes events happen and they demand our attention.  They come in with all the pain and confusion and helplessness attached.

There’s been a lot of that this summer.

Events that feel so big, so full of hurt and hate, that it’s hard to know how we should respond.  How can we make a difference or help in the face of such anguish and pain?

sweet potato spinach peanuts

Maybe it’s with the smallest actions that we are able to bring light to the dark world.   Maybe it starts with simple things.  Teaching our kids about people in the past who made a difference with their own quiet actions.   Gathering our family and friends around the table together.  Sharing a meal and a conversation may seem too small to matter, but I don’t think it is.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes

This salad is inspired by George Washington Carver.  Carver devoted his life to doing what he knew and loved best – growing plants.  That may seem a little too simple to make a difference, but the results of his life are dramatic.

I love the way Andy Andrews weaves George Washington Carver’s story in with several others to show us how the butterfly effect works.  Go watch that video now.  I’ll wait for you and I promise that it’s worth your time.

In 1942, George W. Carver wrote a short pamphlet titled, “Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace”.  In it he outlines all kinds of things that can be grown in a small garden that will help feed a family.  My salad is based on a few of the things he mentions, but I’ve updated it for modern tastes and to account for buying the ingredients in a grocery.  I’m a terrible gardener.

I also flipped the name from his original “Victory and Peace” to “Peace and Victory”.  In our world today it feels like peace is the victory we need.

The recipe for the salad is below.  If you make it, talk with your family about Carver and his work with peanuts, sweet potatoes and victory gardens.  Talk about how his small actions made such a huge impact in the world.  Talk about Moses Carver and his brave action to rescue and raise the infant G.W. Carver.

Talk about Susan Carver, whose friendship with Mary overcame all kinds of things in that hate-filled world they lived in and how the seeds of that friendship between women eventually led to two million people being saved.

George Washington Carver salad ingredients

Whether you make this salad or not, do whatever it is you do best.  I share recipes.  You may help people with banking or teach kids in school or take care of sick people or…

And know that whatever you do, however small it may seem, it is making a difference for good in the world.

Keep flapping your butterfly wings!  Gather your family around the table and show them that they have butterfly wings to flap too.  If we all flap our wings enough, we’ll bring good into this hard world.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes and peanuts

A Salad for Peace and Victory

Serves: 4-6 servings

Spinach, sweet potato salad topped with peanuts and blue cheese
Ingredients
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 cups baby spinach or turnip greens
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
For the dressing
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook sweet potatoes in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic to the skillet. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and browned.
  3. Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well.
  4. To serve salad, top spinach with sweet potatoes, peanuts and blue cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

 

 

 

Print Friendly

20 Slow Cooker Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the classic “I need to feed my family–quick!” kind of meals. But quick and easy doesn’t have to mean PBJ or BLTs night after night. There are lots of delicious things to serve between two slices of bread.  These fifteen different sandwiches you can throw into your slow cooker and forget about until dinner time are life savers for us during the summer–or any busy time of the year! There’s enough variety that even if we ate sandwiches for a week straight, we’d probably not be tired of them.

SandwhichFB

The slow cooker is such a time saver. And when it’s hot–not having to heat up the kitchen is a huge bonus. And thanks to the slow cooker, you get to enjoy big, juicy flavorful sandwiches without slaving over the stove or grill for hours on hot or busy days.  That’s my kind of dinner!

20 Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker

  1. Hawaiian BBQ Sandwiches
  2. Jerk Chicken Sandwiches
  3. Beef Shwarma
  4. Italian Sausage and Pepper Subs
  5. Pork and Gravy Sandwiches
  6. Chicken Bacon & Ranch Sandwiches
  7. Chicken Philly Sandwiches
  8. Beef Gyros
  9. French Dip Sandwiches
  10. African Pulled Beef Sandwiches
  11. Pizza Steak Sandwiches
  12. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
  13. Italian Beef Sandwiches
  14. BBQ Peach Pulled Pork
  15. Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
  16. Cilantro Lime Chicken Sandwiches
  17. Bacon Cheeseburger
  18. Beer Brats
  19. Peach BBQ Pork Sliders
  20. Balsamic Chicken Salad Sandwiches

 

SandwichesPin

Print Friendly

12 Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Recipes for Summer

If you have been around my blog for long, you know how much I love Tex-Mex. I love the flavors, the spice and how many easy options there are for Mexican style food in the slow cooker. Needless to say, Tex-Mex makes a frequent appearance on our dinner table.

Tex-Mexfb

One of the most popular recipes on the site is the slow cooker fajitas. The fajitas have minimal prep time, so you can get them into the slow cooker quickly. Slow cooking them makes the flavors blend. Plus, making them in the slow cooker means it’s an easy choice to make to feed a crowd! I love that both beef and chicken are freezer friendly. That means you can prep them in batches and easily grab one for the slow cooker in the morning! Speaking of freezer friendly food, shredded taco beef is a huge saver for me. I make up a big batch, and freeze the leftovers for later. Super easy, and there’s so many meals you can make with it as a base.

And tacos! My kids love tacos because they can build their own. While there are hundreds of recipes out there for delicious tex mex food in the slow cooker, these 12 are some of our go-tos and family favorites. Enjoy!

Summer Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Recipes

  1. Salsa Verde Steak
  2. Smoky Chipotle Chicken Tacos
  3. Black Bean and Salsa Chicken and Cornbread
  4. Shredded Taco Beef
  5. Creamy Jalapeno Chicken Tacos
  6. Sloppy Chicken Tacos
  7. Beef Fajitas
  8. Chicken Fajitas
  9. Pork Carnitas
  10. Beans

From other Bloggers

  1. Slow Cooker Enchiladas
  2. Tamale Casserole

Ever wonder what you can serve with Tex-Mex?

Check out this post filled with ideas for some of my favorite sides! 

 

Tex-Mex_pin

Print Friendly

New Feature – Eat at Home Tonight! Chicken Fiesta Skillet Meal

Quick recipe with easy shopping list to help you get dinner on the table tonight!

I’m so excited to tell you about a new feature – Eat at Home Tonight!

We’ve all had those days when dinner time is approaching and we have no idea what we’re going to make.  Time is running short, the to-do list is still long, hungry people are going to need dinner soon and we’ve got nothing.

Eat at Home Tonight!  is the answer to that.  I’ve pulled together my easiest recipes for you and added a quick shopping list all on one easy to print page.  Side dish ideas are included too, so you have a complete meal.  There will be a new meal each week.  You can even choose between the size that fits your family best – 3-4 servings or 6-8 servings.

To get yours, sign up with your email address here.

This week’s meal is 15 Minute Chicken Fiesta Skillet with Tortillas and Salad.  This recipe makes use of rotisserie chicken to keep things quick and easy.

Skillet Chicken Fiesta EAHTonight

Make dinner in just 15 minutes tonight.  Sign up here with your email and you’ll be sent the recipe + shopping list!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly