How To: Slow Cooker – Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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Last week I was lounging by a pool, running in shorts, and enjoying daily 2 for 1 happy hours.

Now, I’m bundled up in a parka, glued to the treadmill, and have 2 slightly under the weather kiddos. Reality bites!

One benefit to being home in our lovely Toronto winter – this spicy chicken. Are you also freezing your little tush off? This spicy chicken will warm you up. Okay, I’m lying, nothing can warm you up from this past weekend’s -22 degree weather. But, I do promise it will make ya sweat a little.

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Really, it is so simple. A little hot sauce, a little oil, a sprinkle of spices. Done. It is quite a bit salty, so just keep that in mind – nothing a large glass of beer water can’t fix.

The homemade ranch dressing is totally optional. I find it does a good job at cutting the heat. But you could leave it out or simply top with a dollop of yogurt or drizzle of plain old mayo.

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I’m normally all for a slow and low cook in the slow cooker – a set it and forget it type of meal. But cooking the chicken breasts on high keeps them from drying out, which they have a tendency to do. And it also means it’s the type of dinner you can throw together in the afternoon with two sick kids hanging off your legs.

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While I’m missing that Florida sun, this chicken makes being home totally worth it – right?

Dara

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Well Plated

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cups Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with 1 tbsp water)
  • 4 sweet potatoes

Dressing

  • 5 Tbsp low-fat mayo
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper

Note

This recipe comes together so quickly, making it the perfect weeknight dinner. You could also serve the chicken over your favourite grain, on top of a salad, or as a sandwich on a nice crusty bun.

Directions

1. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and place the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.
2. Whisk together the hot sauce, canola oil, garlic powder, and salt. Pour over chicken. Cook on high for 1.5 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove to a plate, shred using two forks, and set aside.
3. Add cornstarch mixture to slow cooker and whisk to combine. Cover and continue to cook on high another 20-30 minutes, until thickened. Add chicken back in and stir to evenly coat with sauce. Reduce temp to warm.
4. About an hour or so before chicken is done, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake in a 400 degree oven on a foil lined baking sheet for about an hour, or until soft and cooked through.
5. Cut sweet potatoes down the middle with a knife and push down with a spoon to create a little well in the middle. Top with chicken and drizzle with ranch dressing.
Dressing
6. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

How To: Slow Cooker – Orange and Honey Braised Carrots

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Yup, that’s right. TWO slow cooker recipes in a row. And BOTH vegetarian. How about that?

I tend to agree with Erin – most vegetarian slow cooker recipes do result in a pile of mush. But just like our daal, I have found when treated correctly, you can still get the same oven or stove top texture, but without having to actually be home.

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This recipe comes from Ricardo magazine, who generously gifted me a copy of their November issue. When I came across this carrot recipe I was intrigued – braised carrots in the slow cooker?! It totally works! And is totally delicious.

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This recipe cooks in about 4 hours – the perfect amount of time when you have an errand or two to run in the afternoon, or just want to free up some oven space when prepping a meal. I followed the recipe almost to a T- I did cut the butter in half because while I wanted the flavour, I also wanted that natural and sweet carrot flavour to shine.

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Slow cooker daal, slow cooker carrots – what vegetarian recipe will we slow cook up next?!

Dara

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Slow cooker Braised Carrots

Serves 4
Meal type Side Dish
From magazine Adapted from Ricardo Magazine

Ingredients

  • 10 large carrots (peeled and sliced in half lengthwise)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

These carrots would make a delicious side dish for roast chicken or salmon. You could substitute the honey for maple syrup if you would like.

Directions

1. Butter the bottom of your slow cooker. Add carrots on top and pour the orange juice over top.
2. Drizzle with honey and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for four hours, or until carrots are tender.
3. Plate carrots and drizzle some of the cooking liquid on top.

 

 

How to: Slow Cooker – Daal

There is no shortage of slow cooker recipes popping up all over the place now that it’s fall. So why should you try this one? Because.

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And also, it was a “perfect on the first try” recipe. A simple, healthy, flavourful stew that tastes great right out of the slow cooker and even greater the next day for lunch.

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I tend to use my gigantic slow cooker in fits and starts. I find it does a great job of braising meat slow and low, but vegetables? Not so much.  In my experience, they get obliterated beyond recognition.  Sure, you can shorten the cook time. But then why use a slow cooker? Isn’t the idea to set it and forget it for the day? All this to say, since I seldom cook with meat at home, mine has been getting hauled out a couple of times a year at most. And I’ve decided, it’s just not enough to justify all of the valuable kitchen real estate it occupies.

So it’s been slow cooker testing mania all up in here.

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This recipe is a mash up of a slow cooker daal I found in The Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker cookbook and my favourite stovetop daal recipe from Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer. Guys. It’s really really good.

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I really like the combination of split peas and red lentils.  The lentils break down quite a bit more than the peas and give the daal a rich, thick texture.  If you’ve only got one or the other though, it’s all good.  Roll with it.  Fiddle with the spices if you like, too.  Add a pinch of cayenne for heat. Replace some of the chicken stock with coconut milk, or simply add a can of coconut milk and make it more of a soup.

When it’s done, jazz it up however you like.  Add fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley), a dollop of yogurt or sour cream or a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle on some toasted almonds or pine nuts or top with some cool, creamy avocado cubes.  It can be as humble or as fancy as you like.

Eat up, buttercups.

Erin

Slow Cooker Daal

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried split yellow peas (well rinsed)
  • 1 cup red lentils (well rinsed)
  • 1 Small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 796mL (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes (chopped roughly in the can with scissors)
  • 3 cups no salt added chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stir once or twice to combine. Set on low heat for 6-8 hours until split peas are cooked through but maintain their shape. Serve with rice, naan or something to soak up the delicious juices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To: Slow Cooker – Mexican Shredded Chicken

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For every recipe you see me post on this blog, I can promise you there were at least one or two others that I thought would be hits, but instead were major recipe flops.

While I love my slow cooker for chicken, meat, and the occasional vegetarian curry, it does have the tendency to turn some veg dishes into plain old mush. This was clearly evident when a batch of slow cooker broccoli cheddar soup I was sure would be a hit with my cheese loving fam went untouched, leading to me having to dispose of almost an entire slow cooker of overcooked broccoli and gummy cheese stew. Appetizing, I know!

But this chicken – a hit!

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Really anything that can be topped with mounds of guacamole and scooped up with way too many to mention tortilla chips can’t be bad. Whoops!

And it can even count as a one bowl meal – black beans, corn, canned tomatoes, and broth turn it into an almost stew-like dish. Serve it plain, over rice, or on top of a salad and load it up with all the taco fixings you can dream of.

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Thankfully I have now redeemed myself in the eyes of my family with this slow cooker hit.

Enjoy!

Dara

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Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

Serves 8
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
Website Adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 32oz can diced stewed tomatoes with chili seasoning
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 4 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • pinch cayenne (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

This makes a large batch of shredded chicken, but leftovers will freeze great so I recommend making the entire batch. Chopped tomatoes, diced avocado or guacamole, salsa, and corn tortilla chips make excellent toppings. It's great served as is, on top of rice or a salad, or rolled in soft tortillas.

Directions

1. Combine tomatoes, broth, green onions, cilantro, beans, corn, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne in a slow cooker. Lay chicken breasts on top and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook on low for 8 hours. Before serving, remove chicken and shred with a fork. Return to slow cooker and stir to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Serve on top of rice, tortillas, chopped romaine, or eat as is and top with you favourite taco fixings.

 

How To: Slow Cooker – BBQ Pulled Chicken

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Looking back through our blog archive the other night during a 2 am feeding session, I noticed that the first meal I cooked after my older daughter was born was a slow cooker sesame chicken. 

Now, two and half years later, I have again used the genius slow cooker to cook my first dinner after having our second daughter two weeks ago. So you will have to excuse me if this blog post doesn’t make much sense as I am still in the thick of the newborn haze. Once again, thank goodness for the slow cooker!

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There is minimal thought or effort required to produce this sweet and tangy tender pulled chicken. Dump the onions and chicken, mix up the sauce, pour it on top, flip the switch to low, and dinner is done in about 5.5 hours. No muss, no fuss.

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Similar to our other pulled chicken, this too is so versatile. It can be served over any grain or pasta, in a wrap or on a bun, or with some sweet potato fries and slaw as I served it. It is also freezable so it is perfect for when you too don’t have your wits about you for whatever reason – simply defrost and dinner is ready.

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It also makes a delicious 3 am snack – that breastfeeding hunger is real I tell you!

Enjoy!

Dara

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

Serves 6-8
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 2 Cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp tabasco sauce
  • pinch of salt

Note

This sweet and tangy chicken is so versatile - serve it over a salad, rice, pasta, in a wrap or on a bun. Or serve as I did with a side of sweet potato fries. It also freezes well so you can make it ahead for those busy weeknights.

Directions

1. Place onions on the bottom of your slow cooker. Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts and place onto of the onions.
2. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken breasts to evenly cover them. Cook on low for about 5.5 hours, or until chicken is tender and pulls easily with a fork.
3. Using two forks, shred chicken breasts. Serve over crusty buns, on top of the grain of your choice, or just dig in!