Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

As the household ‘chef’, or primary cooker of main meals, you’d usually think you have a general idea of everyone’s palates and tastes and going on that info alone, you’d think you’d have a pretty good idea of what recipes will be a hit or a miss. But even with all that information handy, most pork chop recipes have always been more of a miss than a hit for me in the dinner dept. There’s never been anything particular to lay the finger in, just more of nothing being a show-stopper. And apparently that’s the bar I’ve set. So far they guys have only gone ga-ga for them a few ways, breaded, fried, and topped with caramelized onions,  herbed and soaking in mushroom gravy, or my crispy, baked Italian ranch chops. But especially with the hubs, I am so glad that I hadn’t given up! After all, the hubs IS my picky eater.

While smothered may not typically be something I’d enjoy hearing, when it comes to these pork chops, it is essential. Slow cooked, all day long, in their rich, onion-based gravy they’re fall-apart tender and every bite is dee-vine. Topped with a generous bit of crisp, crumbled bacon and parsley? Ohhhhh, yes. We serve them over a bed of mashed potatoes so we can truly appreciate every single bite of gravy.

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

5 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp brown sugar, divided
4 garlic coves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
2 bay leaves
6 pork chops, quality cuts
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

1. In a large skillet or sauce pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.
2. Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up the excess grease, leaving bacon fat in pan.
3. Discard all but about 2 tbsp of the remaining bacon fat and add in the onions, 2 tsp of the brown sugar, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring often until the onions have softened and have begun to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
4. Add in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on browned bits. You want those!
5. Place the mixture in crock pot and add on the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth.
6. Add in the remaining 2 tsp brown sugar, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine
7. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper and add them into the crock pot, pushing them down into the juices.
8. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When there’s only an hour or so left, stir in the cornstarch and water mixture to the gravy.
9. Place pork chops on a serving plate and cover with foil.
10. Remove the bay leaves from the gravy and transfer the ‘gravy’ to a bowl to ‘rest’ for 5 minutes. Scrape off as much fat from the surface as possible.
11. Stir in the vinegar and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.
12. Serve the finished pork chops over a bed of mashed potatoes, or even cooked rice. Ladle a generous helping of onion gravy over the top of the pork chops and top with bacon and parsley before serving.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

The tenderest, juiciest seasoned pot roast ever is cooked in the crockpot before being piled high on crusty baguettes with melted provolone cheese. Served with their own yummy au jus, these Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches are dippable perfection you just can’t get enough of.  

crockpot-french-dip-sandwiches-4 Read more

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

If you grew up in the South, chances are you’ve eaten a variation of chicken & dumplings a few times in your life. We’ve taken Grandma’s recipe and given it a few modern adjustments, making it a quick and easy dinner for any occasion. Set it, forget it, and let your machine do all the work– come supper time, tuck into a cozy bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

 

Chicken & Dumplings. There’s something so Southern sounding about it. Just it’s name, aside from the fact that it is of course a Southern staple.

For years though, the hubs and I only had it when we’d visit a restaurant. Namely, Cracker Barrel who specializes in Southern style fare.

This recipe takes all that old-fashioned taste, all that classic dumpling texture, and wraps it up nice and warm in an easy slow cooked package.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

You guys know all about my love affair with soups.

The sons don’t think anything broth-based should be considered a ‘meal’ for a guy, and the hubs likes soup but really only in winter and only if it’s hearty with plenty of toppings, and served with a salad and a hunk of bread.

All my guys are meat and potatoes kinda people. And I get that, and appreciate it when they suffer in silence for me.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Wanna know how I know Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings got it going on? Not. one. single. complaint.

And everyone came back for seconds.

The hubs liked it SO much that he insisted we have it twice in one week, and then acted like a kid at Christmas when he came home one night the next week from work to find out I was making it for him again.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Let the slow cooker do all the work, and you just sit back and soak it all in.

We’ve even found a perfect dumpling shortcut, keeping the whole thing as simple as can be from start to finish.

Refrigerated biscuits, cut into small pieces, plump up and cook in the soup creating yummy, fool-proof dumplings.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

5 from 1 vote
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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
A southern staple, we've taken Grandma's recipe and given it some modern updates for an easy meal, anytime.
Ingredients
  • small white onion; diced
  • 2-3 stalked celery thinly sliced
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 tubes refrigerated biscuits not butter flavored or flaky layered, 10 oz each
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 heaping tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and celery in a little bit of olive oil until tender, and then transfer them to the slow cooker.
  2. Lay your chicken breasts over top the cooked veggies and then season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the soup, chicken broth, milk, and the additional seasonings in the slow cooker. Give the liquids a gentle stir to combine.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. An hour before it's done cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the mixture. Cut each of the biscuits into 4-6 small pieces and add them into the slow cooker as well. At this point give everything a stir and return the lid to the pot to cook for the remaining hour.
  5. When the soup's done cooking, you can either break up the chicken in the slow cooker with a spatula or remove the breasts and shred the chicken and then return the shredded chicken to the soup.

Pictures Updated 9/15/2017

Chicken & Dumplings

 

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

Do you like chicken? We sure do. It’s our main meat most days of the week. Do you love stuffing (or ‘dressing’ if you’re feelin fancy)? We definitely love that. Are you looking for an easy crockpot dinner? This one only requires four ingredients. FOUR! It’s super simple to throw together, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed or under the gun about getting a hot, healthy meal on the table, even on your busiest of days. Pair it with some steamed veggies, or a salad, and you’re in business.

I know, I know. I usually enjoy making these types of things from scratch or at least froofing the box version. And while this isn’t straight from a box, and even though there’s plenty of room for it, there’s minimal froofage. Some days I just need some help with that quick and easy option, and for those days I count on a great crockpot recipe like this one. With one kid down for the count for day two with a headache and fever, and one recovering from the terrifying, traumatizing event of losing his first tooth, I’ve already got this cooking in the crockpot. This is a perfect meal for everyone to enjoy on a rainy Winter day, and it was a breeze to quickly get going so I have more time to get done what I really want to be doing today. Taking care of the sons.I’ll take my serving with a side of sick boy snuggles, please!

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

 Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 box chicken flavored stuffing mix (6oz)
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup water

Directions

1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot.
2. Pour stuffing mix over chicken.
3. In a medium size bowl combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream and water; mix well.
4. Pour on top pf stuffing mix.
5. Place lid on crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours (check it at 3 hours).
6. Fluff and serve.

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

A few months ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted that they were making this dish for dinner one night. I immediately headed on over to Pinterest and searched stalked her boards until I found the recipe. Still, it sat all alone and neglected on my own ‘to try’ board for quite some time. I’d almost completely forgotten about it. Lucky for me, I was totally un-inspired for dinner a few weeks ago and went through all 1,283 pins on that board looking for a recipe spoke to me. This didn’t speak so much as shout, ‘EAT ME,’ at me.

That night, after devouring this amazing crockpot pasta, the hubs and sons all looked at me like I was insane for not having made then and I just stared back at them innocently, like “I’m not the only one who can search Pinterest and throw ingredients in the crockpot, little sweeties.”

Simple, totally indulgent, delicious. You need this in your life.

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Creamy Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

recipe originally from Crockpot Gourmet

1 to 1½ pound boneless skinless chicken
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup buffalo wing sauce (1/4 cup now, ¼ cup later)
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix (dried packet kind)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
16 oz linguine noodles
chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Place chicken, broth, ¼ cup buffalo sauce, and seasonings into the crockpot.
2. Top with cream cheese and shredded cheese.
3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
4. When chicken is fully cooked remove to separate bowl and shred.
5. Add remaining ¼ cup buffalo sauce to chicken and toss to coat.
6. Set aside the shredded chicken.
7. Whisk together corn starch and water and add to crock.
8. Use a whisk and stir until cheese and cream cheese is all combined and smooth.
9. Break noodles in half and place in crock.
10. Top with chicken and cover.
11. Turn crock on high for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally so the noodles don’t stick together, until noodles are fully cooked.
12. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve immediately

Crockpot Lasagna

I love a good classic.

A classic novel. {i.e. Pride & Prejudice}

A classic movie. {i.e. Roman Holiday }

And I most definitely love a classic lasagna recipe. {i.e. this one!}

Let’s keep it real though. On top of it being an all-out yummy classic comfort food, lasagna is a busy mom’s secret dinner weapon. It’s such a great option, especially when we’re talking about a crockpot, not oven, version because it’s so easy to throw together and it’s really filling, so a little goes a long way.

Crockpot Lasagna 5

Plus, this recipe usually makes enough for leftovers, which is a bonus because lasagna is one of those foods that almost always tastes even better the next day. Lasagna also keeps well in the freezer, so if you have the carb-resisting strength, you can freeze the extra for another meal. Maybe a lunch or light dinner? It’s safe to say that given the sheer number of lasagna recipes out there, the secret to making great lasagna is finding a recipe with ingredients that you love. For us, the trick comes down to quality meats (that’s right, meats, plural), quality cheeses (again, plural), and a top notch sauce.

 crockpot lasagna 3

Just look at that? Does it get anymore perfect than this, cooked to bubbling perfection? I was always so tired of getting it wrong when I would bake them in the oven. We love a few crispy edges, but not throughout the whole thing! And, then… voila!

Crockpot Lasagna 4

 This is a no-fail recipe that guarantees you won’t end up with hard, crusty noodles or a totally dry dish. Just layer the ingredients in the crockpot, sit back, and relax!

Crockpot Lasagna 2

Three different cheeses simmer right along with delicious ground meats and perfectly herbed pasta sauce in this easy, no fuss, delicious lasagna.

Dinner is serrrved!

Crockpot Lasagna

crockpot lasagna

recipe adapted from Creating Through Life

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
29 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese + 1/2 cup
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Directions

1. Brown the ground beef and ground sausage. When they’re about half way done add in the garlic and onions. When the meat is browned drain and return to the pan or skillet.
2. Stir the tomato sauce in with the cooked meat.
3. Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of a prepared (sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray) crock-pot.
4. Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce, breaking them up to fit better as you go.
5. Combine the 4 cups of mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Gently spread it out to form a layer that covers the noodles.
6. Repeat these layers twice.
7. Top with the remaining meat sauce.
8. Cover and cook on low for 4 hrs.
9. Let the lasagna stand in the crock-pot with the lid off for at least 10 minutes. 5 minutes before serving sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella over the top.

Do you love these classic Italian flavors? Need some more easy meal inspiration? Check out these other similar recipes.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Italian Drunken Noodle

Italian Drunken Noodle

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Gnocchi

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Pork that’s slowly roasted in the crock pot until it’s so tender it falls apart, and is then mixed with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar & honey barbecue sauce, makes for a crowd-pleasing platter of pulled pork sliders. Not only are they great party appetizers, but the sons tear them up when we have them for either lunch or dinner, and the left overs are just as yummy. I know, I know, the name makes them sound pretty fancy, but they couldn’t be any easier. Let the pork cook during the day and when it’s done it’s a snap to mix in the homemade sauce, making them a perfect option for any day, including those busy weekday meals. Got leftovers? This freezes beautifully to save for a later meal. Or you could always make up an entire batch and freeze that if you’re looking to have meals stocked on stand-by.

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
20 slider buns
coleslaw, optional
sliced sweet or dill pickles, optional

Directions

1. First remove any excess fat from the meat. Place the trimmed meat in the crock pot, cutting to fit if necessary. Add in the onion and pepper, and sprinkle the vegetables and meat with the thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over the meat.
2. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours or on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, we’ll be making the bbq sauce. Combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly thickened, while stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Use two forks to pull meat apart into shreds, discarding any fat, or use a stand mixer to do the job for you. Strain the peppers and onions and discard the liquid. Return shredded meat and vegetables to the crock pot. Stir in barbecue sauce until fully incorporated. Cover and cook for 1 more hour on low.
5. To serve, spoon the bbq onto the slider bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw and pickles, if desired. Cover with bun tops. Eat & enjoy!

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

During the summer months, we will do anything to not have to turn on the oven!  The extra heat is one thing we just do not need in the house when the temperature outside is in the 100’s! Crock Pot Bread also comes in really handy for holidays, dinner parties, or anytime you need to free up oven space! Enter the crock pot.

Yes, you can cook just about anything in a crock pot these days, but bread?  Absolutely! This recipe is super simple to make!  Honestly? I actually like it better than most oven-baked breads.  Baking the bread in the crock pot keeps all of the moisture inside the bread ensuring it’s nice and fluff, while still giving it a crisp outer crust.

While it is fully cooked after the two hours and pleasantly crisp, the outside will still be a bit pale. I just pop it onto a baking sheet and set it under the broiler for a minute to give it that perfect toasty finish.

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

4 Sons 'R Us: Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

recipe adapted from Host The Toast

3½ cups all purpose flour
1 packet dry active yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1¼ cups warm water
4 tsp dried rosemary, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided
Parchment paper
Paper towels or a clean dishcloth

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread 2

Look at that gorgeous ball of dough, soon  to be bread. In. My. Crockpot. <Swoon>

1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. The mixture should become bubbly.
2. Stir in half of the salt (1/2 teaspoon), half of the rosemary, the 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and all of the flour. Mix until fully combined. Work it together with your hands, if necessary.
3. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in. Cover it with a kitchen towel/ dish cloth and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free area. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll it into a ball on a floured surface. Let it sit for another 20 minutes.
5. Set the crock pot to high. Line the crock pot with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches hanging out of each side of the crock pot. Place the dough in the crock pot and sprinkle it with the remaining salt and rosemary.
6. Drape paper towels or dish cloth over the top of the crock pot and then place the lid on. This should capture any moisture that would sit on the lid and prevent it from dripping back onto your bread.
7. Cook the bread for 2 hours, and remove from the crock pot. It will most likely still be a bit pale on the outside. It tastes great this way, but I like to put mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it under the broiler for a quick 3 – 5 minutes to get a crunchier, darker crust.
8. Let cool before slicing. Serve with extra olive oil drizzled on top or with dipping oil.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

This meal is easy and perfect for our busy nights. The chicken comes out cooked to perfection with the perfect kick. Customize your ‘kick’ by adding less buffalo sauce or more, to taste. Don’t have buffalo wing sauce? Substitute hot sauce. I heart a flexible recipe!

You’ll want good bread. Life is far too short and unpredictable to suffer through bad bread. Trust me on this. Don’t go sale, don’t go clearance. Go fresh. We made ours using a nice fresh loaf of sour dough, the slices toasted to perfection.

Good butter goes with good bread. Turn these into a delicious grilled cheese version by buttering the outsides of both slices, adding some shredded cheddar and/or blue cheese crumbles to the inside, and ‘grilling’ on a hot griddle until the outside are nice and crisped with melted cheese inside.

These sandwiches are perfect for any occasion: a delicious dinner, a game day snack, you name it!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (12 oz.) bottle buffalo wing sauce
2 tablespoons ranch mix seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 loaf of sour dough bread, or other crusty bread
shredded cheddar cheese or blue cheese crumbles (optional)
ranch dressing (optional)

Directions

1. Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased slow cooker.
2. In medium bowl, combine the buffalo wing sauce and ranch seasoning.
3. Pour hot sauce mixture over chicken in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Shred chicken breasts in the slow cooker, or use your paddle attachment and easily shred them in a stand mixer. Stir in butter until melted.
5. Pile buffalo chicken onto toasted slices of crusty bread. Top with cheese and/or ranch dressing, if desired.