As a chef and as a mom - I make a whole lot of food that I don't particularly enjoy eating. It's truly a blessing in disguise because let's face it - if I only made food that I liked - everything would have chocolate in it and I would eat all of it.
Meatloaf is a meal that frequently ends up on our family menu because it's a favorite of my daughter. I don't necessarily share her meatloaf affection but I make it because I know how much she enjoys it.
I'm happy to say that that isn't true anymore. I recently found a meatloaf recipe that we BOTH love. Ground turkey meatloaf packed with vegetables and Southwest flavor was the ticket to a delicious meatloaf that I can make for her AND me.
Finding common ground in a meatloaf was epic but you haven't even heard the best part about this recipe yet --- This scrumptious meatloaf bakes in the slow cooker!! It's easy to put together and it bakes all afternoon. I love a great hands off recipe every once in a while.
Slow Cooker Sante Fe Meatloaf
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon frozen corn
5 Tablespoons black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup Mexican cheese
Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove loaf using sling. Drain liquid from slow cooker and return loaf.
Arguably, this meatloaf doesn't look very appealing at this stage but trust me - it will get better.
Cover loaf with 2/3 c. enchilada sauce, cheese, 1 T. corn and 1 T. black beans.
Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes. Remove from slow cooker and garnish with cilantro.
Slice and serve.
I made my meat"loaf" in a half sphere shape because my crock pot is round. If you have an oblong crock pot - by all means - shape your meatloaf into a more traditional loaf.
I served these wedges of meatloaf to my daughter and her friend who was also home from college for the weekend. They gobbled this up like they hadn't eaten a home cooked meal in weeks! My college freshman has a whole new appreciation for my home cooked dinners -- and I'm loving it.
Get creative with your toppings. Chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, avocado slices and sour cream would be great condiments to add to this Southwest meatloaf. Customize it to your family.
I love my slow cooker and I'm not afraid to say it. Anyone else relying heavily on their slow cooker to get meals on the table this month? I've got enough stress without having to worry about getting meals prepared by 6:00. I can through dinner in the crock pot at 10 and voila - dinners ready by 5.
I chose Cornish Hens for my slow cooker last week because we are in the middle of celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. You know - 3 French Hens? Well, my hens were Cornish and not French but you get the idea.
Slow Cooker Cornish Hens
2 Cornish Game Hen Chicken
8 oz. Orange Juice
1 Sprig Rosemary
1 Handful fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
1 Fresh Orange, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Pour juice mixture over hens. Place rosemary and parsley around hens.
Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
Place under broiler to brown the hens.
Since I could only fit 2 hens in my slow cooker and I definitely needed 3 to stick with the 3 French Hens theme - I roasted one of my hens in the oven. It turned out just as good as the crock pot hens.
Stay turned for my entire 12 Days of Christmas post. You will certainly get a good laugh at how we ATE our way through the 12 Days of Christmas.
During wrestling season I rely out my crock pot a whole lot more than I do other times of the year. My crock pot is a lifesaver on those days when the only time that I have to prepare a meal is at 6:00 in the morning. One of our crock pot family favorites is turkey lasagna. Prepared with spinach and ground turkey instead of ground beef, it's a slightly healthier lasagna than most traditional recipes. Using no-boil lasagna noodles makes it super simpler to put together.
Spicy Turkey Lasagna
1 pound ground turkey 2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon oregano 1 package frozen spinach
½ teaspoon salt 18 lasagna noodles
¼ teaspoon red pepper 26 ounces pasta sauce
15 ounces ricotta cheese ½ cup water
Repeat. Finish with a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of sauce and remaining cheese.
Cook on low for 4 ½ hours.
Slice and serve.
It seems like lately, we are either getting ready for, heading to or heading home from a wrestling meet or tournament somewhere. Last weekend we were at the State Tournament in Macon, Georgia. The team came in 4th. I couldn't be more proud of this group of boys.
So thankful for my crock pot on busy wrestling weekends.
Last Sunday was a perfect day to be at the park. The weather was cool and the leaves were just starting to change. The kids rode their bikes and Mia and I walked around the lake.
I love Fall. There is nothing better than spending an afternoon outside in the cool Fall air and then warming up with a warm bowl of chili for dinner. Crock Pot turkey chili is one of my favorite recipes to make when we have a busy day planned. I put all of the ingredients in my crock pot, turn it on and walk away for 5 hours. This is a super simple dinner that lets me spend more time outside with my family and less time in the kitchen.
2 cups shredded turkey 1 celery stalk
2 cloves garlic 28 ounces whole tomatoes
15 ounces red beans, undrained 15 oz black beans, undrained
15 ounces white beans, undrained 6 ounces tomato paste
2.25 ounces black olives, sliced 1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon oregano 1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon paprika 1 bay leaf
3 dashes hot sauce 3/4 cup buttermilk
cheddar cheese, shredded
Stir together all ingredients except buttermilk and cheese. Add to crock pot and cook on high for 5 1/2 hours. Stir in buttermilk and cook 30 minutes. Serve with cheese.
I served this chili to my husbands parents. We all really liked it. It's not very spicy so it's super kid friendly. It's also a great way to use up leftover turkey or chicken. I love that it's loaded with vegetables and my kids still eat it. (Please don't tell them its healthy.)
My suggestion for a great warm up meal on a cool Fall day - Turkey Chili.
Last Spring I asked my family what vegetables THEY wanted to plant in our garden. I really wanted eggplant, Ben chose green beans and Courtney wanted to plant carrots. We've planted carrots in the past with moderate success and we seem to get a little better at our carrot farming ever year. This year, we ended up with a bumper crop of delicious, crisp, beautiful carrots.
Faced with an abundance of fresh carrots in my refrigerator, I've had to come up with some create ways to use them. We like them best when they're fresh, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dressing but one family can only eat so many carrots sticks.
My family isn't crazy about cooked carrots (and by that I mean that they refuse to eat them) so this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Carrots was a risk. My hope was that my family would be more open to the idea of cooked carrots since they were grown in our own garden. Turns out - it doesn't matter where the carrots are grown - they're still less than thrilled with the idea of a cooked carrot.
We loved the pork chops in this recipe - the noodles - delicious - the sauce - amazing - the carrots - crisp and delicious. (My opinion about the carrots is all my own and not necessarily shared by my family.) The key is to cut the carrots into large enough pieces so that they maintain some of their crispness and don't get soft and soggy.
Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Carrots
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 Tablespoons flour
3/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 thyme sprigs
2 oregano sprigs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 pork chops
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
6 ounces uncooked egg noodles
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 fresh thyme leaves
Place pork chops over carrots and pour wine sauce over pork. Cook on low 7 hours.
Let pork chops rest for 5 minutes.
Divide noodle mixture between 4 plates. Top with a pork chop and sprinkle with thyme.
Despite the negative comments I heard about the cooked carrots - I would call this meal a success. The mushroom, white wine, cream sauce is absolutely, lick the plate - delicious. It really is - THAT good. I love this recipe and I hope that you do too.
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