weeknight gourmet

Category : Slow Cooker

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

blackbean copyI haven’t really been posting because some other things have been keeping me busy.  BUT I have been cooking.  This week I made this super easy and delicious black bean soup in my slow cooker.  I just had to post it because everyone — me, Tim, and 3.5 year old Charlotte — loved it and it is pretty rare to get a dish that is such a hit for all three of us.

I followed the recipe as written using veggie stock.  After 9 hours on low, I used my immersion blender to puree the soup a bit.  It really couldn’t have been easier!  The soup was dinner one night and lunch the next.

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 1 32 oz chicken broth or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup water

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté onions for 4 minutes.

2. Add chopped garlic and sauté an additional minute.

3. Place the onion garlic mixture into the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

5. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the ingredients to your desired texture (I like to get it so a few pieces of beans are still visible so the soup is thick and still has a bit of texture).

6. Top with a dollop of yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche.

7. Serve.

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Here is a great slow cooker recipe if you like a little spice!

The chicken had the great buffalo flavor and was super tender.

Instead of sandwiches, I served the shredded buffalo chicken over a simple green salad with tomatoes and avocado.  I don’t care for blue cheese dressing but Tim thought it added a nice complement to the chicken.

Note that there is about 15 minutes of prep time before you can set it and forget it.  But there is nothing like coming home from work to dinner already prepared!

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
From “Everyday Food® magazine”

Variation: You can also use the chicken filling in tacos or in a salad with blue cheese dressing.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank’s
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
8 hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Repeat with chicken breasts.

To skillet, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.

To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours. Shred chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on buns.

Cook’s Note: Use a potato masher to shred the cooked chicken in the slow cooker. Or, transfer chicken to a large plate, pull apart with 2 forks, then return to sauce.

Slow-Cooker Cajun Stew

Here’s a great slow cooker recipe — Cajun stew with andouille sausage and shrimp.  The dish has great flavor and a mild heat from the sausage and cayenne pepper.

Like my favorite slow cooker recipes, this one requires little prep work — only a bit of chopping.

A few notes: I used fresh andouille but I’d recommend smoked.  It will be easier to slice and will stay together through the cooking process better than fresh.  Serve the stew with some rice or quinoa as a side.  Don’t forget the okra like I did (oops!).  The dish was still tasty without the okra but I’m sure it would have been a nice add.


Slow-Cooker Cajun Stew
Everyday Food

  • ⅔ pound andouille or kielbasa, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 red onion, sliced into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt
  • ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • Cooked rice for serving

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place sausage, onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat. Add tomatoes and their liquid, ½ cup water and cayenne; season with salt.

Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, 3 ½ hours on high or 7 hours on low. Add shrimp and okra, then cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low.

To serve, scoop spoonful of rice into individual serving bowls and place stew on top.

Serves 4.

A Taste of Havana: Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

Here is a delicious slow cooker recipe!  There is nothing better than coming home after a long day to a fully prepared dinner.

Cuban-braised beef, more commonly called Ropa Vieja, is shredded flank steak in a tomato-based sauce base.  The steak slow cooks in the sauce with the oregano and cumin giving it a great flavor.  The normally tough flank steak shreds easily after 7 hours in the slow cooker.

While some slow cooker recipes require you to sear the meat or cook some ingredients before adding to the pot, this recipe is so quick.  The only real prep is slicing the red peppers!

I served the ropa vieja with yellow rice and avocado.  It was a delicious meal.  The only disappointment was that it did not keep well.  The leftovers just were not as tasty.

(And, I must thank Real Simple yet again!  This is another recipe from Real Simple’s: Dinner Done Right.)

Slow-Cooker Cuban Braised Beef
Real Simple

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

25 minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.

Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Pot Roast

Just as I was skeptical of the Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe that did not require me to brown the stew cubes, I was highly skeptical of this slow-cooker pot roast recipe that did not require me to brow the chuck roast and called for very little liquid.  Adding to my skepticism was the fact that the only seasoning was salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Well, I guess those folks at Everyday Food know a bit more about slow cooking than I do!  The pot roast was incredibly tender, the carrots and onions were infused with flavor, and there was a ton of “jus”.

Just a few comments…

As an added time save you can use baby carrots — no peeling needed!

Be sure to trim the roast of excess fat — the sauce will be better!

I cooked the pot roast on low for 11 hours because my piece of meat (from our half-steer) was closer to 4 pounds than the 3 pounds in the recipe.

Lastly, I might add an additional tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce next time for some added oomph!  But the recipe was (somewhat surprisingly) delicious as written!

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Everyday Food

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

In slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire. Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours).

Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.

Easiest Beef Stew Ever!

It has been a while since I posted.  I have been cooking but between work, some illness making its way through our family, and taking a much needed vacation, there really hasn’t been much time to devote to my blog.  Hopefully that will change soon!

I made this super easy beef stew a few weeks ago — you basically just throw all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and then put in the oven.  I was a bit skeptical of the recipe because it does not call for you to brown the beef as most stew recipes do.  But the stew was very flavorful, the beef tender, and the veggies perfectly cooked.

Make sure to have some crusty bread for dipping.

Best Beef Stew
Everyday Food

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound medium onions (about 2), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound small white or red new potatoes (about 6), well scrubbed, halved if large
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven (5-quart) with a tight-fitting lid, combine beef, tomato paste, vinegar, and flour; season with salt and pepper.
Add onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil.
Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and, if desired, season with salt and pepper before serving.

Beef Shank Faux Osso Bucco

As I mentioned earlier, Tim and I have purchased another half-steer from White Flower Farm in Connecticut.  Last year, we were amazed by the quality of the meat, how fun it was to find different recipes for the various cuts, and how quickly we actually ate our share!  This year we’re only splitting the half-steer with Tim’s brother so it is a lot more meat! We have a small freezer in NYC so we’ve only made stew with the stew meat, tacos with the ground meat, and this “faux” osso bucco with two meaty shanks.

I love real osso bucco (braised veal shanks), but not everyone loves veal, it is expensive, and can be hard to find in your typical grocery store.  This recipe using the beef shanks is delicious and full of flavor!

I opted for the slow cooker preparation.  But because I only had two very large shanks, as opposed to the four called for in the recipe, I cooked the dish for 7 hours on low.  It turned out perfectly!  So tender — the meat just falls off the bone.

I would recommend serving over polenta, mashed potatoes, or pureed cauliflower.  Because we had this on a weekday, I just sliced and heated some polenta in a frying pan.  The sauce is definitely something you want to mop up with crusty bread or pour on a pile of mashed potatoes!

  • 4 beef shanks – about three pounds total
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1bsp good olive oil
  • 1 cup each onion, celery and carrot – All chopped finely
  • 2 bacon slices uncooked and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes – drained as much as possible
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

Season the beef with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Working is batches, brown the beef in the oil and butter until the shanks are golden. Medium high heat in a large deep skillet.

Remove shanks from the oil and butter and set aside. In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, celery, bacon and garlic. Saute over medium high heat until veggies are tender – about 7 minutes. Add the wine and turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquids. Another 6 minutes or so. Add broth, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste – about a tsp of each.

At this point you can transfer the vegetables to a dutch oven and add the beef. Coover and simmer 2 hours or until meat is tender


Add the veggies and beef in layers to a slow cooker and cook on low for four hours or until tender.

In a small bowl combine the chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Add either the pot or the slow cooker for the final 10 minutes of cooking.

Serve over polenta, rice or mashed potatoes.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Tex-Mex Chicken & Beans

Here is another slow cooker recipe!  This is a Mexican-style chicken and beans recipe.  There is a little heat from the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and you can add extra spice or reduce the spice depending on what type of salsa you use.

I made a few adjustments when I prepared this yesterday.  I used 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper.  I also used two cans of pinto beans, rinsed and drained.  The beans were probably a little too soft but I didn’t have dried beans on hand.  I also only used 6 chicken thighs because that is what I had in the fridge.  I have made the recipe before and it is less soupy than it appears in the photo when you use the 8 thighs.

Enjoy this dish with rice or some warmed tortillas!

Slow-Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken & Beans
Everyday Food

  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 jar (11 ounces) mild or medium salsa (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together beans, salsa, chiles, flour, and 1 cup water. Season chicken with salt and pepper; arrange on top of bean mixture. Scatter onion and bell pepper on top of chicken.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. (Do not open lid or stir.)
Remove chicken from stew; shred into large pieces and return to stew. Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Black Bean Soup with Shredded Pork

If you love black bean soup, you’ll enjoy this slow cooker recipe!  How amazing are slow cookers!  I love throwing the ingredients in the cooker and then coming home 10 hours later with dinner prepared.  This recipe was especially appealing because, as you know, I love any recipe that gets some heat and smokiness from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup with Shredded Pork

  • 1  pound  dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 2  bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1 1/4 lb.)
  • 2  slices bacon, chopped
  • 1  onion, finely chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo plus 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt

Combine 6 cups water, beans, pork chops, bacon, onion, garlic, chilies, adobo, cumin and salt in slow cooker. Cook on low until beans are tender and pork chops are falling apart, 4 to 6 hours.

Remove and discard bacon. Cut pork away from bones. Discard bones and shred meat. Add meat back to slow cooker with beans. Season with additional salt and serve.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Red Wine Short Ribs

I had one last package of short ribs from our half-steer and decided to cook them yesterday in the slow cooker.  Tim loved this dish!  And, I loved how easy it was to get dinner on the table.  I think I prefer the traditional braising method, but you can’t beat how little work this recipe requires — only 5 to 10 minutes in the morning.   We had the short ribs with some crusty bread.  Mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or pureed cauliflower would be great sides as well.

I need to find some new slow cooker recipes because it is so nice to have dinner ready and waiting for you in the evening!

Slow-Cooker Red Wine Short Ribs
Real Simple

  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 6 small carrots, peeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled and cut in quarters crosswise
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 8.5-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 small bunch sage
  • 5 pounds short ribs
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 loaf crusty bread

In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine the onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sage.

Season the short ribs with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and nestle them among the vegetables. Add the wine.  Set the slow cooker to high and cook until the meat is tender and falls from the bones, 8-9 hours.

Using a large spoon, skim off the excess fat and discard. Divide the ribs and vegetables among individual bowls and spoon the sauce over the top.

Serve with the crusty bread.