Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

crock-pot-zuppa-toscana-7-1
Photo Credit: Homemade Hooplah

More soup for the cold winter months!  This Olive Garden copycat soup is hearty and can stand on its own as a meal.  It has it all-meat, potatoes, kale… shhhhh… hang with me, kale haters!  I promise you’ll love it.  I adapted my recipe from the Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe at Homemade Hooplah.  My version has cut quite a few corners.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion
  • 1 package Ore Ida diced hashbrown potatoes
  • 2-4 russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper to taste
  • 4 cup chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (for topping)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crumble hot Italian sausage, about 5-8 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until some of the onion begins to turn opaque (no need to cook onion completely at this point). Drain grease from skillet.
  2. In a 6 quart crock pot (or bigger), add cooked sausage & veggies plus the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour chicken broth on top. There should be enough broth to cover the tops of the potatoes; if there isn’t, add up to 2 cups water so potatoes are covered.

  3. Gently stir ingredients, cover crock pot, and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove lid from crock pot and add kale and heavy whipping cream, then stir to combine.
  5. Cover crock pot and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes.
  6. Serve zuppa toscana immediately with shredded parmesan cheese as garnish.

Simple enough!  I usually brown the sausage, onion, and garlic the night before to make for a dump and go meal in the morning.  It’s chilly outside-hibernate and enjoy!

Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

img_6036Ignore my horrible photo… I promise this is a delicious recipe.  And yes… that is half of an avocado.  Don’t judge.  I was just so hungry by the time I was able to eat the dinner I prepared at 8:30 pm that I snapped the quickest photo I could.  Anyway, enough with the reasoning for my horribly unappetizing photo…

This black bean soup is both delicious and healthy.  I will warn you that it might not make a great main course, since it is basically, well… beans.  It’s enough for me, but most people might like something a little heavier to go with it.  Don’t let the “Instant Pot” title fool you-it is definitely anything but instant.  This recipe requires the pressure cooker to naturally release, which takes a little longer than a manual release would.  It took well over an hour and a half for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, cook on high, then naturally release, so be aware before you make this for the evening!  If you want to see the original recipe, check it out at A Pinch of Healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced (save some time and use frozen chopped onion!)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (14.5 ounce)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 pound dry black beans, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used a little less… tiny people in the house)
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (again… a little less for us-tiny people)
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Toppings: avocado, sour cream, lime, green onion, tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients (except toppings) to the Instant Pot, and place the lid on top, with the vent set to “sealing.”

  2. Cook the soup on manual high pressure for 40 minutes, and let the pressure naturally release.

  3. After the pot is depressurized, remove the lid, and carefully remove the bay leaves.  Soup will thicken after sitting.

  4. Serve with desired toppings.

     

Enjoy!

Healthy Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Healthy Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip

spinach dip
Photo Credit: Prevention

I love spinach artichoke dip, but somehow always have the mindset that it’s a recipe that would be far too complicated for me to even attempt.  That is, until I found this simple (and healthy!) recipe from Prevention.  The prep is easy, the ingredients are much healthier than most spinach artichoke dip recipes, and… it’s delicious!  Check out the original here!

Ingredients

  • 2 c shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
  • 1 container (8 oz) reduced-fat onion and chive cream cheese
  • ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ large onion, chopped (or frozen chopped onion, thawed)
  • 1 bag (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 can (13.75 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground red pepper
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Baked tortilla chips, pita chips, carrots, or celery for serving

Directions

  1. Combine and stir together the mozzarella, cream cheese, Parmesan, onion, spinach, artichokes, garlic powder, and red pepper in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  4. Serve warm with tortilla chips or celery and carrot sticks.

So simple!  Pour ingredients, stir, let heat through, and chow down!

Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole

Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole

Cheesy-Cheddar-Broccoli-Casserole_EXPS_SDFM17_28900_C09_30_6b-696x696.jpgI’m mainly a green bean casserole person.  That’s pretty much the extent of my casserole tolerance, so I rarely venture out.  Well, I have ventured out.  Ok, not very far, but it’s still a tiny venture, so give me some credit!  This broccoli casserole has all the good stuff-french fried onions, cheese, and oh yeah… I guess there is some broccoli.  This recipe comes from Taste of Home.  Check out the original recipe here!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 can (6 ounces) french-fried onions, divided
  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen broccoli florets, thawed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a large saucepan, combine soup, sour cream, 1 cup cheese and 1-1/4 cups onions; heat through over medium heat, stirring until blended, 4-5 minutes. Stir in broccoli. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish.
  2. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and onions. Bake until cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.

Vegetables are much better when smothered in cheese, sour cream, and french fried onions.  Don’t you agree?

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball

Bacon-Ranch-Cheese-Ball-10.jpgI’ve never made a cheeseball, so I figured it was about time I attempted one.  It seems to be a right of passage into momhood… or something like that.  So, here I am.  Cheeseballin’ it up!  This recipe has it all-bacon, ranch, and of course… cheese!  I found this recipe at Carlsbad Cravings.  Check out the original recipe here!  It’s easy, cheesy, and a crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. bricks cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 (1 oz.) pkg Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons finely grated sharp cheddar cheesedivided
  • 6 slices bacon,cooked and diced divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions divided
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
Serve With
  • crackers, celery, carrots, etc.

Directions

Cheese Ball
  1. Add cream cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning, garlic powder, pepper jack cheese, 1 CUP cheddar cheese, half of the bacon and 2 tablespoons green onions to a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Drop mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap, cover tightly, and shape into a ball. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to firm up (up to 24 hours if serving the next day) before rolling in coating.
Coating
  1. Meanwhile, add remaining 2 tablespoon cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions to a medium bowl. Refrigerate.
  2. When ready to coat cheeseball, whisk in pecans until evenly combined.
Assemble
  1. Spread Coating in an even layer on cutting board/parchment lined counter. Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and roll in Coating mixture, pressing to adhere, until evenly coated. At this point you can refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Serve with crackers, celery, carrots, etc.

There you go!  Easy AND delicious!

Want a New Keurig K-Cafe for $121.91? Here’s How!

Want a New Keurig K-Cafe for $121.91? Here’s How!

k cafeI saw a commercial for the new Keurig K-Cafe the other night and decided I HAD to have one.  I mean, it would SAVE me money, right?  Lattes, cappuccinos, you can stick the milk steamer in the dishwasher, and you can use NORMAL K-cups?!  SOLD.  So, naturally I whipped out the old Google only to find out they’re normally $199.99.  Well, to be honest, I didn’t think that was too terrible of a price, but the thrifty side of me said no way… I can do better.

Well, I headed on over to Amazon (per my usual deal finding routine) and their deal wasn’t terrible-$179.99 for the system itself or $199.98 for the system in addition to a 24-pack K-cup sampler.  Ok, cool, but still not good enough for me.

I asked my sister-in-law if she had seen them and being a coffee-holic like me I knew she’d have to have one, too.  She sent me a text back and said “they’re $219 at Kohl’s!” and I thought, “Dang, Kohl’s… you usually have great deals! What gives?!”.  Then, it hit me.  Well, it took a while… it hit me at 3 am, but it hit me.  Kohl’s currently has 30% off online.  Free store pickup.  I’m sure there is also a miscellaneous $10 off for some reason or other.  Are they doing Kohl’s cash right now?!  Does RetailMeNot have a rebate?!  The possibilities are endless!!!!  So, here’s the breakdown:

RetailMeNot

Sign up for a RetailMeNot account if you don’t already have one.  They typically have rebates on all major retailers for some purchase or another.  Yes, even Amazon!  When you sign up with your account, look up Kohl’s on their website to activate their $10 cash back on $110 or more online purchase option.  I’ve had great luck with these cash back deals lately.  I redeem mine via PayPal.  They deposit it right into your account so you can use it on a future online purchase or you can choose to have it direct deposited to your bank account.  Sweet.  Deal.  Next, head on over to Kohl’s.

Kohl’s Deals

Now you’re ready to pile on the savings in your Kohl’s cart.  Add the Keurig K-Cafe to your cart.  Next, apply these deals:

  • APPLE30 -30% off your purchase with a Kohl’s charge
  • NOVHOME10-$10 off home purchase of $50 or more
  • Select store pickup to receive an extra $5 in Kohl’s cash
  • You’ll receive $10 in Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent, so you’ll receive $20 in Kohl’s cash

Alright.  There you have it.  Your grand total will be $156.91, $10 cash back rebate from RetailMeNot, and $25 in Kohl’s cash for a grand total of $121.91.  You’re. Welcome.  Now, if only all of my good ideas would come at a time more convenient than 3 am… I’ll work on it.  Go make yourself a latte!

Update!

Looks like Kohl’s has some competition with Best Buy! Best Buy now has this machine with a bonus of 24 k-cups for $179.99 and a $30 Best Buy gift card with purchase. Score! Either way, you can’t lose. By the way… I’m pretty sure if I had bought as many lattes as I have already made with this thing from Starbucks it would have paid for the machine 😉

Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili

chili
Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

Most of my favorite recipes come from Betty Crocker, so naturally, I happen to love their recipe for slow cooker chili.  This chili has a very short ingredient list, but is very filling since it uses double the amount of ground beef as most chili recipes.  It’s hearty and delicious!  Check out their original recipe here!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.
  2. In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix beef mixture and remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

I hope you enjoy this one during the winter months!