Dinners

Recipe—Crock-Pot Ranch Pork Chops

I don’t care if you are retired, a stay at home mom, a working individual, or even unemployed; everyone needs a quick, cheap, and easy dinner from time to time. When I find myself in this situation I go to my favorite kitchen appliance, my crock-pot. My crock-pot is freaking amazing. I toss in a couple simple ingredients before I go to work, I come home, and dinner is done. You rock my socks crock-pot! These pork chops come out super tender (practically falling apart) and the sauce is creamy and flavorful. If you are wondering what to serve them with I recommend some mashed potatoes or even white rice. Unfortunately the crock-pot isn’t much a multitasker so with this recipe you are on your own when it comes to side dishes.

Note: I make the sauce the night before and just keep it in the fridge. Then I have one less thing to do when I’m rushing around in the morning.

INGREDIENTS
4 thick cut boneless pork chops
fresh ground pepper
10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 oz envelope dry ranch dressing mix
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c water or chicken broth

STEPS

  • Season the pork chops with fresh ground pepper.
  • Place the pork chops in the bottom of a greased crock-pot.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the soup, ranch mix, garlic, and water.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the top of the pork chops.
  • Cook on high for 4–5 hours or low for 6–7.
  • Transfer the pork chops to a serving dish or plate and using a whisk, stir the sauce in the crock-pot.
  • Ladle a small amount of the sauce over each pork chop.
Uncategorized

Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes

DivaDiCocina_SuperBowl

Super Sunday is right around the corner! The Super Bowl is the biggest football game in America. It’s when we get together with family and friends to watch two rival teams have it out on the field (and of course over indulge in delicious food).

Whenever we have a Super Bowl party we typically serve one dish per quarter. Appetizers during the first two, a main course for the third, and of course a super ice cream sundae during the fourth.

I have put together some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for your big bash. Enjoy the game!

Appetizers

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

DivaDiCucina_Poppers

Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

DivaDiCucina_BuffaloCauliflowerBites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMushrooms

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Warm-ups

DivaDiCucina_Chili

Chili (The Classic Kind)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Meals

DivaDiCucina_FrenchDip

Crock-Pot French Dips

DivaDiCucina_PhillySloppyJoes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_HotHam&Swiss

Hot Ham and Swiss Sammies

DivaDiCucina_BBQChickenSando

Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Soups

Recipe—Crock-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

It’s been a chilly couple of weeks where I live and I just can’t seem to warm up. One of the only things that really seem to take the bite off is a big bowl of hearty soup. Well this loaded baked potato soup truly is comfort in a bowl and hits the spot on these cold winter days. This is one of those recipes that people of all ages will love. It’s creamy and cheesy just the way baked potato soup should be. It is amazing the amount of flavor you get from a few simple ingredients. Since this does require a little prep before it goes in the crock-pot it may not be the best thing to try and do on a workday. However, it is the perfect crock-pot meal to whip up on the weekend. Perfect for a cozy Sunday lunch or dinner while watching some football. Hope you love this favorite soup of mine as much as I do!

Note: You can certainly use fresh potatoes for this soup. I just use a bag of the frozen ones to save a few extra minutes, after all, that’s the whole reason I use my crock-pot. If you want to use fresh potatoes I recommend using 5–6 cups of russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth, divided
32 oz bag of frozen diced potatoes (I use Ora Ida Hash Browns, not the shredded ones but the little cubes.)
3 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c sour cream
4 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until crispy.
  • Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and place in the fridge until ready to serve the soup.
  • Pour out most of the bacon drippings leaving about 2 tbsp in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until soft and lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and thyme to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  • Cook until the mixture starts to thicken and then pour into your crock-pot.
  • Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook for 5–6 hours on low heat.
  • Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes in the crock-pot leaving some chunks in there.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, sour cream, and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cook soup for another 20–30 minutes.
  • Right before serving heat the plate of cooked bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Ladle the soup into bowl and top with remaining cheddar, bacon pieces, and chives.
Dinners

Recipe—Whole Chicken in a Crock-Pot

I absolutely love roasting chicken in the oven but I just don’t usually have time during the workweek. Using a crock-pot is a wonderful alternative way to cook an entire chicken. This recipe is super easy and the chicken comes out incredibly moist and is pretty much falling off the bone. Just be sure to be very careful when removing the whole chicken from the crock-pot because it will be on the verge of falling apart. Serve this up with a side of mashed potatoes and your favorite veggie for a dinner made of comfort foods. I even used the drippings from the crock-pot to make a quick and easy gravy which went great with mashed potatoes and chicken.

Note: If you are really short on time in the mornings prepare the entire chicken in the ceramic crock-pot insert the night before and just place the entire thing with the lid on in the refrigerator. Then in the morning you just drop the insert into the crock-pot and turn it on. Wellah! Dinner really can be this easy!

INGREDIENTS
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large chicken

STEPS

  • Combine all the spices in a small bowl.
  • Place the chopped onion and celery in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  • Remove any parts from inside the chicken.
  • Rub the seasonings all over the chicken. (I like to rub some of the seasonings under the skin covering the breasts. This allows the flavors to really seep into the meat.)
  • Place the prepared chicken in the crock-pot on top of the onions breast side up.
  • Cook on high for 4–5 hours or on low for 8–10.
Soups

Recipe—Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Today is day 4 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one! 

This is everything you could ever hope for in a soup recipe. Quick, easy, and delicious! I love using my crock-pot. Not only because it makes dinner a total breeze but also because the house smells so incredibly good when you get home from work. If you are a fan of Mexican food then you will enjoy this. It’s not too mild, and it’s not too spicy, it’s just right. This soup is thick and creamy and warms you from the belly out. Try it with some of my jalapeño cheddar corn bread muffins for a perfect dinner. Heck now that I think about it, it would be perfect for some Monday night football this fall!

Note: If the soup is too thick for your liking add a splash of milk to the crock-pot before serving. If you have leftovers put it in a freezer safe container and save it for a rainy day. It reheats great!

INGREDIENTS
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can whole kernel corn
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
2 chicken breasts
10 oz can enchilada sauce (I’m a fan of Las Palmas)
10.75 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c milk

GREAT GARNISHES
shredded cheese
sliced avocado
sour cream
crushed tortilla chips

STEPS

  • In a large crock-pot combine black beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and peppers.
  • Place chicken breasts on top of veggies.
  • In a medium-mixing bowl whisk together enchilada sauce, soup, and milk.
  • Pour sauce mixture into the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 7–8 hours or on high for 3–4.
  • Remove chicken and using 2 forks shred into bite size pieces
  • Add chicken back into soup and continue to cook covered on low heat for another 25–30 minutes.
  • Serve in large soup bowls and top with some of the suggested garnishes.

Appetizers

Recipe—Queso Fundido

Today is day 1 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one!

Planning a fiesta anytime soon? If so, this is a perfect appetizer sure to start the party off right. It is quick and easy. I have made this for two social gatherings in the last couple of weeks since jalapeños are in abundance at our house and both times the dish was practically licked clean. It is one of those appetizers that you just can’t get enough of. Just serve it up with your favorite tortilla chips and watch it disappear.

Note: If you have a small appetizer sized crock-pot you can put the finished queso fundido in it on low heat to stay warm.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped
3 tbsp tequila
2 c jack cheese, shredded
1/4 c milk
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium high heat and add tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños.
  • Cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Carefully add in tequila and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Mix in cheese and milk and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  • You can serve as it is OR you can put the cheese mixture in an oven safe dish and finish off under the broiler for 3–4 minutes or until just starting to turn a golden brown on top.

Dinners

Recipe—Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

How about some delicious tacos to go with the Mexican red rice recipe I recently posted? These are the easiest most flavorful shredded beef tacos ever! And best of all you cook them in the crock-pot. I love my crock-pot! What’s not to love about coming home from work to a house that smells like an authentic taqueria where dinner is practically done when you walk through the door? This recipe gives you the most tender, moist, flavor packed meat. The meat literally falls apart when it’s done cooking. These tacos are definitely at the top of my list of favorite meals. I love loading them up with all my favorite toppings. Serving these with a lime wedge to squeeze over your tacos is a must! The bite of tangy lime just makes all the flavors come together. Serve these tacos with my Mexican red rice and a side of beans and you will feel like you are dining in Mexico. Don’t forget the pitcher of margaritas! 😉

Note: No need to limit yourself to just using this shredded beef for tacos, it is incredibly versatile and can be used for enchiladas, tacos, burritos, you name it!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2–3 lb tri tip or chuck roast
14 oz can beef broth
2 limes (1 for juicing and 1 sliced to be served with finished tacos)
tortillas

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES

shredded cheese
chopped green lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced red onion
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
pico de gallo
chopped cilantro

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray to make cleanup a breeze!
  • Add your roast to the crock-pot and rub the seasoning into the meat. It’s okay if any extra seasoning is loose in the crock-pot.
  • Pour broth around roast and squeeze the juice of one lime over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 8–10 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the crock-pot and place on a cutting board.
  • Using a large fork shred the beef and return it to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and continue to cook on low heat for 30 minutes. This allows your beef to soak up all those yummy juices.
  • Using tongs remove the shredded beef and place directly on tortillas or into a serving dish.
  • Serve with lime wedges and some of your favorite garnishes.
Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Crock-Pot French Dip Sandwiches

When I was a very young girl I wasn’t a picky eater, but I certainly had my favorites. Whenever we went to a deli I ALWAYS ordered a ham sandwich with mayo on white bread. Yeah I was pretty adventurous. One day my dad took me to an Italian deli and I was devastated when they told me they didn’t have ham or white bread. I know what you are thinking, a deli with no ham or white bread?!? I looked at my dad with big eyes and I was at a complete loss as to what I should order. My dad made a decision and ordered me a French dip. I ate the whole thing in record speed and it was delicious! From that day on I had a new favorite sandwich.

If you have never had a French dip then you are missing out! A French dip is a hot sandwich made up of tender thinly sliced roasted beef on a roll and served with a cup of flavorful juice called au jus. You dip each bite of the sandwich in the au jus and take a bite of the juicy flavor packed beefy sandwich. Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering as I write this! This recipe takes my favorite popular sandwich and makes it cheap, easy, and convenient by cooking it in the crock-pot. The meat is incredibly flavorful and tender. It was a huge hit with my family. My hubby actually went back for seconds and then tried to snag our toddlers leftovers too. And I will say, my son was not having it. I only wish I made more because I would have loved to have some leftovers the next day.

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2–3 lb chuck roast
garlic powder
Kosher salt and pepper
3 c beef broth
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed French onion soup
3/4 c red wine
French rolls
sliced provolone cheese (optional)

STEPS

  • Trim any excess fat from the meat.
  • Season the roast with garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
  • Spray crock-pot with non-stick cooking spray. (This makes clean up a breeze!)
  • In the crock-pot stir together broth, French onion soup, and red wine.
  • Add the seasoned roast to crock-pot.
  • Cook on low heat for 7–8 hours.
  • Remove roast from crock-pot and place on a cutting board.
  • Allow roast to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Using a ladle transfer half of the liquid (au jus) to a small saucepan.
  • Slice the roast (mine was falling apart tender so I ended up shredding it with a large fork) and return meat to crock-pot.
  • Continue to cook on low heat for an additional 30 minutes while the meat soaks up some of the flavor packed juices.
  • Heat the au jus you removed from the crock-pot in the saucepan over low heat.
  • Lightly toast your rolls in the oven while meat is soaking and au jus is heating.
  • Using tongs squeeze excess juice from the meat and place on toasted rolls.
  • Top with cheese if desired.
  • Serve sandwich with a side of the au jus in a small bowl or ramekin for dipping.
  • Enjoy while hot and juicy!
Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

It can be hard finding recipes for the crock-pot that are appealing during the warm summer months. Most of my crock-pot recipes are really rich comfort foods that I think of more as cool weather food. Well here is a perfect recipe to try out this summer. Not only will your house stay cooler not having the oven on, but it also allows you to enjoy more time to play outside since dinner will be a breeze! While these were great as they were, I think next time I might melt some cheddar cheese over the top just to finish them off. Yummmm! Be sure to have lots of napkins on hand because these saucy sandos are sure to get messy.

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 c of your favorite bbq sauce
8 oz of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
sandwich rolls (I used small ones to make sliders)

STEPS

  • Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the bbq sauce and beer in the crock-pot.
  • Add in the chicken.
  • Cook on high heat for 3–4 hours or on low heat for 7–8.
  • Remove the chicken from crock-pot and place on cutting board.
  • Using a fork, shred the chicken and toss back into the crock-pot.
  • Allow chicken to sit in sauce for an additional 20–30 minutes to soak up some extra flavor.
  • Place the saucy meat on a roll and enjoy!
Dinners

Recipe—Crock-Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu

The crock-pot is a fabulous invention that I don’t utilize enough. What’s not to love about a simple appliance that has dinner ready for you when you get home from a long day at work? Being a working mom I am always looking for quick and delicious dinner recipes to feed my family. This recipe is so easy to put together and it fills your house with such a wonderful smell. Your mouth will be watering as soon as you walk through the door. I love the salty flavor of the ham with the creamy melted Swiss cheese. The slow cooked chicken breast is moist and just falls apart. This certainly has the same flavors as the real deal but is so much easier to make.

Note: If your croutons don’t maintain a crunchy texture, transfer the chicken to an oven safe dish when it is done in the crock-pot and finish the chicken breast off under the broiler for 2–3 minutes. For a low carb alternative just skip the crushed croutons. 

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c milk
8 slices of ham
1 c Swiss cheese, shredded
1 c croutons, crushed
1/4 c butter, melted

STEPS

  • In a small bowl mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk.
  • Pour enough of the soup mixture into your crock-pot to cover the bottom.
  • Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot and drizzle with additional sauce. (I had some leftover.)
  • Fold slices of ham in half and put two slices on top of each chicken breast.
  • Cover the ham with the shredded Swiss.
  • Sprinkle the crushed croutons over the top.
  • Drizzle with melted butter.
  • Cover, and cook on low heat for 4–6 hours, or on high heat for 2–3 hours. Be sure your thermometer reads 160º when stuck in the thickest part of the chicken breast.