Tag Archives: crock pot

Crock Pot Italian Drip Beef

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This is a fabulous shredded beef sandwich recipe from Pioneer Woman. She cooked hers in a dutch oven, but I did mine in a crock pot. And I started with a completely frozen roast from my deep freeze. I put everything in the crock pot just before going to bed on a Saturday night, and it was all ready to serve after church on Sunday. It couldn’t have been easier!

A beef roast (any variety), a jar of pepperoncini peppers, Italian seasoning and beef broth. That is the simple cast of characters.

The vinegar from the peppers gives this beef a fabulous tanginess. And these peppers are not spicy, so the whole family will love it.

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Just before serving, toast up some buttered, cheese topped deli rolls.

050810 020-1 Top  rolls with your shredded beef and peppers.

050810 028-1 Serve your sandwiches with a small bowl of juices from the crock pot for a fabulous dunking sandwich.

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Just don’t forget the napkins!

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Crock Pot Italian Drip Beef

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1 whole beef chuck roast or sirloin tip roast, about 4 lb
2 cups beef broth
3-4 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 jar (16 oz) pepperoncini peppers, undrained
Deli rolls
Provolone or cheddar cheese slices

Combine all ingredients (except rolls, butter and cheese slices) in a crock pot. Do not drain pepperoncini-pour entire jar into the crock pot.

Cook at low heat for 8 to 10 hours. (I started with a completely frozen roast and it took about 10 hours to be fork tender.)

Remove roast from crock pot and place in a large bowl. Discard any large fat pieces. Use two forks to shred the meat. Remove pepperoncini from the crock pot and stir into shredded meat (I like to remove the stems from the peppers at this point, but that is optional). If desired, strain remaining liquid in the crock pot, reserving the strained juices.

Slice rolls almost in half. Open rolls and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread with butter. Toast at 400°F for about 5 minutes, or until rolls are slightly crispy but not overly brown. Top with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese melts—watch carefully so that you don’t burn the rolls!

Serve meat and peppers on the toasted rolls with a small bowl of the juices for dipping.

Adapted from Pioneer Woman



Filed under Main Dishes

Crock Pot Thai Pork Wraps


As we head into kids’ spring sports seasons, crock-pot meals make a more frequent appearance in our house. I especially like this one in the spring and summer, because it is not a heavy meal like many crock pot meals tend to be.

Cooked and shredded pork in a slightly spicy peanut sauce, topped with crisp, cool cucumber slices and lettuce. Sprinkle with some chopped peanuts and an Asian dressing, and roll the whole thing up in a tortilla (or use whole lettuce leaves for a twist on the traditional lettuce wrap).

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You can use either pork tenderloins or a cheaper pork loin. After cooking in the crock pot all day, both will turn out super tender. Simply put the pork in your crock pot. Combine sauce ingredients (except peanut butter) and pour over pork. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until pork is tender enough to shred.


Remove the pork roast from the crock pot and shred with forks. Stir some peanut butter (either creamy or chunky) into the sauce in the crock pot. Return pork to crock pot and mix into sauce. Stir in some Thai basil (cilantro also adds a nice flavor, if you don’t have Thai basil).

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I grew Thai basil in our garden last year and loved it! I brought some inside in the fall and have been trying to nurture it along during the winter. I am excited to plant outside again soon!


DSC02840-1I serve this in warmed tortillas with lettuce, chopped peanuts, sliced cucumbers and an Asian dressing (which is completely optional; the wraps are flavorful enough that you don’t need additional dressing, but the slightly sour vinegar taste does add a nice flavor).

For the cucumber, I use a seedless cucumber and slice it into wide julienned strips. Peel and slice cucumber in half crosswise (giving you 2 cylinders). Cut in half again lengthwise. Slice each piece lengthwise into very thin strips (they should resemble long rectangles, not half-circles).


This in our favorite Asian dressing. It is found in the supermarket in the produce section by the sushi. You could also use any Asian ginger or sesame/tahini based dressing, as well.


The flavorful, tender pork topped by the crunchy peanuts and cool, crisp cucumbers and lettuce make for a great texture combination. And the convenience of preparing it early in the day is definitely a plus on hectic weeknights.



Crock Pot Thai Pork Wraps


2-3 lb pork loin roast (or pork tenderloins)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup peanut butter
2-3 Tbs chopped fresh Thai basil or cilantro

Tortillas (or use iceberg/Bibb lettuce for lettuce wraps)
Chopped lettuce
Julienned cucumbers
Finely chopped peanuts
Asian dressing (we like the Miso flavored dressing, found in the produce section by the sushi in our grocery store, but any ginger or sesame/tahini based dressing would be good)

Place pork roast in crock pot. Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Pour over roast. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours (about half that on high). Remove pork and skim excess fat. Stir in peanut butter. Shred pork and return to crock pot. Turn crock pot to high and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered (longer if pork is too liquidy). Stir in Thai basil or cilantro just before serving.

Chop lettuce. Finely chop peanuts. Julienne cucumbers: Peel and slice cucumber in half crosswise (giving you 2 cylinders). Cut in half again lengthwise. Slice each piece lengthwise into very thin strips (they should resemble long rectangles, not half-circles).

To serve: Place pork in tortillas. Top with lettuce, cucumbers, peanuts and dressing.

**These are also good eaten as lettuce wraps; just use iceberg or Bibb lettuce instead of tortillas.



Filed under Main Dishes

Four Fun Fondues

Continuing with our All-Dipping-All-Day Christmas menu, for dinner/dessert we made four fondues:

Kid-Friendly Cheese Fondue
Pizza Fondue
Dark Chocolate Fondue
Vanilla Custard Fondue
– specifically for the non-chocolate eating Little A, but it was definitely enjoyed by all!

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Today I will share our savory fondues: the cheese and pizza fondues, and then tomorrow everyone’s favorites: the dessert fondues.

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The Kid Friendly Cheese Fondue was a pretty standard cheese fondue recipe, but I substituted chicken broth for most of the wine (which I completely boiled down to remove the alcohol) and used a combination of Gruyere and Muenster cheeses, for a slightly milder taste than an all Gruyere/Swiss combination.

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The Pizza Fondue was a super fun kid favorite. The dip was an easy-to-assemble “pizza sauce” full of sausage and chopped pepperoni. We then dipped bread cubes, mozzarella cubes, and other “pizza toppings” (olives, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli-you can get creative here!) in the sauce. If you let the cheese cubes sit in the fondue for a little while (on your stick), it gets wonderfully melted and gooey! Or try putting two or three pizza items on a fondue stick for the full pizza experience.

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The bread and vegetable trays were shared between the two fondues.

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The cheese cubes were just for the pizza fondue-cheese on cheese is a little too much for even a cheese-lover like me.

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What to do with leftover pizza fondue? Make a real pizza, of course! Make (or buy) a crust, use the fondue for the sauce, top with the chunks of mozzarella and slice up your favorite toppings from the dipping plate. I love getting two family-friendly meals from one day of food prep!

And how about that leftover cheese fondue? Heat it up again with some heavy cream or half-and-half, pour it over some sliced potatoes (add some onions and diced red peppers, if you want) and bake until tender. Then pretend you slaved all day over these fabulous Au Gratin Potatoes.

What to do if you don’t own a fondue pot? Or don’t have enough fondue pots for an all-out fondue party? Here are a few alternatives for fondue pots:

  • Crock-pots: these are a fabulous way to keep things warm, without burning your delicate cheese or chocolate
  • Double boiler: heat water in the bottom pot of a double boiler, set on a trivet and put your top pot with your fondue mixture over the hot water. The water should stay hot enough to keep your fondue from solidifying while you eat. You can “make your own” double boiler by using a saucepan (one with small side handles is best) for the water and a glass or ceramic mixing bowl to hold your fondue.
  • Single-burner tabletop butane/propane stove (camp stove). Just be sure to keep the flame on low, and on a secure surface. These work really well for broth or oil fondues where you are actually cooking things (as opposed to just dipping them) and need to maintain a higher temperature.


Kid Friendly Cheese Fondue

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12 oz shredded cheese (I used 8 oz Gruyere and 4 oz Muenster)
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup white wine
1 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 Tbs sherry, optional
Dash white pepper
1 clove garlic, halved
Dipping items: French bread cubes, fresh vegetables, cooked and cubed meats (sausage, chicken, shrimp)

Combine shredded cheeses and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat wine to a boil. Boil and reduce wine until there is only 1-2 tablespoons of liquid remaining (watch pot carefully, or you will end up with a very burned saucepan). Add chicken broth and sherry and bring mixture just barely to the boiling point. Reduce heat and stir in cheese/cornstarch mixture, a handful at a time. Stir in each handful of cheese until melted. Stir in pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles gently and cheese is completely melted.

Fill bottom portion of a fondue pot with very hot water. Place over flame. Rub your  ceramic fondue pot insert* with the garlic clove halves. Discard garlic. Pour cheese mixture into ceramic fondue pot insert and place over hot water. Use skewers or fondue forks to dip bread, vegetables or meats in cheese.

*NOTE: Cheese fondues should not be placed directly over a flame. They will burn or clump easily. If your fondue pot does not have a ceramic insert (allowing you to create a double boiler), use a glass or ceramic bowl that fits just over the lip of your fondue pot.

Pizza Fondue

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½ lb sausage, mild or spicy
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jar meatless pasta sauce
6 oz pepperoni slices, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
Cubed crusty French bread
Fresh mozzarella balls or cubed mozzarella
Vegetables: mushrooms, red or green peppers, whole olives, broccoli, pineapple-any of your favorite pizza toppings!

Cook sausage and onion; drain. Stir in sauce, pepperoni, oregano and red pepper flakes. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Or put into a crock pot and cook for 3-4 hours on low.

Serve in a fondue pot or crock pot with skewers to dip cubed bread, cheese and vegetables.

Hint: leave your cheese in the sauce (on its skewer) for a few minutes and it will be nice and melted- just don’t overdo it or you will lose your cheese completely!



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Filed under Appetizers, Main Dishes

Dulce de Leche (Six Ways) PART ONE


So what do you do when swine flu rages in your house for SIX WEEKS,  often leaving you housebound with feverish, coughing demanding children (and one spouse), eventually leading to bronchitis and pneumonia?  I mean besides trying to hide Tylenol in Gatorade for the medicine-hating little people in the house.

What else – experiment with Dulce de Leche!

With hours of time on my hands, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with milk, sugar, vanilla beans and lots and lots of sweetened condensed milk.  Eagle Brand sweet milk was on sale 2/$3, so I stocked up! I will admit to some embarrassment explaining to the check-out girl why I had 20 cans of sweet milk in my cart. Can’t people just mind their own business in the grocery store?

The following post is not for the faint of heart, or risk-adverse home chef. We are talking about risking exploding cans, shattered jars, and possibly a little botulism thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the risk of covering your kitchen in oozing-sticky-wonderful-caramel heaven! Or the temptation to sit and eat this stuff straight out the can.

Dulce de Leche (pronounced Dool-say De Lechay) is a caramelized milk that originated in Latin America. Nestle sells it premade in a can, often found in the ethnic section of the grocery store (by the Latin foods). But, as I have found, it is very easy and much cheaper to make at home. I will show you how to make it SIX different ways, so there is something here for everyone, even those who are not willing to risk exploding cans. And for the true gourmet, who wouldn’t dream of starting with a can, there is even a homemade option (which really is to die for).

In short the six ways that I tried are:

  • STOVETOP (in the can)
  • CROCKPOT (in the can)
  • OVEN (from a can, but not still in the can)
  • DOUBLE BOILER (from a can, but not still in the can)
  • PRESSURE CANNER (from a can, but in a jar)
  • HOMEMADE (no cans here)


This is “the can”. Who knew that such an innocuous looking can could have the potential for such greatness!


So, on to the results. You might want to get up and make yourself a snack first; this is an exhaustive study of the process of turning milk and sugar into one of the most wonderful creations ever! Today I will share the first two (danger of exploding cans) methods. Besides the taste, what I love about these two methods is that you can make a lot at one time. And then the cans are shelf stable. They sit waiting, patiently, for when you need a can for that perfect recipe (and you don’t have a few hours to whip up fresh dulce de leche) or when the apple on your lunch plate is just calling out for something to dip itself in.

Stay tuned later this week for methods three – six.




STOVETOP (in the can)


This method is easy, but is only for those who like to flirt with danger. It is actually only dangerous if you forget to check on your water levels, but I will give my disclaimer now that Borden (the company that makes Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk) does NOT recommend this method for making Dulce de Leche. Since they don’t recommend it, I don’t either (but I will still make it!)

  1. Start with a large stockpot. Place a rack in the bottom of the pot (mine has a steamer insert that I used). Many websites that give this method do not use a rack in the pot. The first time I made it without a rack, and the caramel in the bottom of my cans ended up slightly on the burned side. I did use a terrible thin pot, so if you have a nice thick one, this might not be a problem for you. But the second time around, I used a rack and the caramel cooked evenly through the can. The rack also kept the cans from making terrible noise as the water came to a boil.
  2. DSC01777Remove the labels from your sweetened condensed milk. Place unopened, label-free cans  into the bottom of your stockpot. You can use as many as will fit in one layer in your pot.
  3. Fill pot with room temperature tap water. Cover cans completely with water. The water level should be at least 2 inches above the cans.
  4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 3 hours.
    ***The water level must remain above the top of the cans. If not—this is when you end up cleaning caramel from exploding cans off of the top of your ceiling and every surface beneath it*** To ensure that you don’t forget that you are cooking when you go off and start another project, set a timer for 30 minutes. Check water level (add more boiling water, if necessary), then set the timer again for another 30 minutes. Continue setting the timer in 30 minute increments until the 3 hours are up.
  5. Remove pan from heat, remove lid, and let water cool for 30-60 minutes before removing cans.
  6. DSC01751.jpgUnopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.








CROCKPOT (in the can)


As this is another “cooked in an unopened can” method, I will refer you to the disclaimer above. . .  Now that I have not recommended that you use this method, let me tell you how much I loved this! It was easy. easy. easy. And delicious!

  1. Remove labels from sweetened condensed milk cans. Do not open cans.
  2. Place cans in the bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Cover cans completely with room temperature water. **Be sure that water completely covers cans**
  4. Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. (The water level in my crock pot stayed the same for the entire cooking time, so there was no need to add additional water.)
  5. Turn off crock pot, remove lid and let water cool 30-60 minutes before removing cans.DSC02492
  6. Unopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.








Both of these methods produced a dulce de leche that was delicious! It was thick and rich and a wonderful caramel color. Of the two, cooking it in the crock pot was the easier method.  Even though it takes a little longer, it was easier than worrying about maintaining water levels. If you do choose to try one of these methods, just remember to keep cans completely covered with water and let the cooking water cool slightly before removing cans. This will help to reduce “temperature shocks” which could cause the cans to burst.





Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces, Desserts