Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A few years ago before I had my son, I was at work looking at a cookbook in my downtime, and found a yummy sounding recipe for SLOW COOKER TACO SOUP. I showed it to some of the girls I worked with, and it made us so hungry that we decided to have a Chili/Soup potluck that Friday. I decided to make Chicken & Dumplings, and another girl wanted to make the Taco Soup recipe I had found. We analyzed the recipe, and made some adjustments to suit our tastes. She went home, and came in the next day with the finished product.......let's just say that with our combined effort, we proved that two heads are always better than one! YUMMO, thanks Shelly!!!

Slow Cooker Taco Soup:
(From: Angie & Shelly)

1-2lbs ground beef (I normally use about 1 1/2lbs)
1 15oz can chili beans, with liquid
1 15oz can kidney beans, with liquid
1 15oz can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 cups water (depending on how thick or thin you like your soup)
1 1/2-2 pkg taco seasoning (Shelly used 2, I normally use 1 1/2)
1 16oz jar salsa
1 can Rotel tomatoes

In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain; add to slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, and cook on low for 8 hours. Top with shredded cheese, and serve with Fritos, or Tostidos.


This recipe is so easy, and the results are amazing!  Once you make homemade chicken stock, you will never want to use that stuff in a box again!  Besides being yummy, it is so much less expensive!  Think about buy a whole chicken, you have to cook it anyway, so why not save your stock?  If you are like me, you always have celery and carrots on hand that need to be used up, and I buy onions by the bag, so they are always on hand as well.  This recipe is also very can add whatever you want to season your stock.  If you don't have one of the ingredients, that's ok, just make a substitution, or leave it out!  Just don't leave out too much, because the more you have to season with, the richer and better the flavor.  So here is the recipe I came up with after looking at several different stock recipes.  I hope you try this me, you won't be disappointed!

Homemade Chicken Stock:
(From: Angie's Kitchen)

1 whole chicken
2 small onions, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces
3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 fresh basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Paula Deen's House Seasoning

Rinse off your bird, make sure that you check the inside for giblets and other organs you want to discard them before putting your bird in the crock pot.

Place your bird inside your crock pot, season with Paula Deen's House Seasoning. Now you want to add a few more items for flavor - a few onions, a few carrots, a few celery sticks, (be sure to use the leafy parts of the celery, there is alot of flavor in there!) a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a couple of bay leaves, and basil leaves, and then sprinkle on a little more of Paula's seasoning for the veggies! (Be sure to chop your onions, carrots, and celery into large chunks to make them easy to remove later on.) You can add other herbs and seasonings if you like.  Thyme, oregano, peppercorns...well, you get the idea!

When your chicken is done, remove your chunks of vegetables with a slotted spoon.  You can discard them, or save and eat them later!  Then, remove your chicken and put in a separate dish. The chicken should be so tender that it just falls apart. The liquid that is left in your crock pot is your yummy homemade stock, but before you use it, you'll want to strain it to remove any leftover bits of chicken or veggies.Then, refrigerate your broth for several hours (preferably overnight). As it cools, the fat will rise to the top, you then need to skim it off.  Now your stock is ready for use.  You will have several cups of stock, you can use it now, or freeze it for later.  I freeze my stock in pint freezer containers, but you can use freezer bags, and freeze in any portion size you want.

Now for the chicken.....when it has cooled enough to touch, pull it off the bone, and discard those bones and all that yucky stuff!  You can use the chicken in soups, casseroles, pot pies, or just eat it! If you don't want to use it now, you can freeze it as well.  I also freeze my chicken in 2 cup portions since most recipes call for 2 cups of chicken.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Ok, this recipe is not for those of you who have to have precise measurements.  This is one of those "'s missing something" kinda recipes.  It seems I can never make chili the same way twice.  I either have extra ground beef that needs to be used, so I make a BIG batch, or I don't have enough ground beef, so I make a small batch.  But today, I had 2 pounds of ground beef in the freezer that needed to be used, so a BIG batch is what I fixed.  I usually don't use that much ground beef, so I had to "wing" it.  So of course with more beef, I needed more of everything else.  Well.....I only had one pkg of chili seasoning, but I did have chili powder and cumin.  Then my husband tells me he wants macaroni in his chili this time!  That changed EVERYTHING!  Now I needed more liquid because the noodles will soak it up.  This is where the "a little of this and a little of that" comes in.   So if you are someone who cooks "to taste" this recipe is made for you.  I hope you will give it a try because it turned out so good, that my husband said from now on this is the only chili he will eat!!

A Little of This & a Little of That Crock Pot Chili:
(From: Angie's Kitchen)

2 lbs ground beef
2 quarts tomato juice
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 soup can of water (this you can adjust according to how thick or thin you want your chili)
1 can diced tomatoes w/ peppers and onions, undrained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 pkg chili seasoning
1-2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles* (or any other style pasta you choose)
chili powder to taste ( I used about 3tbs, just depends on how spicy you like it)
ground cumin to taste (I used about 3tbs)
Paula Deen's house seasoning to taste** (I just sprinkled this in, so not sure how much I used.  I would say about a teaspoon)

Brown ground beef in a skillet, season meat with Paula's house seasoning (just a sprinkle).  Drain off any fat and transfer to a 5-6qt crock pot.  Add all other ingredients and stir well to combine.  Cook on high for 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  I serve this topped with cheese and Fritos.

*If you don't like your macaroni too soft, you can add it in the last hour of cooking, or pre-cook it and add it in the end.
**You can make a batch of Paula's house seasoning to keep in your spice cabinet.  I use it in almost everything.  If you don't want to make it, it is available in most grocery stores.  Here is the recipe:

Paula's House Seasoning:
(From: Paula Deen)

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

I put this in a pint size lock tight container and shake it up until it is combined.  I pour some into a shaker for my spice cabinet, and leave the rest in the lock tight container and store in my pantry.