{Recipe} Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

The holidays are over, but maybe you still have some leftover ham? Or maybe you’re just craving a stick-to-your-ribs soup on a chilly winter day. There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of split pea soup. Over the years, I’ve tried several different recipes, but none of them seemed like “the one.” They were too smoky, or too salty, or just had the wrong flavor.

Desperate to satisfy a craving, I gave one more recipe a shot, adapting it a little bit, and I finally came up with a winner. When your husband exclaims, “This soup is awesome!” and your 6-year-old asks to take to school for lunch the next day, well… you know it’s got to be pretty good.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

1 1/4 cup of dried split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/2 – 1 lb. of ham, diced
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Check on the soup about halfway through. Add more liquid if necessary. Prior to serving, use a potato masher to mash ingredients slightly and thicken the soup.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

This recipe can easily be doubled, and next time I may have to do that. Top the soup with oyster cracker or croutons, or serve with a buttered roll.

{Recipe} Easiest-Ever Crock Pot Potato Soup

Easiest Ever Crock Pot Potato Soup

I know. There are a million recipes for potato soup out there. But you know what? This is a recipe I have been making for years and years. I can’t remember if I started making it while in college, or just after I had graduated, but either way it’s a long time.

My friend Kelly (of the Easter Nest recipe) and I have long been Crock Pot afficianados (way before it was a cool thing again). And I consider this to be our soup. With just a few ingredients, the recipe is easy to throw together, forgiving, and (most important), super-yummy!

Easiest Ever Crock Pot Potato Soup

Easiest-Ever Crock Pot Potato Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 6 cups of peeled, chopped potatoes
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  4. 3 bouillon cubes
  5. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  6. 3-4 slices American cheese
  7. 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  8. 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
Instructions
  1. Combine potatoes, onions, water, bouillon cubes, and pepper in a 3-4 qt. slow cooker. Cover. Cook on LOW for 9-11 hours or HIGH for 4-4.5 hours.
  2. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or remove and carefully puree in a blender). If you prefer a chunky soup, use a masher.
  3. Add cheeses and evaporated milk to the soup. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour more or HIGH for 30 minutes more.
  4. Serve with additional cheese, sour cream, chives, and/or bacon bits
Notes
  1. Substitute cream or half-and-half for the evaporated milk if you don't have it on hand.
  2. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of water and chicken bouillion.
  3. If you have homemade chicken broth, by all means use it. This happens to be a "throw together" me for me, and bouillon cubes are a pantry staple (whereas I don't always have homemade broth).
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{Recipe} Crock Pot Hot Fudge Cake

valentine's day

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Aren’t my roses gorgeous? Drew surprised me with a bunch this year — such a sweetie! I know so many people who are down on Valentine’s Day and true, you shouldn’t need a single day to express your love for someone (I know that’s certainly not the case with me and my amazing hubby), but I enjoy being a little extra smoochy and making things a little extra special. But that’s just me.

We had a delicious home-cooked dinner. I made surf & turf (filet mignon and sizzling shrimp scampi), steamed broccoli, a chopped salad, and baked potatoes. For dessert I made this decadent Hot Fudge Cake!

Oh, there is nothing like an ooey, gooey chocolate dessert… especially on Valentine’s Day! This is one of my favorite recipes, and best of all, you cook it in the Crock Pot so you can leave your oven free to bake up some other delicious dishes.

Hot Fudge Cake (in the Crock Pot)
hot fudge cake

Cake:
1 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp coconut oil (feel free to use butter, vegetable oil or whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Hot fudge sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups boiling water

Combine the dry ingredients and then add the milk, vanilla, and oil. Combine well. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Spread the batter in a well-greased 2-quart slow cooker.
hot fudge cake

Add the brown sugar and additional cocoa to the boiling water and stir well. Pour this mixture over batter in your Crock Pot. Do not stir. Just leave it alone — trust me.
hot fudge cake

Cook on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. See how it rises and all comes together?
hot fudge cake

* This recipe makes more of a traditional thick “pudding” — it’s not going to be firm like bakery cake. The water settles to the bottom and makes a chocolatey sauce, and the cake batter kind of rises to the top and gets baked, yet still kind of mushy. Just so you know what to expect. Here’s a photo after we dug into it.
hot fudge cake

** Correct: there are NO EGGS in this recipe.

*** If there are leftovers, they are not great cold — definitely warm extras up in the microwave or in the toaster oven.

I have never cooked this on the LOW setting, so I can’t recommend that. Serve it with ice cream or whipped cream — it is just heaven in a bowl!

Linking up with…

Whatever You Want Wednesday!

{Recipe} Overnight Bone Broth

BoneBroth

I have admitted in the past that I am a soup snob. And it’s true. As a child, I was spoiled by my mom and grandmother with their delicious, homemade soups. Sure, there was the occasional bowl of Campbell’s Tomato, but the soups I remember from my childhood were full of barley, veggies, and homemade broth. The stuff in the cans or cartons just can’t compare, I don’t care which celebrity chef is on the label.

Making your own stock, or bone broth, is so ridiculously easy that it shouldn’t even need a recipe. In fact, I feel a little silly even writing about it. But I know people who have found it daunting to make homemade stock. If you’re making it on the stove top, it’s true — you need to pay a little bit of attention to it (only because you don’t want it to boil for too long). But there’s an easier way, perfect for even the laziest cook: just use your Crock Pot.

In the fall and winter, I roast a whole chicken twice a month on average. And often the weeks I don’t roast one on my own, I’ll pick up a rotisserie bird at Sam’s. After dinner, I just throw everything into my slow cooker and let it go. Here are the basic directions!

 Overnight Bone Broth

  • carcass from a roasted (or rotisserie) chicken (or turkey!), including skin, bones, and any resulting cooking liquid from roasting if you don’t use it for gravy
  • 1 medium onion
  • celery fronds or 1-2 celery stalks
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar (white or apple cider recommended)
  • water
Combine first 7 ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover with water (I usually fill it to 1-2 inches below the top of the crock). Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then turn to LOW and cook overnight. Strain out and discards solids. The amount of broth you end up with will depend upon how much water you use and how hot your Crock Pot cooks, but you should end up with quite a bit.
I know, it’s super-technical and specific right? LOL! Seriously, you just throw it in the pot with water and cook it. Sometimes I add a few cloves of garlic. Sometimes I add oregano or other seasonings, depending on whether or not I have a specific use for the broth.

So now that you have all this yummy stock, what do you do with it? Well you could use some of it to make Spicy Black Bean Soup, Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) and Wild Rice Soup, or maybe some Lazy Stuffed Peppers? I seriously love soup and even though I eat it all summer, it is extra delicious and comforting in the fall and winter. Now I just need some butternut squash so I can make a big pot of autumn bisque!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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meal plan monday, 1.9-1.15

I kind of threw this week’s menu together at the last minute, but it uses up things I already have in the pantry and freezer, with just a few exceptions. We’re supposed to get another snow storm this week, so I’m already planning on another snow day Wednesday. I love, love, love the black bean soup I’ll be making and I plan on sharing the recipe with you on Thursday. It’s so easy and so good! The boys don’t like it much (hence the cheese quesadillas), but Drew and I do and Laura just devours it. As for Saturday’s beef stew? Well, I’m hoping that during the week I can find a great recipe. For some reason, my beef stews never come out well. If you have a recipe you love, please share it with me!

Here’s what I’m cooking up this week:

  • Sunday: Indian take-out (vegetarian platter & samosas)
  • Monday: Chili (slow cooker), salad
  • Tuesday: Roast chicken, potatoes au gratin, mixed vegetables
  • Wednesday: Black bean soup, cheese quesadillas with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole
  • Thursday: Baked cheese ravioli, salad
  • Friday: Chicken Parmesan grinders, cole slaw, chips
  • Saturday: Beef stew, biscuits

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature

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Slow Cooking Thursday: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thursday already? Wow, the week is flying by. That means it is once again time for Sandra’s Slow Cooking Thursday. Last week I started looking through some of my slow cooker cookbooks, anticipating the cooler temperatures that fall will bring. I found a recipe for garlic mashed potatoes and thought that sounded both a little silly, and a little interesting as well. I mean, it’s not that time-consuming to make mashed potatoes the traditional way. But I thought that using the Crock Pot could be convenient on days when you have a lot of pots on the stove.

Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. baking potatoes, upeeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Place all ingredients except milk in slow cooker; toss to combine. Cover. Cook on LOW 7 hours or HIGH 4 hours. Add milk to potatoes. Mash potatoes with potato masher or electric mixer until smooth. 5 servings

I substituted chicken broth for water and only used 1/4 tsp. of salt. I also did not add quite that much milk. The potatoes mashed nicely, but were a bit runny, so I decided to transfer them to a dish and broil them for a few minutes. The result was quite good! My six-year-old loved them. The three-year-old ate a bit without complaining. Next time I might drain off some of the broth before mashing them, but all in all, a success.

Oh, Crock Pot, is There Anything You Can’t Do?

Last week I discovered an awesome new blog called A Year of CrockPotting. Stephanie has vowed to, that’s right, use her Crock Pot every day for a year. I love how honest she is with her hits and misses. She has a lot of really great recipes (like these brownie mugs that I am totally making on Sunday!) and I can’t wait to make some of them. But the other day she showed us what else you can do with your slow cooker: make Shrinky Dinks!!! How cool is this? I actually have two packages of Shrinky Dinks in the closet that we gave Jake a long time ago. (I keep forgetting about them.) Using the Crock Pot instead of the stove seems much safer, as well as more fun. Next rainy weekend day, I know what I am doing with the boys. Check it out!