Cheesy Chicken and Potato Casserole – Crockpot Recipe – So easy a kid can make it!

Potatoes 1

Before I get into this blog post, I must apologize for the horrendous pictures.   I am still learning how to use my camera, and the white chicken in this dish completely didn’t turn out correctly.  Oh well, I’m learning.

There are some days when my children surprise me.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I had thawed a bag of chicken to be used for dinner, but completely forgot to put it in the crockpot before I left for work. When my husband called me to ask what needed to be done with the chicken, I scrambled to think of what we could do with the chicken once we got home.  He suggested that I call the kids and have them put together their favorite crockpot recipe.  I was very leery about asking 2 teenagers to do anything while they are on Spring Break, much less asking them to COOK something.  I decided I would call them later to see if they would be so kind as to prepare dinner for the family, fully expecting to hear groaning and complaining.  To my surprise, I received a call from my son asking what he needed to do with the chicken.  WHAT!?  Could this be true?  My husband had called my son to ask him to make dinner, and he said “yes.”  I’m still shocked.  After explaining that “slow cooker” and “crockpot” were exactly the same thing, he was ready to prepare dinner.  He didn’t require any additional help.

I was very excited when I arrived home and, 1) my house was still in tact, 2) dinner was finished, 3) the teenagers had even folded some laundry.  I felt like I had won the lottery!

If you are looking for a quick and simple dinner, this should be your go-to recipe.  It is one of our favorites.  One important note about this is that it only requires 4-5 hours of cooking time on low, and it won’t last long if you leave it on warm after it is done.  It dries out quickly.

p.s. This recipe is “naturally” gluten free

p.p.s. My kids really didn’t fold any of the laundry.  My mom stopped by for lunch and decided to do me a favor.  Thanks mom!

Potatoes 2

Cheesy Chicken and Potato Casserole for the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen tater tots (32 ounces)

1/3 cup bacon pieces

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (thawed, diced, uncooked)

2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, mexican, etc)

3/4 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Cover crockpot with plastic liner or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Layer half of the tater tots in the bottom and sprinkle with 1/3 of the bacon pieces and 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
  3. Add chicken on top of the previous layer and sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining cheese and bacon pieces.
  4. Add the remaining taters tots and top with remaining bacon and cheese.
  5. Pour milk over the top.
  6. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is fully cooked.  Do not overcook or leave in crockpot on warm once casserole is finished.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Happy Friday to everyone! I am going to be putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu that’s perfect for people that don’t have a lot of time and/or don’t know how to cook. This menu is going to include recipes that I have made in the past, but I made them before I started my blog. In other words….no pictures. BOOOOO! I will put together the entire menu, but I need to get each recipe posted first.

This first recipe is something that I made a few years back when I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for the hubby’s family. I’ve also made it several other times, but I think it’s important that you know I did actually make it for Thanksgiving. Everyone loves this recipe. It is fool-proof! If you are scared to make a turkey for fear it will be gross and dry, try this recipe. It only uses the breast portion of the turkey, so if you have a small family, this will be the perfect size. I would say that this will easily feed 6 people. Make sure you have a large crockpot because this will not fit in the smaller ones.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 – Whole turkey breast (6-8 lbs.) – These are found in the freezer section with the frozen, whole turkeys.
2 – Dry onion soup mix packages
1 yellow onion – cut in quarters
3 celery stalks – cut in sections
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 – tablespoons butter

Directions:
Spread onion soup mixture on the outside and inside cavity of the turkey. Place the onion and celery on the inside of the turkey and underneath and around the turkey if you have space in your crockpot. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the crockpot being careful not to pour over the turkey and wash off any seasoning. Cut butter into 4 squares and place them on top of the turkey. Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for another 7-8. Remove turkey from crockpot and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Discard the onion and celery. Slice turkey and serve.

Cheri’s Slow Cooker Chili – My new favorite halloween recipe



Why did the Invisible Man flunk out of school? Because the teacher kept marking him absent! This was the best joke that I heard this year….and honestly, it wasn’t that great. I heard all of the “oldies but goodies” but there still wasn’t anything that made me laugh uncontrollably. Well, there was that 2-year-old that said, “whole bunch” and held up his pumpkin after I gave him 2 pieces of candy. Apparently he wanted more. It was cute, and it worked, but his parents were mortified. Hey, at least he knows how to ask for what he wants.

What’s Halloween without chili? It’s like Thanksgiving without turkey, Christmas without snow, St. Patrick’s day without beer, Mardi Gras without….um, well, I’ll skip that one. Each year I make chili for Halloween. I take that back, the hubby usually makes beef chili and I make my chicken chili. This year we decided to find a recipe for chili and make a big pot of only 1 kind of chili. I searched through Allrecipes and came across one of their highest rated recipes. Of course I had to adapt it to make it my own, including making it a slow cooker recipe. If I can put something in the crockpot to cook all day, I will do it!

The hardest part of this recipe is chopping up all of the fresh veggies. You could probably put it all in a food processor or buy pre-chopped to save time. Either way, this recipe is pretty simple and very forgiving. If you don’t have the beans that the recipe calls for, use what you do have…within reason. I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t want to use baked beans or garbanzo beans, but hopefully you already knew that.

I adapted my version to be gluten free by using this bouillon. But you can use regular bouillon if you don’t have an issue with gluten.

This recipe makes a TON of chili, so be prepared to feed a crowd or have tons of leftovers. I guess I need to start researching recipes that will help me use up my leftover chili. We’ve already done chili dogs, so maybe some chili mac??? Anyone want to come over for some chili?!

This recipe has been shared at:
A Southern Fairytale
11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven


Cheri’s Slow Cooker Chili
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
3/4 cup water
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup chili powder
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (28 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions:
In large skillet, brown ground beef and sausage. Drain and add to large crockpot. Dissolve bouillon in water to form a concentrated broth and pour into crockpot. Add the reminder of the ingredients to the crockpot, stir to combine and cook on low for up to 8 hours. *I prepared this the night before and just stored in the fridge and put it in the crockpot the following morning.

Slow Cooker Roast Beef – Tastes like it took longer than 5 minutes to prepare



Happy November! Well, maybe it’s not happy for some. The way I look at it is that it brings me one month closer to spring. That’s the only thing I look forward to once October ends.

Last night was Halloween, and, as always, my neighborhood was CRAZY. We went through 8 big bags of candy! The kids had so much fun. I made homemade chili (recipe tomorrow) and apple pie (recipe soon). My mother-in-law made white chicken chili, so I will take pics and post that later as well. Gees, I have a lot of blogging to do this week.

So this recipe isn’t a recipe that I made for Halloween. This is a recipe that I make on a regular basis because the hubby loves it. I love it too, especially because it’s a crockpot recipe. I have always loved French dip sandwiches, but I never knew how to make the perfect roast beef for them. This recipe does it. All you need are some good French rolls and any cheese that you prefer with your roast beef and you will have a quick and easy roast beef sandwich. This can be prepared the night before and then added to the crockpot in the morning, or it can be prepared the same day.

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Slow Cooker Beef Dip Sandwiches
Adapted from: allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
5 pound beef chuck roast
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce (I use GF soy sauce)
6 cups water

Directions:
In large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the bay leaves and roast. Stir to combine. Add roast to bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight if possible to marinate the meat. This is not a necessary step, but I find that the flavor is better if you can let it sit in the marinade overnight.

Add the beef, marinade and bay leaves to a large crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.



Remove roast from crockpot. Let meat rest for 5 minutes. Slice and spoon some of the leftover liquid from the crockpot onto the meat. Serve warm or cold.

Cheri’s Homemade Lasagna – Cheesy, yummy, and just plain good!



Comfort food! We all have our opinion of what comfort food should be. What’s yours? Mine are a big pot of chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and lasagna. If you’ve never made homemade lasagna, you cannot fully appreciate the time that goes into preparing it, especially if you make your sauce from scratch as well. I don’t care how many times you see commercials advertising delicious homemade lasagna from a box, or canned lasagna – Um really? – there is nothing that will beat a good slice of freshly prepared lasagna. Now, I didn’t go all out and make my noodles from scratch, but everything else was made from ingredients and not a mix from a box.

My Sous Chef was super excited about making lasagna. He wanted to make it without my help. I gave him the task of preparing the tomato sauce, and provided him with a simple recipe to use. He followed the instructions perfectly, but then I went behind him and added in a little of this and a little of that to make it our own special sauce. It really turned out great. I was so proud of him and a little proud of myself for creating my own recipe that didn’t completely fail! Woo hooo!

Feel free to use “no-boil” noodles for your lasagna – I did. Mine were actually gluten-free, no boil noodles (details here).

I made an entire pan of this lasagna and planned to take a picture of a cut piece, but it never happened. The lasagna was gone by the next evening. The hubby had 3 pieces for lunch! I told him that he would have to workout for at least 3 extra hours to work it off! This recipe isn’t something you want to eat everyday. I hope you will make this for your family. It really is worth the extra effort.

I have included the recipe below with step-by-step photos to help you with layering the lasagna. A link to a printable version (no pics included) can be found below.

Cheri’s Homemade Lasagna with Crockpot Tomato Sauce
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe
Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:
2 cans tomato paste (6 ozs.)
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ozs.)
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
½ cup chopped onion

Lasagna:
1 box Lasagna Noodles
16 ozs. Small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sugar, salt, oregano, parsley and bay leaf to large crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add Italian sausage, ground beef, garlic and onions and cook until all meat is browned. Drain and then add meat mixture to the tomato mixture in the crockpot. Continue cooking for 4 hours.

Lasagna Preparation:

Prepare lasagna noodles according to directions on box. I used “no-boil” noodles.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a large baking dish (9×7) by spraying with a non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg.

Layer 1 – spoon a generous amount of tomato sauce into baking dish.



Layer 2 – add lasagna noodles to cover the first layer of sauce.



Layer 3 – Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. You can sprinkle with some Italian seasoning if you’d like.



Layer 4 – Add a generous amount of the tomato sauce to completely cover the cheese below.



Layer 5 – add lasagna noodles to cover the previous layer.



Layer 6 – Spread the remainder of the cottage cheese mixture over the top of the noodles.



Layer 7 – Add the remainder of the tomato sauce mixture. OOPS! I started adding the cheese before I took the picture. Pretend like the cheese isn't there.



Layer 8 – Top with the 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.



Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches



I always try to have a decent meal for everyone when they come back from my birthday/winery trip. I try to have something that is ready when they arrive and will be a crowd-pleaser. I’ve made chili, pizzas, BBQ, etc. This year I decided to make my slow cooker jambalaya, a sub sandwich (see the pic below), and this Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken. I can honestly say that I didn’t try any of this, but I know that I heard everyone talking about how good it was, and the hubby said it was one of the best things that I had ever made. Once again, this was one of the easiest recipes ever, and people will think it took a lot of effort to prepare. This would be perfect for a Super Bowl party or a World Series party (Go Cards!!!). Sorry, I don’t have pictures of the chicken on a sandwich, but I got pics of the leftovers…there wasn’t much.

The hubby's awesome sandwich. He made this by himself.



Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken
Recipe Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle of buffalo wing sauce (I used Hooters)
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
2 tbsp. butter

Pour wing sauce and ranch dressing mix into large, slow-cooker. Mix until combined. Add chicken breasts and stir to coat. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Place meat back in crockpot, add butter and stir until chicken is coated and butter is melted.

Serve on buns or with tortilla chips.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce Recipe



I would like to share a few nuggets of wisdom that I have heard from children lately. These children will remain nameless because I’m certain that they don’t want all of the notoriety that comes along with making such profound statements. For your reading pleasure:

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been poked in the eye.”
“I ALWAYS remember everything that I forget.”
“I stay awake until I fall asleep.”
“Shhhh, I’m trying to smell something.”

I think I’m going to start keeping a log of the silly things that I hear from kids. Have you heard anything funny lately?

Now, back to the food. I try to have everything planned out by Monday, including my menu. I know if I wait, it won’t get done during the week. But, even if I do plan a menu, sometimes it doesn’t work out as expected. I put together a great menu last week and went shopping to purchase all of the necessary items. Well, I’m fairly certain that nothing was cooked as planned. I made so many things that weren’t on the menu…cranberry/orange bread, vanilla bundt cake, French bread, 3 different kinds of dips, and a birthday cake. I hadn’t really thought about how crazy that was until I wrote it here. No wonder I gained 5 pounds this weekend!

I did end up making everything on the menu, it just wasn’t in the order that I planned. Last night I decided to make a homemade spaghetti sauce. The original recipe called for simmering the sauce on the stove for 2 hours, and I knew I didn’t have time to sit inside the house and let the whole thing simmer. I decided to experiment and throw everything in the crockpot. It worked out perfectly. It was the easiest sauce I have ever made. I even threw in some meatballs that I had previously frozen – I’ll share that recipe with you soon.

I served the spaghetti with some homemade bread and Pasta House salad, both recipes will also be posted here soon.

Here are the step-by-step instructions (not many) and the full recipe is at the bottom:

Set crockpot to low. Add to crockpot – 1 can of whole tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, bay leaf, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. dried basil and ½ tsp. black pepper.



In medium pan, over medium/high heat, add ¼ cup olive oil. Once hot, add 1 cup chopped onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add 2 tbsp. minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, approx. 1 minute.



Remove from heat and add to crockpot.



Stir to combine and cook on low for 7 hours.



Serve over your favorite spaghetti noodles.



Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Spaghetti Sauce
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes (15 ounces)
1 can of diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup onions – chopped
2 tbsp. minced garlic (5 cloves)
1/4 cup olive oil

Set crockpot to low. Add to crockpot – 1 can of whole tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, bay leaf, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. dried basil and ½ tsp. black pepper.

In medium pan, over medium/high heat, add ¼ cup olive oil. Once hot, add 1 cup chopped onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add 2 tbsp. minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, approx. 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add to crockpot.

Stir to combine and cook on low for 7 hours.

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