Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili. (GF)

A cozy fall chili recipe made in the crock pot that your whole family will love!

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Oh October.

I love you.

You’re the month of bonfires, football, plaid, boots, and scarves.

And ever-changing brightly colored leaves.

And, of course, #pumpkinallthethings! Yes, even chili!

You know what’s awesome about putting pumpkin in chili? You can’t taste it, but it thickens the chili up (yay texture!) and you get all kinds of important vitamins and nutrients (yay health!).

Did you know pumpkins have a large amount of vitamin A, fiber, beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant), potassium, vitamin C, and more? Now we can all feel good about our pumpkin-obsessions because they’re so good for us! Yes yes yes.

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If you have non-pumpkin loving friends and family, you should definitely still make this chili. I promise you really can’t taste the pumpkin! Pumpkin alone does not have a very strong flavor; it’s all of those strong fall spices that are usually added to pumpkin baked goods that make it stand out. Since this is a savory recipe, none of those spices are present. What does that mean for us? Nice, even flavored chili.

This recipe comes together very quickly. After you cook your meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer!), add all the other ingredients together in the crock pot. Let it cook all day, and when you come home you’ll be greeted with piping hot chili and a wonderful aroma.

Sound perfect? It pretty much is.

Then all that’s left to do is light a pumpkin candle (tell me I’m not alone), cozy up on the couch with a big bowl of this hearty stuff, and revel in autumn’s arrival!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin

1). Cook the ground meat and chopped onion in a large skillet until the meat is cooked through and the onion is soft.

2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Add the cooked meat and all the other ingredients. Stir to combine.

3). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 434 Carbs: 57g Fat: 8g Protein: 37g Fiber: 14g Points+: 11 Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches.

French dip sandwiches make me think of one of my dear college roommates. We used to frequent a popular sandwich chain on campus and she would always order the french dip sandwich. She introduced me to these delicious sandwiches and I was happy to find out they’re incredibly easy to make at home. In fact, your crock pot does almost all the work for you. Don’t you just love recipes like that?

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The ingredient list for this recipe is quite short: just the meat (well-trimmed, please!), low-sodium soy sauce and beef broth, garlic, worcestershire, and an onion! Combine it all in the slow cooker and let it cook low and slow alllllllll day. When you come home from work or running errands, you’ll be greeted with a lovely scent as you walk through the door, and dinner is almost ready to eat!

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I was shocked at how tender the meat was after cooking. I tested it with a fork and it literally completely fell apart. I hate shredding meat (unless it’s in the kitchenaid mixer!) so I was thrilled to eliminate that extra step. Grab whatever your preferred bread is and some cheese, make a sandwich, and panini press it! If you do not have a panini press, you could heat up a pan over medium heat and use a smaller pan to press the sandwich down. Either way, it’s important to make a panini out of the sandwich so everything sticks together easily.

And don’t forget about the sauce! According to my husband, the au jus is one of the best parts of the sandwich. Reserve some of the liquid in the crock pot for dipping the sandwiches. You can also remove the onions if you’d like. Either way, the au jus is what puts the “dip” in french dip sandwiches, so don’t leave it out!

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We both agreed the meat was incredibly tender and flavorful. I have made this recipe once before and I will be making it again! You may also be interested in my crock pot balsamic roast beef recipe–it can be turned into a french dip sandwich as well, but with more of a balsamic tang!

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 10-ounce can low-sodium, fat free beef broth
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard (I used grey poupon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2.5 pound chuck roast, very well trimmed of visible fat
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 sandwich rolls, split
  • 6 slices of cheese (provolone, swiss, or just your favorite)
1). Spray your crock pot with cooking spray for easy clean up. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic into the crock pot. Stir to combine. Slice the onion into thin rounds and add to the crock pot. Place the roast in the crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
2). Remove the roast from the crock pot and pull apart into smaller pieces. The meat should fall apart easily.
3). To assemble sandwiches: Preheat the panini press. Place meat on bread, then top with cheese and the remaining half of bread. Panini press it (or use the stovetop method described in the post) until golden-brown and melty. Serve with some of the au jus and enjoy!
Servings: about 6. Approximate nutritional information per serving (not including bread and cheese): Calories: 269 Carbs: 3g Fat: 10g Protein: 39g WWPoints+: 6
Recipe adapted from: http://fakeginger.com/?p=1614 

Crock Pot Greek Chicken (for pitas & salads!)

Like many of you southern readers, we’ve been snowed in the last couple days! Thankfully neither my husband nor I got stuck overnight in the horrendous traffic that ensued. Instead, we have thoroughly taken advantage of our snow days by building fires, baking these banana chocolate chip muffins, watching movies, and enjoying these easy Greek chicken pitas!

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To make the chicken, I threw it in the crock pot with chopped onion, garlic, and Greek seasoning. I made a homemade Greek seasoning blend and used only about 1/4 of it for this recipe, so I saved the rest for another use. (Tip: make sure to put it in a sealed container and label it with what type of seasoning it is and the date you made it!) After everything was cooked, I shredded the chicken in my kitchen aid mixer, but using 2 forks would work too. Here’s what it looked like after:

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This made a quite a bit of chicken, so if you have a big family you can rest assured there will be enough for everyone. And probably leftovers. But that’s a good thing, right?! Because it does make more than a couple servings, one day I piled some chicken on a Greek salad while my husband enjoyed it in a pita. Instead of dressing I used tzatziki sauce. So much flavor! Here’s my recipe for fat-free tzatziki sauce if you’re interested in trying it. You could also switch things up by using hummus as well. Play around with it and see what you like best! Add olives, feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, or any combination of those ingredients as you like.

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If you do NOT own a crock pot (or if you’re low on time), you can also make this by mixing the chopped chicken/onions with 1 tbsp EVOO and the seasoning in a baking dish. Bake it for about 40 minutes at 350F, like the picture below! This recipe is really versatile!

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Crock Pot Greek Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Greek seasoning

For the Greek seasoning (this makes MUCH more than you need; only use about 1/4 cup of this!):

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp onion pwder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp thyme
1). Mix together the seasoning ingredients. Reserve a scant 1/4 cup of seasoning.
2). Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Layer chopped onions, garlic, and chicken. Sprinkle evenly with seasoning and add water. Set on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
3). Once chicken is cooked, remove the chicken/onions from crock pot and shred chicken using 2 forks or my kitchen aid mixer method. Add some of the cooking juices to keep chicken moist.
4). Serve on pitas or on a Greek salad with tzatziki sauce or hummus. Enjoy!

Serving size: 4 oz shredded chicken. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 184 Carbs: 0g Fat: 3g Protein: 34g WWPoints+: 4
Recipes adapted from: http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/2013/06/clean-eat-recipe-make-your-own-greek.html 
Adapted recipe courtesy of Audreysapron.wordpress.com.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

If you are feeling under the weather or just trying to keep warm in this crazy winter we’re having, this crock pot chicken noodle soup is for you! It is hearty, chunky, and so much better than the canned version. I’ve made chicken noodle soup on the stove before, but this recipe came together one day when I was feeling sick, about to run out the door, AND had only a few hours before we needed to eat dinner. Enter the wonderful invention of the crock pot!

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For your convenience, I’ve included 2 ways to cook this soup. If you don’t have 6-7 hours to let the crock pot cook everything for you, you can speed up the process by sauteing the onions, carrots, and garlic in a small pan and then adding them to the crock pot along with the other ingredients. This will reduce your cook time to 3 hours on high. If time is not an issue, you can just throw it all in the crock pot and everything will be perfectly cooked and ready by the time you get home!

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I used brown rice pasta (which, surprisingly, my husband and I BOTH loved!), but you can use egg noodles or regular pasta. If you are gluten-free, you’ll obviously need to use some sort of gluten free noodle. The particular brand we enjoyed was De Boles Rice Plus with Golden Flax Spirals. They were awesome!

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Also, I should let you know…I really dislike celery in soups, so I didn’t include any. If you like it, feel free to chop some up and add it in!

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped (I used half a bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if sauteing vegetables first)
  • 3 – 15 oz cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed, finely crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice pasta for GF (or regular egg noodles)
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional-I didn’t have any)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional-I didn’t have any)

1). Spray crock pot with cooking spray.

2). To speed up cooking: in a medium skillet, heat the 1/2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic  and cook until soft. Otherwise, add to slow cooker (do not add oil).

3). Add the chicken, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Set on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

4). Once chicken is cooked, remove from crock pot and shred with two forks or with my kitchen-aid mixer method. Return the chicken to the crock pot.

5). Increase crock pot temperature to high. Add the pasta of your choosing to the crock pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice, if using.

Servings: about 6. Nutritional information per serving (this will vary depending on your brand of noodles): Calories: 242 Carbs: 30g Fat: 3g Protein: 23g Fiber: 1g WWPoints+:6

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/11/slow-cooker-chicken-noodle-soup/

Amazing Crock Pot BBQ Pork (Tenderloin)

Are you ready for the most flavorful, restaurant-quality crock pot bbq pork? Y’all, this recipe is unreal!!! AND easy!

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Many people put pork in the crock pot plain, then shred it and add bbq sauce. Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not. Is it the best method? Not quite. See, when you follow the aforementioned method, the meat relies solely on being slathered in bbq sauce for flavor. On its own, pork tenderloin is pretty bland. Still delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely needs a little something extra. That missing piece to the puzzle is a mixture of spices creating a dry rub! Here’s what they look like BEFORE being placed in the crock pot:

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Now, this can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerated; however, if you forget or don’t have time to put the meat in the fridge overnight, you can simply coat the pork in the spices right before placing them in the crock pot. I have made this both ways and both were equally successful and delicious. It seriously only takes a few minutes to take the extra step of mixing the dry rub together, but it makes a world of a difference in the finished product. By using a dry rub, you infuse the flavors into the meat, which means the meat has great flavor on its own. In turn, you’ll find you won’t need to use as much bbq sauce.

I use pork tenderloin for this recipe. Pork tenderloin is very lean and is a healthier choice than pork shoulder, but you could certainly use that if you prefer. We personally love the pork tenderloin! If you use 2 pork tenderloins as pictured above, you will have a lot of bbq! If you have a smaller family, you can actually freeze it in ziplock bags after you shred the meat for future use. Alternatively, you could just use one tenderloin!

Remember when I posted how to perfectly shred chicken using a Kitchen Aid mixer? I use that same trick with pork! It turns out perfect every time and is so much easier than using 2 forks. See?

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From here, place the pork on a plate (or bun) and drizzle with your favorite bbq sauce! One of my college roommates sent me a bottle of sauce from our favorite local restaurant where we went to college, so that’s what I used! Yum.

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Amazing Crock Pot BBQ Pork (Tenderloin!)

  • 2 pork tenderloins, washed, trimmed of any visible fat, and dried
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Cooking spray

For the dry rub:

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1. In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients. Evenly coat the pork tenderloins with the dry rub. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days. (You can also skip this altogether and place them directly into the crock pot to cook!)

2. Spray crock pot with cooking spray and add the pork tenderloins. Add 1/4 cup water and place the crock pot on low for about 6-7 hours, or until pork is tender.

3. Remove pork from crock pot and shred (using my kitchenaid mixer method or with two forks). Serve with preferred bbq sauce and enjoy!

Servings vary depending on the size of your pork tenderloins.

Nutritional information for 4 oz pork: Calories: 163 Fat: 4g Carbs: 0g Protein: 29.3g  WW PointsPlus: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.beantownbaker.com/2009/03/crockpot-pulled-pork.html 

Easy Crock Pot Spinach Dip

This spinach dip is the last of the “holiday foods” posts, and I had to share it with you today in case you’re looking for an easy appetizer for a New Year’s Eve party tomorrow night! I’ve made spinach dips before, but the fact that this one is in a crock pot really caught my attention. I’ve made it a couple times for various parties this season and it seems fail-proof! The only way you can mess this up is to leave it in the crock pot for 8 hours without stirring it. Don’t ask me how I know that to be true…

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Anyway, back to the recipe. Like the title suggests, this is EASY. Once you round up your ingredients, you combine them all in the crock pot and let the heat do the rest. It does take a few hours to get everything nice and melted, so make sure to give it a stir about every hour.

One important note: the milk measurement is an estimate. Start with 1 cup and feel free to add more if it’s too thick. Depending on how well you drained the spinach it may not require extra milk. It’s also a matter of personal preference as far as how runny you want your dip to be. And, if you add too much, don’t worry–it will likely get absorbed and/or evaporated via the heat of the crock pot anyway. Just remember you don’t want spinach soup! : ) This recipe is very resilient so feel free to play around with it!

Let’s take one more look at that gooe-y goodness! Yum.

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Easy Crock Pot Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 oz packet of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim) + more if necessary
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I bumped this up to 1/2 tsp for added kick!)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • cooking spray

1) Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Combine all the ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and set on low for 1 1/2 hours. Stir. Add additional milk if necessary (see post for details).

2) Cover and cook for an additional 1-2 hours, or until cheese is melted.

Recipe adapted from: http://crockpotladies.com/recipe-categories/dips/crockpot-warm-spinach-dip/

It’s very tricky to figure out exactly how many servings this makes, so I will not include an nutritional information on this post. But, as you can probably tell, this is not exactly “health food”, so consume in moderation! 

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

I haven’t posted a crock pot recipe in a while, and this one is perfect for the chilly temperatures we’re having! I love this recipe because it is easy, healthy, and filling (24g of protein per cup!). Plus, it makes enough to feed a small army–11 1-cup servings, to be exact. It would be a great freezer-friendly meal, too.

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This chili is not too spicy, so feel free to add some extra cayenne pepper to kick it up a notch if you’d like. Personally, I thought it had just the right amount of spice, but you could even add an extra half can of green chiles, which is where the heat comes from in this recipe. My husband added light sour cream and cheese to his bowl, but I found it perfect as is. I love how cooking this all day resulted in incredibly tender chicken. It literally falls apart when you shred it!

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Other than the one additional step of sauteing the onions and garlic together (which I don’t think you should skip!), this meal involves very little prep/clean up. Always an added bonus!

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, raw
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced no salt added tomatoes, fire roasted or regular, OR 1 lbs. fresh, chopped
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans Great Northern beans (or whatever you have on hand), low sodium and/or organic
  • 1 (4 ounce) can fire roasted green chiles
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups reduced sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

1). Heat the 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Place the tomatoes in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, beans, chiles, and cooked onion/garlic mixture. Stir to combine.
3). Cook for 6-8 hours on low (or 4-5 hours on high…but I like letting the flavors meld together longer so I suggest cooking on low!)
4). Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or other spices. Serve as is or with light sour cream/cheese (optional). Enjoy!

Servings: 11 1-cup servings. Nutritional Information per 1 cup: Calories: 191 Carbs: 14g Fat: 3g Protein: 24g Fiber: 4g WW Points+: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-slow-cooker-white-chicken-chili/

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

This fall I found out making homemade apple sauce in the crock pot is easy! A cinnamon stick, apples, and sugar (optional) are all you need to make this recipe. The crock pot does all the work for you (well, except for chopping the apples!). A nice perk is that your house will smell like cinnamon and apples as it cooks away. I just love crock pot recipes, don’t you? (P.S. If you haven’t checked out my crock pot apple butter recipe, click here!)

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You will want to adjust the amount of cinnamon/sugar you use depending on your apples. I used apples I picked myself but they were very, very tart, so I did have to add about 1/2 cup sugar to the batch. If your apples are sweeter, however, there may not be a need for sugar at all. For this reason, you may want to wait and add the sugar AFTER the apples cook down.

Did I mention you can double this recipe for a larger quantity or even half it for a small batch? This recipe is SO versatile I hesitate to even call it a recipe! Feel confident to adjust it any which way you like! After the apples cook down for about 6 hours, you can take a whisk or immersion blender to the apples to make the apple sauce smooth, or you can leave it chunky. Be sure to taste and add more cinnamon or sugar. It should look something like this when it’s done:

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Ready to be jarred and used in delicious recipes, given away to family and friends, or just eaten as is!

Everything is better homemade, am I right?? The answer is yes. 🙂 Enjoy!

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 10 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (white or brown will work. You may want to wait and add this after the apples cook down unless they are very tart!)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

1) Spray your crock pot with cooking spray for easy clean up. Add the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and sugar (or add sugar at the end).

2) Set crock pot to low for about 6 hours (this can vary depending on your crock pot), stirring occasionally. Blend with immersion blender for a very smooth apple sauce.

3) Taste and add more sugar and cinnamon, as needed. Allow to cool before refrigerating.

Recipe courtesy of Audreysapron.wordpress.com.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

One of my favorite fall activities is going apple picking. My good friend and I recently made the 90 minute trip up to the local orchards to pick apples, and I used a large portion of those apples to make this fabulous recipe. Did you know you can make apple butter effortlessly in the crock pot? The only time-consuming part is slicing the apples, but if you have one of those peel/slice/core machines it doesn’t take long at all! If you don’t have one, you really should get one…they are amazing!

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Back to the recipe. All you have to do is combine sliced apples with some spices and sugar, and the crock pot does the rest. It cooks down so well that in the morning all it takes is just a quick swirl of a fork or whisk and the apples completely disintegrate into a jam-like consistency. The worst part about this recipe is having to wait 12 hours for the final product. But the best part of this recipe, other than the delicious apple butter,…

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…It makes your ENTIRE house smell like a holiday candle. I let this cook overnight and we woke up to the most amazing autumnal smell of cooked apples and cinnamon.

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This recipe makes a lot of apple butter, which is perfect because you can freeze apple butter to have year round or give it to friends in a cute jar as a gift. Mine made 11 cups!! We love having homemade apple butter at our disposal year round. We seem to use it often on top of homemade breakfast items such as biscuits, pancakes, french toast, muffins, etc. If you are really feeling bold, toss a spoonful of it into a milkshake. My husband makes himself milkshakes all the time and does this. It tastes like apple pie!

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An important note about this recipe: it is easily adaptable and you should feel completely comfortable tweaking it to your taste. I suggest starting with the recipe below and adjusting from there. You will want to add more sugar based on the tartness of the apples you use, and you may want a stronger flavored apple butter. I always taste the apple butter after the initial 9-11 hour cooking window and add more spices then. Also, I have used various types of freshly picked apples in the past and it has always turned out amazing!

It is October, fall is here, and you MUST make this recipe!

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 lbs of apples (about 15 for me), peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 2-2 3/4  cups of sugar (add more if you have very tart apples…I usually start with less sugar and add more if needed)
  • 2 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Place chopped apples in the crock pot and combine with sugar and spices. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

2. Cook on low for 9-11 hours (I always do this overnight). It should be dark brown and thickened. Uncover and cook on low (I sometimes kick this up to high) for 1 hour or longer until thickened to desired consistency.

3. Allow to cool; place in containers. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Serving size: 2 tbsp. Nutritional Information per 2 tbsp: Calories: 31 Carbs: 8g Fat: 0g Protein: 0g Sugar: 8g Fiber: 1g

WW PointsPlus: 1

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/all-day-apple-butter-2/detail.aspx

Crock Pot Baked Beans (No-Soak!)

A couple months ago I refused to follow the typical recipe instructions of soaking dried beans overnight and successfully made delicious pinto beans in my crock pot. This week I decided to use the same principle. I rebelled against the overnight soaking directions and made baked beans in the crock pot. I actually had never made baked beans (the ones in the can seemed to do the trick until now!) and I wanted to make them from scratch for a cookout.

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I learned a few things through this process:

1) Truly, you do not have to soak dried beans overnight if you are cooking them in the crock pot.

2) You really do have to put bacon in baked beans for them to taste right. I think I have only purchased bacon twice in my entire life.

3) There’s a lot of sugar in baked beans and if you attempt to eliminate those sugary ingredients, they don’t taste right.

4) You will seriously waste your time if you soak your beans overnight (see lesson #1). I tried them both ways and the cooking time was, surprisingly, the same.

Aside from not needing to soak the beans, I was most amazed at how much cheaper it was to make my own batch of baked beans than to buy cans of them. This is especially true for feeding a large crowd (which we were).

We had some leftover and a quick Google search led me to the realization that you can actually freeze baked beans in Ziplock bags! So, if you have some leftover, feel free to freeze them.

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The final product was soft (but not mushy) beans, covered with a thick, sweet, smokey sauce. We were really pleased with the results and I would definitely make them again!

This recipe is perfect for the upcoming holiday and cookouts!

Crock Pot Baked Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag white navy beans
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup or molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 1/2 cups of hot water (may need to add more depending on your crock pot)

1) Spray your crockpot with cooking spray for easy clean up later. In a medium bowl, combine molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, bbq sauce, dijon mustard, cloves, and hot water. Whisk to combine.

2) Place beans at the bottom of your crock pot. Add the chopped onions and bacon. Pour the sauce mixture on top and stir to combine.

3) Cook on HIGH for 8 hours. Check on them after about 3 or 4 hours to see if you need to add water. You don’t want them to burn!

Servings: 18 1/2 cup servings.

Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 148 Carbs: 29g Fat: 1g Protein: 6g Sugar: 15g Fiber: 6g

WW PointsPlus: 3 Old points: 2

Recipe adapted from: http://lmld.org/2013/06/03/slow-cooker-baked-beans/