One of my 2016 goals is to use my slow cooker at least once every week for this year. I’m deeming this year “A Slow Cooker Year,” and plan to share some of the recipes I have been making throughout the year with you. I hope it inspires you to dust off that old Crockpot and try a new recipe or two. If you’d like to learn a little more about A Slow Cooker Year, click here.
Phew, time flies when you’re having fun! Right?! It’s been 8 full weeks of slow cooker meals since my last post and I haven’t missed a week. Feeling pretty proud of myself for keeping up at least one New Year’s resolution (but not too proud, because I’m not even going to talk about the weight I’ve, um, “lost”).
Alright, here we go…weeks 12-19!
Week 12 :: Korean Beef. My friend, Jenny, makes this incredible Korean short rib dish and since she was in town I had the bright idea to attempt to make a slow cooker version of her recipe. It bombed. Mainly because I had the bright idea to marinate the beef overnight and use a different cut of meat. Again, bombed. Thankfully, Jenny missed dinner and didn’t get to eat any so I saved myself some embarrassment. (But I’m sorry to my husband and child who had to power through our dinner…what champs!) It was my first crockpot fail, but now I know. Know to let Jenny be the only one to make this dish for me.
Week 13 :: Chili Chicken Chowder. I’ve been dreaming of this soup since I made it a few weeks earlier so I had to make some more. My goal was to freeze most of it, but we ended up eating pretty much all of it instead. Next time. Well, maybe.
Week 14 :: Slow Cooker Meatloaf by CincyShopper.com. My husband loves him some meatloaf, and since my slow cooker dish the other week was a little rough, I needed something that would win him over again. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it looked tasty enough, so I gave it a whirl. I realized as I was making it that the potatoes I had were no good anymore, so I improvised and added carrots and onions instead. Two thumbs up from the husband, and I will definitely be making this again. Hopefully with potatoes next time.
Week 15 :: Garlic Chicken. This week was a very special week, it was my daughter’s first birthday. So we celebrated her first year of life and our first year surviving parenthood with a big backyard shindig with lots of family and friends. Chicken tacos were on the menu and I might have borrowed another crockpot and quadrupled this recipe to feed this hungry crowd. I threw in some homemade salsa, my dad’s famous guacamole, and beans and it was a party. Thankfully everyone left well fed.
Week 16 :: Vanilla Bean Tapioca Pudding. My parents were in town and my dad was making his homemade Chicago deep dish pizza and I volunteered to make dessert. I thought I would give my slow cooker another try with dessert and, since both my dad and I love tapioca pudding, it was a no brainer. Check out the recipe below!
Week 17 :: Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce by The Food Charlatan. Oh my, this was real good. This recipe was another Pinterest find and, as most things on Pinterest, the photo drew me in. But this recipe was more than a pretty photo, it was pretty delicious too. I made this exactly as the recipe is written, except I used boneless chicken thighs. Next time I might try it with chicken breasts, since I’m not a huge dark meat fan (although my husband might fight me on this). Nevertheless, this will definitely be made again.
Week 18 :: Slow Cooker French Dip Panini by Good Life Eats. I’m always a sucker for French dip sandwiches. If it’s on the menu, there is a good chance I will be ordering it. So I thought, why not make some at home? This recipe sounded tasty, but instead of using her entire recommendations for a panini, I went all domestic and made myself some homemade bread to go with the beef and au jus. I might have outdone myself. But this was good, real good.
Week 19 :: Beef & Broccoli by Table for Two. For some reason on our last trip to Costco, I bought a humongous bag of fresh broccoli florets. Maybe I was making it for my lack of harvesting broccoli in my winter garden this past year? But I needed a recipe that would use up some of that broccoli before it went bad, and this sounded perfect. The flavor of this recipe was really good and I will probably make it again, but I will definitely only cook it for about 4 hours instead of 6 next time because the meat was more like barbacoa than what I know this dish to be.
Oh pudding, how I love you. I could probably eat pudding every day. Seriously, I’m not kidding. My favorites are chocolate, tapioca, and pistachio. Again, every single day. I want some right now just thinking about it.
My dad loves pudding too, and tapioca pudding is his favorite. So when he announced that he was making us his homemade Chicago-style deep dish pizza, I thought what better than to make tapioca pudding for dessert?
On a side note, you might think I get my love of cooking from my dad given the mention of guacamole and pizza, but he didn’t start doing any sort of cooking until my parents moved to Colorado a few years ago. In fact, when I was younger we banned him from using anything hot in the kitchen. Something about scrambled eggs and my brother’s hand…but that is another story for another day.
Since I’ve never actually made tapioca pudding, I scoured the internet and settled on starting with this slow cooker tapioca recipe I found on Allrecipes. I did change it up a bit so below is my version of the recipe below.
One of the biggest things to note though is that this recipe tastes best when it is still warm. I mean, it’s good after it has been refrigerated, but warm is just to die for. So trust me, and don’t wait too long to eat this delicious treat. Hope you enjoy as much as my dad and I did!
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