What’s for Dinner | Crock Pot Time!

My sweetheart came home on Wednesday night so I was able to use the crock pot a little bit more this week. It’s hard motivating myself to cook in the crock pot just for myself….even though it’s very easy. My crock pot doesn’t have an auto-off feature and even though it goes to “warm” after a certain amount of hours, I’m still a little worried when I leave it on all day not knowing what time I’ll be able to leave work. I am sure it’s perfectly safe, but I’ve come home with extremely dried up chicken and I haven’t wanted to ruin my meat again like that. It would be better if you could program it to start at a certain time so if you want it to cook for 8 straight hours, you could tell it when you wanted to start. … I’m sure they make those but we got ours on clearance at Target and we weren’t ready to spend a whole lot on it… ūüôā

So what did I cook? I went to my Crock Pot pin board and picked out two recipes that didn’t require a lot of shopping. First, I did a really simple Beef Stroganoff from Spicy Richmond. This Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff only asked for 4 ingredients, which I had one of already and I opted out for another one, so it was really my 3-ingredient strog.!

  • 2 cans Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can mushroom stems and pieces (this is what I skipped…. I don’t love lots of shrooms….)
  • 1 lb beef stew chunks
  • 8 oz sour cream

My favorite part of this recipe? You just throw it all in the pot, turn it on, and let it cook while you’re gone. I cooked egg noodles and served it over those when I got home from work.

I was pretty happy with the way it turned out!

My next adventure in the crock pot was Creamy Tortellini Soup from Better Homes and Gardens. I haven’t done much with Tortellini since I started cooking more, but I sure love it! So I was excited to buy the ingredients for this one (didn’t require a lot of shopping) and cook it up.

This is what you’ll need to make this soup:

  • 1¬†2-oz envelope¬†white sauce mix (I used alfredo mix because I couldn’t find “white sauce mix”)
  • 4¬†cups¬†water
  • 1¬†14-oz can¬†vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2¬†cups¬†sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†chopped onion
  • 3¬†cloves garlic, minced (I just threw in some garlic salt since we were all out of garlic!)
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon¬†dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/8¬†teaspoon¬†cayenne pepper
  • 1¬†8-oz package¬†dried cheese tortellini (about 2 cups)
  • 1¬†12-oz can¬†evaporated milk
  • 6¬†cups¬†fresh baby spinach leaves or torn spinach (I left this out this time)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Even with a few substitutions and things I decided not to put in, this soup turned out delicious. Very creamy and quite filling, but my husband and I really liked it!

my tortellini soup

What’s for Dinner| Starch is such a weakness

I’m not a picky eater at all but I can easily get tired of the same old very quickly. I like learning how to cook new things and bravely trying out new recipes. I used to hate when my mom went off the beaten path and tried an obscure recipe we had never had before at home, but now that I’ve got my own kitchen, I’m quickly becoming like her. I am especially brave when I’m the only one eating, so tonight, I revved up my computer and started looking at recent pins on my food board. Starch after starch after starch showed up, and it was all covered in cheese. Wow, I’m such a pasta, cheese, and potato lover!

I found a few recipes that looked awesome and then went to the fridge and cupboard. Three bags of little red potatoes and box after box of pasta. Well, I guess that’s a sign! I decided to make two recipes, no matter how unhealthy they both are.

1. Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken

2. Parmesan Red Potatoes

All you need for the red potatoes is here:

Ingredients for Parm. Red Potatoes

Garlic, potatoes, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

For the Fettuccine Alfredo you’ll need:

  • 1 pound¬†fettuccine
  • 3/4 cup¬†heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons¬†unsalted¬†butter
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†finely grated¬†Parmesan cheese¬†(about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon¬†freshly ground¬†black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†kosher salt, plus more as needed
Since it was just me tonight, I split the recipe in half and still had tons of extra. Follow Chow.com’s good instructions for putting this together.
I jumped right into both recipes at the same time but right then, one of my good friends I hadn’t talked to in while called and I answered (thank you, iPhone headset!). ¬†I stirred and flipped the potatoes, and boiled the water for the noodles, and cooked the noodles, and mixed up the alfredo sauce…. and talked and talked….
About 10mins too late I took the noodles out of the pan to drain them and they were pretty gooey. Yeah, I left them in double the time they needed, but it was all okay. They tasted fine, but they were stickier than necessary.
The potatoes took a little while to get soft, but they got crispy quickly. Just pay attention to them if you try this recipe. It’s super easy and requires very little prep time (just slice the potatoes!) but don’t get on a long phone call when you’re cooking them.
Cooking the potatoes

Why did I pick two recipes with Parmesan cheese? Well, because it’s delicious and I will enjoy all the leftovers! Both of these recipes were good. I’ve had better potatoes for sure but the Fettuccine was awesome. The noodles could have used less cook time and ¬†just a bit more sauce, but I didn’t follow the recipe that closely since I halved it. I also added chicken to my noodles which probably absorbed a lot of the sauce. However, for a night to try out some new recipes: Delicious and fun! What are some of your favorite meals to cook?

Finished Parmesan Red Potatoes

Fettuccine Chicken Alfredo