Category Archives: Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

Valentine’s Day Dinner: Heirloom Chili Recipe

So I was thinking about Valentine’s Day last week and thought at the time I would be working two jobs with little time to cook – and honestly, who wants to cook on Valentine’s Day? At the same time, delivery pizza seemed like a cop-out.

And then it hit me: chili in the crockpot.

Valentine's Day Chili

A few weeks ago, I made my great-grandfather Czarnecki’s recipe for chili and the family loved it. When I talked to my mom, she reminded me that there was a secret ingredient missing from the cookbook, and I knew I had to make it again soon.

So tomorrow, I’ll be whipping up a pot of this fabulous dish and promptly forgetting about it until it’s time to serve. Expect a full blog post with pictures to follow.


  • 1 lb. lean beef
  • 1 clove of garlic (substitute 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or 1/2 tsp. minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (about half of a medium onion)
  • 2 cups red beans (1 lb. can)
  • 2 cups peeled tomatoes (1 lb. can)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon “Accent” (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 can beef gravy (10 oz. can)
  • 1 square baker’s chocolate (or other >60% cocoa chocolate, approximately 1/2 oz.)

Brown beef in pan and chop as it cooks. Add onion and cook until onion is transparent. Add all ingredients to crockpot (5 quart or larger) including liquid from beans and tomatoes. If desired, smash the tomatoes as they cook. Cook on low about 8 hours or high about 4 hours or until chili is thick. Makes enough chili to serve 5-6 in 5-quart crockpot.


  • Serve chili over elbow noodles (or other small pasta)
  • Mix in crumbled cornbread or scalloped corn
  • Top with sour cream or cheese (in Wisconsin, we do both)

Feel free to join me in making chili, or comment with what you’ll be making for Valentine’s Day dinner!


Slow Cooked Pork Chops

Slow Cooked Pork Chops

Source: I’m not sure where I got this recipe from, but I’ll be sure to attribute when I remember.

I like pork chops, but I don’t always have a grill or a big enough baking pan. I’m a huge fan of this recipe that almost guarantees fall-off-the-bone tasty chops from a crock pot.

Season pork chops.

Spice pork chops with salt and pepper. Or just garlic powder and pepper. In large quantities.

Dredged pork chops in flour.

Dredge in flour. It’s okay to use your fingers to get the flour to stick.

Pan fry pork chops.

Heat the pan with a little oil and add pork chops to hot oil. Cook until browned on both sides.

An onion. Finally, something that isn't pork chops!

Find an onion.

No fingers were harmed in the slicing of this onion.

Slice the onion.

It's coming together!

Layer the pork chops and onions in the crock pot.

Ready to cook all night. Or day. Or...just several hours.

Pour chicken broth or water with dissolved bouillon cubes over pork chops. (If I was really making this like Dad, I would have used homemade chicken broth or vegetable stock, but I didn’t have any made at the time.)

Cover and cook. Remove pork chops carefully — they will be tender and likely fall apart! Mix flour and sour cream, then mix with remaining sauce. Turn up the heat and stir until thickened.

At last! Slow Cooked Pork Chops.

Serve with egg noodles or rice and veggie of choice.

My recipe:

  • 3 to 4 thick pork chops
  • salt/pepper
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ½ c flour
  • 2 t oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 T flour

Season pork with spices. Dredge meat in flour. In a skillet, brown meat in oil. Place pork chops in crock pot and top with onions. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour over meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove meat and keep warm. Turn crock up to high. Stir flour and sour cream together so that the flour doesn’t clump in the hot juice. Stir into meat juices and cook until slightly thickened. Serve over rice or egg noodles and with veggies.

Slow Cooked Santa Fe Chicken

Recipe from chef-in-training and skinnytaste.

This could be titled the easiest slow cooker recipe in the world. Its basic ingredients are chicken, black beans, tomatoes with chilies, and corn. Did I mention it’s also cheap?

I made this one before, straight up, and got rave reviews from our company and my husband. But this time around, I decided to make it the way Dad would.


Note the additional ingredients — mostly spices.


Drain the cans and put all ingredients except chicken in the crock pot or slow cooker. I didn’t drain the cans and found that there was just too much liquid. You could also omit the chicken broth and add enough water to cover the chicken instead.


Add chicken. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10. The longer it cooks, the more tender the chicken will become.


I opted not to shred the chicken and instead serve it whole.


No need to serve with additional veggies. This is a one-dish meal!


Serve with wine, if so desired.

This was for our six-month anniversary, so we served our favorite wines (Easley’s Orchestra Red and Easley’s Pink Catamba) in our wedding goblets, but it works just as well as a casual dish to feed a crowd.

My recipe:

  • 1 ½ lb. chicken (3-4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 8 oz. frozen corn
  • 1 (14.4 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. EACH garlic powder, Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning or other chicken/fish blend, and Penzeys Arizona Dreaming (substitute cayenne pepper or other spicy blend)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except chicken in crock pot. Lay chicken on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6.

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