My All-Time Top 3 Crockpot Recipes

Hello world!

This is my FIRST official post on OurFullPlate.com! It is so scary and exciting all at the same time. I have been talking about this site for a few months now and everyone I have told about my new venture has been nothing but supportive.  So… THANK YOU ALL from the bottom of my heart! I hope you not only learn something from me but also share recipes, tips, and ideas too with me (and any other crazy followers).

So here goes…

Ok so I thought long and hard about what my first blog was going to be about and after many ideas I kept going back to CROCK POTTING! I won’t go as far as calling me the Betty Crocker of Crock Potting but I LOVE the crock pot THAT much that I seriously would consider changing my name if the price is right of course. My preference for crock potting is healthy and easy!  So without further ado, my first blog post is my All-Time Top 3 Crock Pot Recipes that you can find on my dinner table at least several  times a month.

  1. A Cubana’s Mexican Style Pork Tenderloin
  2. Italian Meatballs=Heaven
  3. Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken

A Cubana’s Mexican Style Pork Tenderloin

My first ever crock pot meal which is a staple in my home was adopted from my good friend, Christine. Actually it was Christine who bought me the crock pot that I still use today. So thank you Christine for making me the avid crock potter that I am today!

 

My All-Time Top 3 Crockpot Recipes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This was my first crock pot meal I ever made. After that meal I never looked back. Everyone I make this for loves it!
Author:
Recipe type: Crock Pot
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 Pork tenderloin
  • 1-2 cans of black beans (I love love love beans so I always use 2. I use the Goya Black Bean soup cans because it gives the meal more flavor than the ordinary black bean varieties)
  • 1 can of salsa (I use the Goya Pico de Gallo)
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 red onion chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • To serve/ garnish:
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro
  • Cheese (I use a pepper jack and shred it over the meal)
Instructions
  1. Place the pork tenderloin at the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Dump all the ingredients on top of the pork.
  3. Set it and forget it. Cook on low for 8-10 hours and you are done! If you take it out early and the pork won’t easily shred keep it in longer. Trust me. The longer you cook pork tenderloin the easier it is to shred. Don’t fear it will dry out; it won’t I promise. If you put pork tenderloin in the crock pot frozen, just put it on high for about 6 hours and it should still shred by the end. If not do as I mentioned above: cook until it shreds easily with a fork. It is very hard to mess up anything in the crock pot, trust me. Pork tenderloin is very forgiving. This was my first crock pot meal I ever made. After that meal I never looked back.

 

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin Ingredients

All the Ingredients

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin ingredients step 1

First “dump” of all the ingredients in the crockpot

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin half way of cooking process

Cubana’s Mexican Pork Tenderloin half way through cooking process

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin half way of cooking process

See how easily the pork tenderloin shreds with a touch of a spoon

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin shredded

All shredded

Cubana Mexican Pork Tenderloin with garlic cauliflower lime "rice"

The Final Product with with garlic cauliflower lime “rice”

Yummy garlic cauliflower lime "rice"

No grain, Yummy garlic cauliflower lime “rice”

Sides:

Traditionally, I serve this meal usually over short grain brown rice but lately Casa Cross is kicking off a new no grain lifestyle (not DIET) so now I serve the pork over Chipotle style cauliflower lime and garlic rice! Yum! Recipe to follow soon! (I can’t give it all to you; I need to give you a reason to come back)

Whatever you decide to serve the pork over, don’t forget to put chopped fresh cilantro and cheese and enjoy!

“Italian Meatballs=Heaven”

Ok this meal is hands down my favorite crock pot recipe in my repertoire right now. My family loves it and can’t get enough of these yummy meatballs. My friend, Marilyn, made it for me in January when I was at Army Training at Ft. Huachuca and I have not stopped making it since then. Julian, my 22 month old, can seriously eat 4 of these yummy meatballs in one sitting on his own so it is truly both a kid and adult crowd pleaser. Marilyn found this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking. (By the way, BEST website EVER if you are looking for new crock potting ideas). My favorite part about the recipe is the sauce. Seriously the sauce is two ingredients: tomato paste and broth. I recently used a store bought tomato sauce for another recipe I made and I couldn’t believe how sugary jarred sauce is compared to this wonderful and simple “sauce.” After this recipe, you may never buy another jar of Ragu or Prego sauce again.

My adaptation for this recipe is when I prepare this recipe I make enough to feed an Army.  Yes you read it correctly, an Army. I literally quadruple the recipe and then divide the meatballs into 3 gallon freezer bags (remember my boys are small but they can E-A-T so I rather have 3 “bigger” portions than 4 little ones). The reason I do this is because if I am ever in a pinch during the week and I have no dinner planned (yes I am not perfect hate to break it to you), I can take a bag of these yummy meatballs out of the freezer, dump it in the crock pot, make the quick and easy sauce and viola, I have a yummy meatball dinner waiting for me. Please note, if you want to prepare this meal for the day of, just take one of the servings and put in freezer for 2-3 hours before you place it in the crock pot to cook. The meatballs need to be somewhat frozen to help hold it’s shape in the crock pot.

So below I wrote down the measurements for the original recipe and then for my Army super sized/ “save the day” portion.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1 cup) chopped Italian Parsley
1.5 (6 lbs) pounds lean ground beef (I always use 90-96%)
4 slices (16 slices/ 1 package) of smoked raw bacon, diced (I tried using turkey bacon once and it was good but not the same as the good stuff. And in my opinion if you are using lean meat I think you can splurge on the real bacon)
1/4 (1 cup) cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 (1 cup) cup Panko-style breadcrumbs
2 eggs (8 eggs)
2 tablespoons (8 TBL) dried minced onion flakes
1 tablespoon (4 TBL) garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 tsp) kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 tsp) ground black pepper

Additional ingredients used during preparation:
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour to roll out the meatballs)

Additional ingredients used for each gallon size bag you make and put into your crock pot:
2 cups chicken broth (I use warm water and half a bouillon cube)
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

Directions:

In the biggest mixing bowl you have, combine the chopped parsley, ground beef and diced bacon. Add in Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and the dried spices and COMBINE WELL. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

After the meat is mixed thoroughly, roll meat into golf size balls and then roll the meatballs into the whole wheat flour. What I did was just pile them all up on my cutting board and then divide them into your gallon size bags and put into the freezer for a rainy (or busy) day! Again, if you want to make the meal the day of just put one serving in the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours before putting it in the crock pot. If you are saving them for a rainy day then keep the meatballs in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to cook the meatballs, place the frozen meatballs in your crock pot, then mix the 2 cups of broth with the tomato paste and pour over the meatballs and cook for 8 hours on low. Prepare to be wowed!

Meatballs=Heaven All ingredients

Meatballs=Heaven All the ingredients to include 6lbs of ground beef

Meatballs=Heaven ingredients all ready to be mixed

Meatballs=Heaven ingredients all ready to be mixed

Meatballs=Heaven not being afraid to get hands dirty

Not being afraid to get hands dirty

Meatballs=Heaven  getting dirty with it

Getting “dirty with it”

Meatballs=Heaven ready to roll

Ready to roll

Meatballs=Heaven step 1 of rolling

Step 1 of rolling

Meatballs=Heaven step 2 roll in WW flour

Step 2 roll in Whole Wheat flour

Meatballs=Heaven it's all in the wrists

It’s all in the wrists

Meatballs=Heaven all rolled out

All 6lbs= 60+ of meatball heaven

Meatballs=Heaven ready to freeze

Divided into 3 gallon size freezer bags and ready to freeze

Meatballs=Heaven frozen and ready to save the day

Frozen and ready to save the day

Meatballs=Heaven Frozen Bag

Frozen Bag

Meatballs=Heaven Single serving

Meatballs=Heaven Single serving Ingredients

Meatballs=Heaven making the sauce

Meatballs=Heaven making the sauce

Meatballs=Heaven in crockpot

Meatballs=Heaven in the crockpot she goes

Meatballs=Heaven ready to cook

Ready to cook (this picture is two servings in 1 crockpot)

Italian Meatballs=Heaven All cooked

Meatballs after simmering all day

Options for all diets

Options for all eaters; yummy meatballs with whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash “noodles”

Italian Meatballs doesn't get any better than this

Life doesn’t get any better than this

With my favorite ingredient

Healthy Crock Pot Meatballs with my favorite ingredient, CHEESE!

Sides:

I started off by serving these meatballs over whole wheat pasta (whatever you have penne, spaghetti, shells, etc) but again since our no grain diet lifestyle change I have been serving it over spaghetti squash and seriously it is so so good! Jackson calls it “special yellow noodles.” In the future post, I will consolidate all of my favorite grain substitutions (veggies) for a later post but for this particular side all you have to do is buy spaghetti squash (any size but I always try to buy the biggest I can), cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place the squash flesh/ meet down on a cookie sheet and put in the over at 400 degrees for 1 hour and then done! When you take out the squash, take a fork and rake the squash out and you will be left with a stringy yummy goodness.

I also serve it with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken

Disclaimer:
Pesto is a such a great spread and should be incorporated in many meals. It may have a lot of fat but I promise you it is good fats.  News flash people: good fat is good for you!

Ingredients:

1 pack of chicken breast (with the fat cut off)
1 cup of pesto
1 package of dried sun dried tomatoes (I used the ones in oil once and it made the dish really oily with the pesto so if you use the ones soaked in oil please strain)
1 can of artichoke hearts (drained)
1 can of fat free cream of celery (used to give it a little creamier consistency)
½ to 1 cup of peas (the more veggies the better)

Directions:

I usually place the chicken first on the bottom of the crock pot, then the cream of celery, and followed by your pees, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. The last touch is the pesto. Then cook for 8 hours on low.

Pesto and Sundried Tomato Tuscana Chicken Ingredients

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken Ingredients

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken Step 1 ingredients

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken Step 1 combining all ingredients

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken storing in fridge

If you are short on time in the morning make your dish at night and then throw it in the fridge overnight

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken all done

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken at the end of cooking

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken served with WW noodles and sauteed spinach

The final product with Whole Wheat Noodles and Sauteed Spinach, sides for all!

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken with sauteed spinach

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken with Sauteed Spinach

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Tuscana Chicken with the finishing touch

Why I can’t be 100% Paleo…Cheese! It’s a sin not to eat it!

Sides:

I serve this too over whatever whole wheat pasta I have but again if you are “no graining it” serve it over sauteed garlic spinach. Yum! Again recipe to follow in a future post I am working on that has all yummy vegetable substitutions for grains. I also top it off with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.  (Do you notice a pattern? I LOVE cheese)

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16 Responses to “My All-Time Top 3 Crockpot Recipes”

  1. JessicaJuly 10, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    wonderful recipes, can’t wait to try!

  2. ChristineJuly 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks for the yummy recipes. I can’t wait to try out the Tuscana chicken recipe tomorrow in my crock pot!

  3. JulieJuly 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    I can’t wait to try all 3!! I’m inspired…my slowcooker/crockpot is still in the box! I’ll open it asap!

  4. amyJuly 11, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    Love!

  5. JaniceJuly 11, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    Every dinner at your house has always been such a treat -delicious and healthy!! My son certainly did NOT marry a girl who cooks like his Mom!! I know I have to fight Julian for those meatballs! Now, maybe even I can do it! I love the way you showed step by step with pictures. I love this blog – you are my superwoman!!

  6. DonnaJuly 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Way to make me hungry, Laura! But this came right on time: I just bought a whole bunch of groceries this weekend and realized that I didn’t want to cook any of it! So, I’m pullin’ out ye old crock pot, so dinner will be ready by the time I get home. Can’t wait to try the meatballs.

  7. Sarah EcclestonNovember 9, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Laura,

    I made extra for the freezer, not as many as you mentioned in your recipe but I did freeze several. Something I will change for next time. I used Moose meat from Russ’ big hunt last month. We have tons, and I refuse to buy beef; we have 70 pounds of moose burger in the freezer. Anywho, I think the “gamey” flavor threw off the meat balls a little. I am excited to try them with the spaghetti squash, I bought on just for this but then didn’t plan/read ahead and realized an hour to cook was not going to happen. The sauce was surprising good, who would have thought tom paste and chix broth.

    It’s a keeper with the right meat.

    Sarah.

  8. BenNovember 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I think you should separate these recipes so I can save the meatball recipe in my recipe book.

  9. AmyJuly 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    We’re a gluten free family. Would almond flour work instead of the whole wheat flour in the meatball recipe?

  10. Randomly FascinatedMay 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Have you made a grain free version of the chicken dish? What do you use in place of the cream of soup now? It maybe helpful for some to note these kind of substitutions in your grain free notes 🙂

    • LauraJune 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Yes! This was my FIRST EVER post on OurFullplate and I will definetely update the non grain portions. For the Chicken dish I would sub coconut milk (full fat from the can) for the cream of chicken! Thanks.

  11. AllyssaOctober 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Do you have the measurements for the Chicken?

    • LauraNovember 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      2lbs of chicken!!

  12. JenJanuary 24, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    Do you add any liquid to the pork recipe?

    • LauraJanuary 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

      No Jen! Plenty of juices come from the pork during the cooking process. Hapoy cooking!

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