Summer

All Seasons, Asian, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Asian Beef and Broccoli

A bit of a twist on a popular Chinese dish, which is typically made with sirloin strips, this slow cooker version uses more economical and fuss-free lean ground beef. This is a staple for my family on Tuesday piano practice night when we come in late and need dinner in a hurry. I prepare my rice in a rice cooker just before we leave and keep it on warm for our return.

All Seasons, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Main, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Picadillo, Cuban-Style

Being transplanted to Tampa over 20 years ago has opened my eyes to the culinary wonders of Cuban food: black beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), café con leche, and this dish, Picadillo. Tampa’s Cuban community originated in the late 1800s in what is now Ybor City, named after its founder, Vicente Martinez Ybor, and continues to be a huge cultural and culinary influence on the City of Tampa.

I found this history of picadillo from Tampa’s Junior League, a philanthropic and social organization that, among other things, is famous for its locally-based cookbooks, which have graced Tampa kitchen counters since 1961: The name comes from the Spanish word “picar,” meaning “to chop” or “to mince,” and it seems that many Latin American countries have their own twist on the basic ground beef recipe. In Mexico, it’s sweetened with honey, giving it a teriyaki-like taste. In Puerto Rico, it is used as the filling for empanadas and can include cheese, ham and rum-soaked raisins. In the Dominican Republic, picadillo can include hard-boiled egg and a bouillon cube. The Cuban version is a balance of sweet-salty due to the pimento-stuffed olives, capers, vinegar and raisins.

All Seasons, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Lamb, Main, Middle Eastern, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Wash Day Stew

In Iran it is typical to prepare this dish when it is wash day. The traditional way to make this meal is very early in the morning you make a fire in a large rock-lined pit outside the house. A large covered kettle is filled with the ingredients and placed over the coals to cook slowly all day. At the end of a day of doing laundry the food was ready with minimal preparation.

This slow cooking recipe lends itself beautifully to a slow cooker and I have also simplified by substituting cooked, canned beans for dried ones. It is served strained through a slotted spoon and scooped into pita bread but I like to spoon it over a whole grain like couscous, quinoa or rice.

All Seasons, Asian, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce

I adapted this Chinese-influenced slow cooker recipe from a recipe I found while perusing a Filipino food site. It originally called for boiling the ribs in water until they were tender and then tossing them with the black bean sauce in a skillet. I wanted something a bit more hands-off as far as the time spent cooking the ribs, as well as I preferred braising the ribs in an Asian braising liquid to impart some flavor to the ribs while they cooked. The slow cooker was the perfect cooking tool to achieve this. Most of the time for this recipe is invested in the slow cooker, but you’ll need an additional 10-15 minutes in prep and preparing the black bean sauce to toss with the fall-off-the-bone ribs.
I served this at a dinner party and we could not get enough of this slightly exotic Chinese dish; most of us going back for another serving. I served it over steaming white jasmine rice along with a vinegar-based cucumber salad and one of my favorite Filipino noodle dishes, Pancit (find this recipe on The Whole Meal’s website).
If you would like to treat your family and friends with something different than typical Chinese/Asian cuisine, I highly recommend you prepare this meal with the Pancit. Finish it off with fresh lychees if you can find them at your local farmer’s or Asian markets.

All Seasons, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Mexican, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Pork Pozole

Many Mexican dishes are perfect for the slow cooker as they require braising or roasting of meats, which adapt very well to crock pot cooking. I have yet to make this the traditional way, but if the slow cooker is any indication, this is a nice addition to your Mexican recipes. Traditionally eaten during the Christmas season, I find this soup/stew adapts easily to warm weather due to its cooling condiments. I have replaced the traditional hominy with fresh corn which makes it even more appealing in warmer weather.

All Seasons, American, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Quick and easy pulled pork sandwiches are the perfect come home to meal on those really busy weeknights. It’s as easy as adding a heap of store bought coleslaw (my favorite is Whole Foods) on top of this vinegar-based BBQ or put out some baby carrots and celery sticks for a fast veggie side.

All Seasons, Asian, Chicken, Contains Nuts, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Salads, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegetable, Winter

Goi Ga (Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad)

This fresh, crisp salad comes together quickly as the chicken is already cooked and tossed with raw vegetables in a tangy lime-based dressing. The classic Vietnamese chicken salad makes a filling lunch or light dinner, especially welcome during the warmer months of the year. This is a staple go-to recipe in my house.