Ingredient: garlic clove, chopped

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.

Gluten free, Main, Paleo/Primal, Seafood, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer

Poached Salmon with a Creamy Pea Sauce

Serve with Herbed Roasted Potatoes-

I have been serving this simple yet elegant salmon entree every Easter, as it is always requested and especially appreciated by the non-meat eaters. The cream sauce is light as the emphasis is on the meaty salmon and fresh seasonal spring vegetables. Include this on your Easter buffet or serve it with herbed roasted potatoes for a special springtime weeknight dinner.

American, Beef, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Winter

Slow Cooker Smoky Meatloaf

Who would have thought that a slow cooker could produce a moist, firm, and flavorful meatloaf? My bacon and cheese-studded version is every meat and potato lover’s dream. This grain-free meatloaf will become a cool weather and early spring staple in your household as it has in mine. Easily pairs with mashed potatoes and a salad.

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Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

This is one our favorite slow cooker recipes (and its vegetarian!). It’s great on its own, but can be the base for taco salads, burritos, tacos, or as a side dish to a grilled meat. I cook my rice in a rice cooker 40 minutes before we are set to eat. If I know I will be out right up ‘til dinner time, then I make it at the same time as when I prepare the beans, only needing to heat it up at mealtime. You will have extras- perfect for lunch the next day!

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

Slow Cooker Fajitas

Fajitas were originally made with skirt steak, hence, the name fajita coming from faja or “belt”. Texas ranch hands have been making them since the 1930s and the dish’s popularity is still evident in every Mexican or Tex Mex restaurant in the U.S. Skirt steak is tough and typically marinated overnight for tenderness prior to grilling, but the slow cooker automatically takes care of transforming the meat to a tender, flavorful base for this meal.

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Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein

Who needs Chinese takeout when you can whip up this 5 star recipe. It won’t be dripping in grease or laced with msg, rather it’ll be high on flavor and freshness, and made with high quality ingredients. This is one of my family’s favorite meals. Don’t forget the chopsticks!

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Open-Faced Mushroom and Onion Burgers

Serve with sweet potato steak fries and broccoli slaw-

A bit of a change from a typical burger, an open-faced burger uses only half the bun and you’ll need a fork and knife to eat it. This meal can be made any time of year, but change out your sides depending on the season; i.e., in warmer weather try baked fries, salads and slaws and in the winter try roasted potatoes and root vegetables.