easy as chicken noodle soup

Last winter I discovered how easy it is to make hearty chicken noodle soup in the crock pot. Since we’ve had such cold temperatures lately I thought it was a perfect time to make it again. The basic recipe I used the first time is from Cooks.com, but I have since altered it a bit to suit my preferences.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

My recipe:

2 large chicken breasts, frozen
2 packages of diced/cubed ham
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen cut green beans
1 teaspoon chopped chives
12 oz. whole wheat noodles
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt (season to taste)
64 oz. water

Excluding the noodles, put all ingredients into the crock pot.
Cook on high for 4.5 hours.
After this, use a wooden spoon to stir it up, taking care to break the chicken breast into bite size pieces.
Add noodles and continue cooking for an additional 1 hour.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

If I had thought to get broth/stock ahead of time, I might substitute that for the water, as I think it would enhance the flavor (I could probably cut out some or all of the salt if I did that). I’m thinking that next time, I’ll add some frozen carrots, too. As you can probably tell from these photos, this soup is really hearty and does not end up with much liquid/broth – just a little bit. These ingredients really fill up our 6 quart crock pot, or else I’d add a larger portion of liquid at the start. As it is, when you add the noodles, it is a little precarious trying to get them mixed in without splashing liquid over the edges.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

This time I made the soup with ham instead of bacon. I found that with bacon, it tasted delicious the first time but ended up feeling too fatty on subsequent reheatings. I think that by substituting ham, that issue has been fixed. Huzzah! This recipe makes enough for K and I to share several meals – I’m guessing maybe four or five, possibly six? It makes a lot, anyway, and it’s really easy to reheat in the microwave. It’s so filling and delicious! I love that chopping the potatoes is the only real work involved – the rest is just dump and let cook. Given how easy and satisfying it is, I really should use the crock pot more often. What are your favorite slow cooker recipes?

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more spicy beer chicken

I’m getting a little more comfortable when it comes to experimenting and/or winging it in the kitchen. This time I made some slow cooker chicken, which is becoming a staple for us.

slow cooker Mexican beer chicken dinner

This time I put in two chicken breasts which were mostly thawed, a bottle of New Holland Full Circle, and the following spices:

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Then I put it on low for about 8 hours, and when it was done, used a spatula to break up the chicken. It turned out to be really tasty! A bit on the spicy side, but not so much that my sinuses truly cleared out, which means it could have been slightly spicier and it would have been okay with me. I chopped up some hearts of romaine and a red sweet pepper, and put some salsa on for good measure. I liked it in the taco shell, but even better as just a taco salad. It’s easier to eat that way!

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pork butt and apples(auce)

I’ve been looking for things to cook now that I (a) have time to apply myself to learning, (b) am doing the grocery shopping, and (c) am eating meat so K and I could actually eat the same thing for dinner. The slow cooker is a good option for lazy old me, except that a lot of the time, recipes are all, “It’s super easy! Only a few minutes of prep time and then let it go until dinner,” when in reality, there are vegetables to be sauteed first, and meat to be browned, and a bunch of other pot/pan-using things that take ages! I’m willing to use a knife and a cutting board or two, but I don’t want to be cooking for a long time before the actual cooking starts.

However, while meal planning last week I stumbled across Amy’s recipe for Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes, which not only has minimal advance prep but also has only about a dozen ingredients, a good half of which are herbs and spices I’ve actually heard of. Amazing! Thanks, Amy’s Cooking Adventures. You rock!

(Please note! I have not included descriptions of all the ingredients and instructions here – so refer to Amy’s Cooking Adventures for the real deets!)

I clipped the recipe to Evernote, both for future use and so I could use Say Mmm to make my grocery list.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

So, to the cooking! First, you add a layer of apple and sweet potato slices to the bottom of the slow cooker. As foodies will no doubt notice, my knife skills are lacking, but I think in terms of slow cooker cooking, uniform size and shape are not a huge concern. For me, anyway.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Then the meat goes in. I felt like a bit of a dork at the meat counter. I asked for a pork roast of the appropriate size, and the guy was like, “Which one? HUH?!” So I looked at the labels, which all looked very similar and similarly meant nothing to me, and chose the one that was labeled Pork Butt. Because: BUTT.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

As you can see, for meat handling, I use Carrie Anne’s patented Reverse Baggie Method.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Not only am I still getting over the whole biology-class-memories-of-dissecting-formerly-living-things thing, I am also really paranoid about germs. Having not cooked meat basically ever before, I have a probably too-sensitive scale for safety when preparing it. EVERYTHING IS CRAWLING WITH SALMONELLA! Hence, baggie hands.

Also, do you notice that grid thingie in the background of the above photo? It’s a strange little net sleeve that was wrapped around the roast at the deli. I cut it off with some kitchen scissors (which were then carefully scrubbed) – is that what people usually do? I assume you don’t want to be picking it out of your food later on.

I actually had to buy Rosemary and Marjoram, but we had Basil already, as well as the other spices in the recipe. So now I’ll be on the lookout for recipes that use Rosemary and/or Marjoram.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

After it’s all spiced, the rest of the apple and sweet potato go in, as well as the garlic. Which I used probably two to three times as much of as the recipe suggested. It’s garlic, people! It’s meant to be enjoyed.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

I was so anxious to try it, I forgot to snap a photo before we cut into it. It turned out great! The apple and sweet potato were super tender but not quite mooshy, and the pork was still solid enough to be slice-able, but just. I cooked it for 6.5 hours on low in our slow cooker, and it seemed to be the right amount of time.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Even though K was skeptical of having fruit with the meat, he liked it! He does have a deep and abiding love for cinnamon, though, so that might have helped. I liked it too. This was my first time really eating a pork main dish so I was happy to find that I liked it. It’s really autumnal and just super homey and comforting. It would make a good alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving, actually. We each had it for dinner one night and then for lefties the following night, so for us, four servings was right on target.

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