Tag Archives: Crock-Pot

Embarrassingly Easy Macaroni and Cheese

29 Sep

We are in full harvest/slow cooking mode at my house, and that usually calls for an accompanying starch of sorts for whatever is in the crock pot.

Lately, I’ve been on a chili kick, and nothing pleases me more than some elbow noodles to accompany it with (except shredded cheese, onions, sour cream and Franks Red Hot sauce!). Last night I had extra noodles and I knew my chili was going to be too spicy for my son, so I decided to make down-and-dirty homemade mac and cheese. It’s super easy and Teddy loved it. Here’s the basic overview:

Embarrassingly Easy Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 box of Cooked macaroni or elbow noodles
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cream cheese ( more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese (use whatever kind you like; last night I used sharp Cabot cheddar)
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt to taste


  1. Mix in the cream cheese first to the warm/hot noodles until fully immersed (note- this will cook down the noodles, so either microwave them for a minute or do this in a pot and turn the burner up to medium/medium-low)
  2. Then add the butter, shredded cheese and salt
  3. Stir until cheese is melted and serve
  4. ADDED STEP: to make it extra tasty, turn the oven up to 400, put the mixed mac and cheese in an oven-safe dish, top with some bread crumbs and cook for about 10 minutes for a toasty top).
  5. Enjoy!

Crock-Pot Fiesta…Ole!

14 May


Rick Bayless’s Taco de Tinga is one of my all-time favorite crock-pot dishes. It’s incredibly easy and when it’s done, the flavors and final product are just outstanding. But do we expect anything less from Rick Bayless?

With Chicago’s very own Mexican culinary God cooking for President Obama next week, and with friends coming over for dinner tonight, I thought this would be the perfect dish to kick off a spring weekend.

Just a note from my own experience- when you’re adding the chipotle peppers, they are very potent and spicy; I reccomend you de-seed them over running water to break up the vapors. AND- make sure you only add 1 tablespoon of the Adobo sauce from the chipotle’s- I made the mistake of adding an entire can’s-worth of sauce and the dish was WAY too spicy to eat (it was tragic!).

Happy crock-potting!

Rick Bayless’s Taco de Tinga

4 medium (1 pound total) red-skin boiling or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½ cubes
2 pounds meat, into 1-inch pieces [skinless chicken thighs OR boneless pork shoulder OR boneless beef chuck]
One 28-ouce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
3 to 4 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tablespoon chipotle canning sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
1 medium white onion, sliced ¼ inch thick (optional)
4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (about ½ cup) (optional) (skip if using beef)
24 corn tortillas or tostadas
1 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese
2 large avocados, pitted flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/2-inch pieces for serving

Spread the potatoes over the bottom of a slow cooker and top with the meat. In a large bowl, mix the (undrained) tomatoes with the chipotles, chipotle canning sauce, Worcestershire, oregano, garlic, optional onion, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the meat and potatoes. Cover and slow-cook on high for 6 hours. (The dish can hold on the slow-cooker’s “keep warm” function for 4 more hours or so.)
When you are ready to eat, fry the optional chorizo in a medium (8-inch) skillet until thoroughly done, about 4 minutes. Uncover the tinga and spoon off the fat that has accumulated on top. Sprinkle on the chorizo, then stir everything together, breaking the pork into smaller pieces—right for wrapping in tortillas. (If there is a lot of liquid, tip it off and boil it rapidly until reduced and syrupy, then stir it back into the meat mixture.) Taste and season with additional salt if you think the tinga needs it. Serve with the warm tortillas, fresh crumbled cheese and avocados for making soft tacos or serve on a tostada.

No Slow Cooker?
Lay the meat in a medium-large (4- to 6- quart; 10- to 12-inch-diameter) heavy pot (preferably a Dutch oven), and top with the potatoes. Cover with the tomato mixture, set the lid in place and braise in a 300-degree oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until meat is completely tender. Complete dish as described.