The Simple Kitchen provides a definitive answer to the question, “what’s for dinner?” with exceptional recipes for everyday meals.
In this life-saving family cookbook, you’re provided with more than 80 delicious recipes that come together in no time and that the whole family will love. Whether you want a hands-off approach (Perfectly Slow-Cooked), only have 30 minutes (Dinner in a Snap!), don’t want to clean dishes all night (One-Pot Wonders) or have guests to entertain (Simple Appetizers), you’ll find everything you need to get in, get out and get living.
Recipes include Fiesta Chicken Street Tacos, Meatball Parmesan Skillet, Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Wings, Garlic-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls and many more.
Tasty family dinners never looked so good—or easy!
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|Publisher:||Page Street Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||10.30(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.95(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Recipes that are so easy they just about cook themselves are an integral tool in our simple kitchen, so much so that the slow cooker recipes overflowed from this chapter into other sections. Be sure to look for more slow cooker recipes throughout the book. I have a bit of a slow cooker "thing."
I really embraced my slow cooker after my daughter was born. All of a sudden, I found I wanted to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family. At the time, I had one small round slow cooker that I bought when I moved out on my own. Many years later, I now have eight of them. Obsess much? Yes! I am totally in love with the "set it and forget it" way of cooking. These recipes are so easy that we have tagged each one with how long the prep work takes, because the slow cooker does the rest of the work.
Our recipes are inspired by where we have lived and the food our families have experienced.
I grew up on the sandy beaches of a small town in southwest Florida, where the sun and the sand were everything. Southern food melted my heart, and in the end, it became a delicious influence in our kitchen and our recipes. Now we crave it! Our finger lickin' good Melt-in-Your-Mouth Spicy Sweet Ribs and Kickin' Southern-Style Pulled Pork are Southern staples, and now they can be made right in your slow cooker.
Chad was born and raised in America's Heartland. My meat-and-potato-loving husband is an Iowan through and through, so the Down-Home Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes really rocks his world! When I was in my twenties I met the man of my dreams (yes, of course, it was Chad, silly!) and he lived across the country, so I loaded up the truck and moved to Phoenix ... Arizona, that is ... where I found an abundance of flavors that I had no idea existed, and now they are nearly a part of my DNA, such as our Mexican Roast Beef Dip Sandwich. It's a play on the ever-popular French dip with a delicious Mexican twist.
Triple Cheesy Mac and Cheese is quite possibly our daughter's favorite recipe in this book. This recipe is so gratifying I literally broke out into my happy dance with a chorus of ummmms following behind me. It's rich and creamy, utterly cheesy and perfectly worthy of a special occasion!
This chapter wouldn't be complete without a recipe inspired by my Italian roots. We ate a lot of New York–style Italian food when I was growing up: lots of pasta and cheese. Obviously, the love of cheese really stuck. Three-Cheese Meat Lasagna is our favorite lasagna ever, and it's going to light up your palate (here).
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your slow cooker and let's get cookin'.
THREE-CHEESE MEAT LASAGNA
PREP TIME 15 MIN
Growing up Italian, I ate a lot of traditional Italian food, and lasagna was always my favorite. So, it's no surprise that Chad and I have tried lasagna at restaurants all over the country. But none of them really hit the mark. Finally, we created a lasagna recipe that we love, love, love! This Three-Cheese Meat Lasagna has the perfect amount of heat to light up your taste buds. We just can't get enough of it. It's a scrumptious recipe that comes together in just about 15 minutes and has layer after layer of flavorful hot Italian sausage, spicy tomato sauce, pasta and three ooey-gooey cheeses! I mean, can you really ever have enough cheese?
2 lb (908 g) hot Italian sausage, casings removed
In a 12-inch (30.5-cm) skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Break up the sausage with a spatula as it cooks. Drain the excess drippings if necessary. Pour the marinara and water into the skillet with the cooked sausage and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper and half of the chiffonaded basil leaves. Stir until completely blended. Add 1 cup (100 g) of the Parmesan cheese and 2 cups (240 g) of the mozzarella. Stir to combine.
Spray a 6-quart (6-L) slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 2 cups (480 g) of sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with a layer of noodles, breaking them to fit (about 4 noodles). Dollop one-third of the cheese mixture (about 1½ cups [360 g]) and smooth it into an even layer with a spatula. Spread 2 cups (480 g) of meat sauce over the cheese. Repeat to make two more layers of noodles, cheese mixture, sauce, noodles, cheese mixture and sauce. Add a fourth layer of noodles, spread the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup (120 g) of mozzarella on top.
Cover and cook for 2½ to 3 hours on high (or 5 to 6 hours on low), until the pasta is al dente (has a bite to it). Turn off the slow cooker and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will help the lasagna cool and will make cutting much easier. Top with the remaining 1 cup (100 g) of Parmesan cheese and the remaining chiffonaded basil leaves.
DOWN-HOME POT ROAST WITH CARROTS AND POTATOES
PREP TIME 25 MIN
This pot roast is so tender and juicy that the beef melts in your mouth. It's a simple slow cooker meal with layers of heavenly flavors in a rich, red wine gravy that is loaded with potatoes and carrots. It is truly the ultimate comfort food! This simple recipe takes just 25 minutes of prep time and is sure to be on your table all year long. This is almost like Mom used to make, but better, much better! Sorry, Moms.
3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
Cut the beef into 3-inch (7.5-cm) chunks and season with the salt and pepper.
Warm 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot) over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches (15 cm) above the pot, place the roast pieces in the pot. Brown the pieces on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don't skip this step. We are adding layers of flavor here. Once the roast is nicely seared with a good crust, remove it from the Dutch oven and place it in your slow cooker. I use my 5-quart (4.5L) oval cooker for this recipe.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil and the onions to the Dutch oven and cook until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the seasoning blend and add the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Pour in the wine. Deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula as it bubbles. Pour in the beef stock. Stir to combine, and then add the contents of the pot into the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 5 hours on high (or 10 hours on low). Add the carrots and potatoes halfway through the cook time.
Remove the roast and vegetables from the slow cooker and place them on a serving dish. Tent with foil. Ladle the cooking liquid into a 4-quart (3.6-L) saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine the cornstarch and water in a mason jar. Seal and shake the living tar out of it to create a slurry. Pour the slurry into the pot and stir. Boil the gravy until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Serve the pot roast and veggies with gravy on the side.
TRIPLE CHEESY MAC AND CHEESE
PREP TIME 5 MIN
This is truly one of our favorite recipes in this book! It's pure comfort in a bowl, with perfectly tender corkscrew pasta with twists and ridges that capture the luscious pepper Jack and cheddar cheese sauce. It has just enough heat to wake up your taste buds. Everyone devoured it at Thanksgiving dinner this year, and Sierra loves this recipe so much that she asked me, "Mommy, can I make your yummy slow cooker mac and cheese tonight?" How could I say no ... to someone else cooking dinner? So yes, we now know that this recipe is so easy our seven-year-old can make it! And it's on the weekly meal plan.
1 lb (454 g) cellentani pasta (also known as cavatappi), uncooked
Pour the uncooked pasta onto the bottom of your slow cooker. I love my 6-quart (5.4-L) for this recipe. Scatter the butter and cream cheese pieces over the pasta. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper over the top and pour the milk and cream into the slow cooker. Stir to combine everything and smooth the pasta into one even layer coated in sauce.
Cover and cook on low for 1 to 2 hours, until the pasta is chewy (not quite crunchy, but very al dente). Your cook time will vary if you use a different pasta, so start with 1 hour and adjust from there. Stir once halfway through the cook time and be sure to smooth the pasta into one layer so it is well coated with the sauce. Once the pasta is ready, sprinkle on the cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses and stir to combine. The cheese will melt into the sauce to create the most luxurious creamy cheese sauce. Cover the mac and cheese and cook for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and it comes together. Stir before serving.
KICKIN' SOUTHERN-STYLE PULLED PORK
PREP TIME 20 MIN
This is the ultimate tangy pulled pork sandwich with a spicy kick. It's a Southern classic! With layers of flavor built on the perfectly caramelized crusted pork and a zippy brown sugar au jus, it doesn't need any barbecue sauce. It's served on a toasted bun with creamy coleslaw on the side. Chad and I loved this so much we ate every bite. TWICE. The pulled pork is great on a garden salad with ranch dressing, and the leftovers make for amazing nachos! Well, if you have any leftovers.
1 tbsp (6 g) smoked paprika
Combine the paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne and pepper in a gallon-size (3.6-L) zip-top bag. Seal and shake until everything is combined; set aside.
Rinse the pork under cool water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the pork into the bag with the seasoning. Seal and shake the bag until the pork is coated with the spice mixture. It's okay if you have some seasoning left in the bag; save it. We will use that later.
Heat a Dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches (15 cm) above the pot, add the olive oil. Carefully place the pork into the hot pot using tongs. Sear each side of the pork until it has a rich brown crust on it. You will need to allow the pork to sizzle in the pan without moving it for at least 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the pork into your slow cooker. I use my 6-quart (5.4-L) oval.
Place your pot back on the stove over medium-high heat. Carefully add the vinegar to your pot. Stand back a little as you pour it into the hot pot or you will give yourself a vinegar steam facial. Use a spatula to scrape the stuck-on browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the mixture is boiling, add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the pork in the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the remaining seasoning from the bag over the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 5 to 6 hours on high (or 10 to 12 hours on low). When the pork is tender enough to pull apart easily, use two forks to shred the meat, removing any visible fat. Stir the pork in the sauce. Allow the pork to absorb those yummy juices while you prepare the buns.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Split the buns and place them on a baking sheet cut side up. Toast them in the oven until the edges are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Serve a heaping spoonful of pulled pork on your toasted bun. Top with coleslaw, if you like. I prefer mine with slaw on the side.
FIESTA CHICKEN STREET TACOS
PREP TIME 5 MIN
This fantastic simple recipe is inspired by some awesome food truck eats Chad and I enjoyed while eating our way through Houston. And boy, did we eat. Street tacos are the ultimate convenient walking food, and this slow cooker fiesta chicken is so easy it just about cooks itself. Chunks of tomato, onion and chiles are speckled throughout the perfectly tender and juicy chicken, with sweet corn and black beans bringing it all together. It's piled on a tortilla and topped with all the fixin's your taco can hold.
2 lb (908 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker. I love my 5-quart (4.5-L) round for this recipe. Pour the salsa, beans, corn, seasoning blend and salt over the chicken. Stir with a spoon to combine.
Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high (or 6 to 8 hours on low). Once the chicken pulls apart easily, use two forks to shred the chicken. Taste for seasoning. Add salt to taste. Mine usually needs just a pinch. Cook for 30 minutes longer to allow the chicken to absorb the flavorful juices.
Layer 2 flour tortillas on top of each other, add a scoop of the fiesta chicken and top with your preferred fixin's.
MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH SPICY SWEET RIBS
PREP TIME 10 MIN
These are quite possibly the best ribs we have ever eaten! They are the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. They are smoky, flavorful and tender, with a sticky, caramelized, glazed exterior. That spicy sweet sauce takes me back to southwest Florida and the barbecues and pig roasts I enjoyed there. This recipe is so easy that I may never cook them on the grill again. Everyone who tried them begged for the recipe, and let's just say that Chad wasn't crazy about sharing. These ribs are so good, you won't mind getting your fingers messy, and don't be surprised if you find your family licking the plate. Ahem ... Chad.
Combine the Mexican seasoning, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Make sure the membrane is removed from the back of the ribs. Press the seasoning onto the ribs and set aside.
Pour the beer into the slow cooker. I prefer to use my 6-quart (5.4-L) oval for this recipe. Place the ribs in the slow cooker, thicker end down and meaty side facing out. Cook for 3 hours on high (or 6 hours on low). As soon as the ends of the bones are sticking out from the meat, they should be done.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set aside until the ribs are ready.
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Slather the top and undersides of the ribs with the barbecue sauce. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce caramelizes. Remove from the oven and serve.
Excerpted from "The Simple Kitchen"
Copyright © 2017 Chad and Donna Elick.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Perfectly Slow-Cooked 9
Three-Cheese Meat Lasagna 10
Down-Home Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes 13
Triple Cheesy Mac and Cheese 14
Kickin' Southern-Style Pulled Pork 17
Fiesta Chicken Street Tacos 18
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Spicy Sweet Ribs 21
Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Veggies 22
Mexican Roast Beef Dip Sandwich 25
Italian Basil-Pesto Chicken 26
Chipotle-Lime Barbecue Pork Chops 29
2 One-Pot Wonders 31
Cheesy Greek Pasta with Chicken 33
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo with Fettuccini 34
Farmers' Market Pasta with Sausage 37
Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole 38
Tex-Mex Pasta and Sausage 41
Home-Style Chicken and Biscuits 42
Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Rice 45
Meatball Parmesan Skillet 46
Cheesy Cajun Pasta 49
Creamy Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles 50
3 Dinner in a Snap! 53
Chili Lime Steak Bites 55
Tuscan Garlic Chicken and Linguine 56
Cheesy Taco Skillet 59
Garlic Shrimp with Lemon Butter Cream Sauce 60
Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Peas 63
Creamy Pesto Chicken Tortellini 64
Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Quesadillas 67
Crunchy Baked Chicken Strips 68
Crisp Apple Spinach Salad with Chicken 71
Pan-fried Firecracker Pork Chops 72
4 Simple Appetizers 75
Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Wings 77
Garlic-Parmesan Pizza Pinwheels 78
Crispy Southern Fried Chicken 81
Jalapeno Cheddar Pretzel Twists 82
Slow Cooker Bourbon Brown Sugar Meatballs 85
Stacked Cantina Nachos 86
Jalapeno Spinach Cheese Dip 89
Spicy Italian Pretzel Bombs 90
Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Taquitos 93
Hot Ham and Cheese Party Sliders 94
5 Sensational Soups 97
Hearty Beef Soup 99
Restaurant-Style Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup 100
Fire-Roasted Roadhouse Chili 103
French Onion Meatball Soup 107
Slow Cooker Chicken and Herb Dumplings 107
Restaurant-Style Broccoli Cheese Soup 108
Fire-Roasted Tomato Basil Soup 111
Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup 112
Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Soup with Rice 115
Tuscan Sausage Potato Soup 116
6 Simple Sides & Veggies 119
Herb-Roasted Italian Vegetables 121
Best Ever Slow Cooker Creamed Corn 122
10-Minute Garlic-Parmesan Broccoli 125
Garlic-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes 126
Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice 129
Garlic Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts 130
Mexican Tortellini Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing 133
Spiced Brown Sugar Roasted Sweet Potatoes 134
Cheesy Italian Herb Orzo 137
Honey-Ginger Glazed Carrots 138
7 Everyday Kitchen Essentials 141
Italian Herb Baked Meatballs 143
Everything Cheese Sauce 144
10-Minute Marinara Arrabbiata 147
40-Minute Milk and Honey Dinner Rolls 148
Restaurant-Style Chunky Salsa 151
5-Minute Foolproof Perfect Herb Gravy 152
5-Ingredient Alfredo Sauce 155
Perfect Basil Pesto 156
Quick No-Rise Pizza Dough 159
Seasoning Blends 160
8 Deliciously Simple Desserts 163
Strawberry Cheesecake No-Bake Ice Box Cake 165
No-Bake Rocky Road Avalanche Bars 166
Donna's Famous Sugar Cookies 169
Best-Tasting Sugar Cookie Icing 170
No-Bake Black Bottom Peanut Butter Pie 173
Key Lime No-Bake Ice Box Cake 174
Legendary Pecan Pie Bars 177
Berry Banana Cheesecake Salad 178
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls 181
Crazy Caramel Apple Pie Bombs 182
Ooey-Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Brownies 185
About the Authors 187