Posts Tagged ‘slow cooker’

Slow Cooker Short Ribs

I think every year needs a word to be a personal theme or mantra. Last year, I chose “fearless” and worked on letting go of a lot of my fears, whether it be a fear of walking away, fear of trying something new, fear of unfamiliar territory… I spent the year letting go of my fears. When I was thinking about this year’s plans the other day, the word “unstoppable” came to mind over and over, a sign to me that it should be my word for 2015.

Slow Cooker Prep

Unstoppable is a funny word though, and I had to think before officially accepting it as “my word” for this year, because it has such a complex meaning. “Something that cannot be stopped” can be either good or bad. Someone who uses others, has ulterior motives, or acts in otherwise shady manners (whether it’s obvious or not), can be seen as unstoppable. Or something like a rumor, a political tyrant, a catastrophic series of events could be considered unstoppable. Maybe we don’t like unstoppable.

On the other hand, I firmly believe that being a light to the world, a force for good, a person driven to bring out the best in yourself and others is amazing unstoppable. Unstoppable can mean diligence, caring, perseverance, faithfulness – so many great things. And that definition, all the good things about unstoppable, is how I will be embracing the word “unstoppable” this year.

Short Rib Vegetables

One of my projects is growing this blog’s readership dramatically by the year’s end and working on a few professional goals I’ve set, after taking care of my family emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Another is getting back into better physical condition.

When the Godfather last deployed, I got down to my smallest adult weight, and managed to keep most of it off for almost a year until I got pregnant with A. Once hormones settled after baby, I started losing again, but I’m just not quite at my “happy place” yet, and that’s unacceptable. I could make excuses, but that’s not my style, so instead, I’m taking steps to reach my goal. First, I’m running again and will be training for a half marathon (which one is TBD). I’m also early on in a Whole 30 to help me detox after the holiday sugar rush (hellloooo treats!) and make better choices in cold weather.

It’s easy to reach for calorie-laden comfort food when it’s snowing outside, but it feels so much better to find a healthier and equally satisfying alternative. I’m also LOVING the culinary challenge it’s providing! I’m doing it alone, the Godfather isn’t cutting out his starches or sugars although he is happily eating whatever I make, and the fact that it hasn’t tempted me to see him eating rice with his meal or having a bite of chocolate for dessert afterwards does make me feel unstoppable.

Paleo Slow Cooker Short Rib Recipe

This recipe was actually our “celebratory” dinner the first night of my Whole 30. It was a Wednesday evening and we were celebrating the end of my first Whole 30 day, because we like “just because” celebrations. We also had a beautiful cut of locally raised organic short ribs that we purchased from a farmer during a little birthday adventure outing for the Godfather the weekend prior.

Whole 30 Slow Cooker Short Rib Recipe

Short ribs are best cooked low and slow so you break down all the toughness in the meat until it’s fall off the bone tender, and this is why my preferred method to make them is in the crock pot, after browning. Browning short ribs is an important step because it helps lock in the juice and flavor. Sometimes, you lose a little flavor in the crock pot as everything is cooking together so long it almost blends, and you really don’t want that to happen with short ribs. It only takes a few minutes, and you can even do it the night before you plan to cook. Just avoid using a nonstick pan. Nonstick pans aren’t ideal for browning because of the coating. I picked up a stainless steel pan from a local restaurant supply store that I use regularly for pan frying or other high-heat situations. You can find one like it here on Amazon.

If you’re hesitant about trying short ribs, this is a great introductory recipe. In fact, I had to shoot the “end result” pictures the night we had this dish for dinner because I wasn’t going to have leftovers for the next day – my daughter ate almost an adult-size portion of the ribs and vegetables! She LOVED it, and I hope you will too!

Slow Cooker Short Ribs
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This easy to prepare recipe is tasty, healthy, and complies with Paleo and Whole 30 dietary guidelines
Serves: 4 servings
  • 3 lbs short ribs
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat a skillet with the two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper, then place into the skillet to brown. Cook about 3-4 minutes each side until browned. Remove from the pan and place into your slow cooker.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, add all the vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in 1 cup of the broth, swirling it around and scraping to pick up any bits of meat or vegetables still in the pan. Dissolve the tomato paste in this and then pour into the slow cooker with the remaining cup of broth.
  5. Set the slow cooker on low and cook 8-10 hours until the meat is cooked through and very tender.

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Mexican Pork Tamales

We discover a lot of food on our travels. As some of you may have gathered, we travel a good bit both for the Godfather’s job and just on our own for fun. We’ve taken two cross-country road trips so far, and between those trips, we had a sojourn in central California where we were introduced to Mexican food (and its incredible varied regional styles). Growing up in South Florida, Taco Bell was pretty authentic, so this was an exciting discovery!

Pork Tamales with Olives

One of the new foods added to our lives was the tamale. Previously, we had only tried the Carribean banana-leaf-wrapped style and just seen the smaller corn-husk-wrapped versions on Food Network travel shows, so I was really excited to try them and learn to make them from friends. I had two beautiful friends in California who both made tamales, each with their own style – one a native Texan who seasons the masa so well you could really probably just cook that and eat it alone because it tastes so good, and another a California native who lets the filling flavor shine through and swears each tamale must have an olive or it’s not right.

Husks for tamales

Tamales are traditionally made around Christmas time and serve as the main feature in the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) meal. All the local restaurants and shops offer tamales for sale, just like pre-ordered turkeys at Thanksgiving, typically filled with chile verde pork or chile colorado (the “red sauce” pork we are making here). The best way to enjoy them though, is to get friends or family together, sit down, and have a tamale party, rolling, steaming, and sampling the fresh tamales between laughter and great conversation.

Tamale Prep

I think maybe that’s what drew me to make them this year and brave the process alone, right down to making the masa (something I would have *never* done in California with the number of tortilla shops and stores that sell freshly prepared masa). I have many family dishes I cherish  because, even though I’m the only one that will sit and make them now, I remember being in the kitchen with my grandparents, mom, and sisters. I make them because they’re delicious, but I’m also making a memory, bringing back beautiful moments in a tangible way.

Tamales Steaming

The tamales are sitting in a dining room with the J family making Texas-style tamales, getting laughed at for my awful newbie masa-spreading skills, watching their little daughter try to “help” and hearing stories about making these in Texas with family. They’re also a moment at a table in the Vandenberg community center at a tamale class telling M that all her tamales are wrong because they have no olives while L walks around checking on everyone while the happy hum of conversation buzzes and MH and T are sitting at another table making the most ridiculous tiny tamales ever just because they can. They’re also the memory of a quiet night at home, exhausted after bringing our little girl home from the hospital. I had some left in our freezer and in that new-parent haze, they were so incredibly comforting as one less meal I had to think about. And the Godfather wanted some, and when he requests, it happens. Simple.

Pork Tamales from Scratch with Salsa

This recipe makes somewhere around 8 dozen… you can halve it, but why? Tamales freeze rather well, and the additional time to make the extra is minimal after you’ve already invested the time make the filling and masa (if you don’t have a reputable local supplier). I actually ended up with more masa than filling, and so I got to play a little. In addition to making tamales with pork, I made some filled with Cuban Ropa Vieja (a semi-homemade recipe here, a clean eating one coming to the blog soon), and some with bacon cheddar and fresh chives… amazing.

Traditional Mexican Pork Tamales from Scratch

The recipe is long, and may seem daunting, but you can absolutely break it up over a few days. I did and everything turned out fine. Actually, I saved myself a good amount of time by using my slow cooker to prep the tamale filling. Have I mentioned I love my slow cooker? Certain things in life are just best if they aren’t rushed, like a good meal, visits with friends you haven’t seen in a while, that first kiss after you haven’t seen your sweetie in some time, and the coming of Christmas every year! See what I did there? Social statement. Christmas starts after Thanksgiving, none of this after-Halloween nonsense.

Anyway, when I did make the masa, I tried to save myself some work by starting it in my mixer (the big lift bowl one, not the smaller standard one), but it’s very thick, so after a little while, my mixer was not too happy with me and I decided to finish the masa by hand. The big bowl came in handy. If you don’t have a larger mixer, I would probably just do it all by hand in the larges mixing bowl you can find. If you don’t have a very large mixing bowl, use a stock pot. You can try to do it all with a spoon, but you’ll probably need to use your hands at some point. A quick note from your personal health department: Well washed hands are a given, but if you have long nails (as in anything not trimmed completely down) or painted nails, you must wear gloves when/if you do this.

Pork Tamale Recipe on Goodie Godmother

I did a lot of research to try and find a good recipe and process to make the tamales I remembered, and ended up following most of the steps from La Cocina de Leslie with a few tiny modifications based on ingredients I could find, some recipe scaling, and preferences (because I put garlic in everything).

Mexican Pork Tamale Recipe on Goodie

After all this practice, I’m feeling pretty confident about my tamale-making skills. I sent some to a friend via husband-exchange at the Godfather’s office and he was asked by someone else if his mom made the tamales because they looked like the ones she had as a kid. And making food like mama or grandma, my dears, is the highest compliment one can earn (assuming they cooked).

Mexican Pork Tamales
Prep time
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Traditional Mexican tamale recipe with masa made from scratch. Use the slow cooker to make preparing the filling easy!
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6-8 dozen
Pork Filling
  • 4 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 4-6 approximately equal sized pieces
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and mashed
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 dried chiles - 5 ancho and 5 (see notes)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ tsp New Mexico chili pepper
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 cups masa harina (I used the Maseca brand)
  • 2 cups manteca (lard)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 6 cups of the reserved pork broth, chili broth, or vegetable or chicken broth (I used a mix of the pork broth and a homemade vegetable broth)
  • 6-8 dozen corn husks (72-96)
  • 2 14-ounce cans of black olives, rinsed and drained
Make the Filling
  1. Place the pork shoulder, garlic cloves, onions and 2 c water in your crock pot. If you have a larger crock pot that fits more water, add it as you will use the broth later. Set the crock pot to low for 8-10 hours until the pork is cooked through and shreds easily.
  2. Towards the end of the pork cooking time, prep the chilies. Heat 4 cups of water and the chilies in a saucepan. Allow the water to simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the chilies to soak for 1 hour.
  3. When your pork has finished cooking, remove the meat from the crockpot and shred in a large mixing bowl. Reserve all the pork broth.
  4. Stem and seed your chilies and place the chilies in a blender with 2 cups of the pork broth and 2 cups of the chili water. Puree until smooth then pour over the shredded pork.
  5. Add the dry seasonings and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. You want the pork filling to be moist (but not very wet), so if you need to, add a little more pork broth or chili water.
  6. Set the filling aside while you make the masa.
Making the Masa
  1. If you plan to roll the tamales immediately after making the masa, soak the husks in warm water before you start the process. They need to soak about 30-45 minutes to soften.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the lard on high speed until light and fluffy. Then add the salt, baking powder, garlic powder, and 2 cups of the masa harina. Mix well.
  3. Add the broth and the rest of the masa harina 1 cup at a time, alternating, until all has been mixed and there is no dry masa. You may need to add a little more broth to bring it to a spreadable consistency, but don't until you start rolling as you don't want to make it runny.
To roll the tamales:
  1. Pat dry the soaked corn husks to remove excess moisture. Too much and the masa won't stick.
  2. Using the back of a spoon, spread about a quarter cup of the masa evenly on your corn husk. Don't make it too thick, but don't make it too thin. A good guide a friend shared was that if you hold your tamale up to the light, you should be able to see the shadow of your hand behind the husk, but you shouldn't see any gaps in your masa at all.
  3. Spoon a few tablespoons of filling into the center of the tamale, add an olive, then fold over one third of the tamale, then fold over the other third and flip the little tail end at the bottom of the tamale up. Some people tie each bundle individually with a bow, but I am not going to do that.
  4. Stack the tamales "tail side" down until you are ready to steam. Because of the quantity of tamales being made here, I would recommend steaming as your roll. See the notes for how to steam if you don't have a steamer (I don't).
  5. When you place the tamales in the steamer, fill the steamer, but don't overcrowd the tamales. You want to be sure there's room for the steam to circulate and cook all the tamales evenly. I usually stop at about ¾ full.
  6. Steam the tamales for 45-60 minutes and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm (unwrap before eating! 😉 ).
  7. You may also freeze tamales by placing them in a freezer-safe plastic bag with most of the air removed. See notes for reheating instructions.
  8. Enjoy!
- Chili Notes: I used arbol chilies (very spicy) and a mild chili that I don't remember. I had to remove some of the arbol chilies before I blended just because I didn't want the tamales to be too spicy. Ancho and guajillo chilies were recommended in the original recipe, and if you are able to find those, I would use them as both are rather mild and so you won't have to remove any.
- Cooking tamales without a steamer: You can absolutely cook tamales without a steamer! I use a metal colander in a large stock pot. I fill the stock pot with water level to the bottom of the colander, place my tamales in the colander, cover (the lid doesn't fit tightly but it's fine) and cook over medium high/high heat. Just check periodically as you might need to add more water towards the end of cooking time.
- Reheating Frozen Tamales If you freeze some of the tamales to eat later (and you will if you aren't feeding a crowd), be sure to wrap them in a wet paper towel before re-heating in the microwave.
- Filling Feel free to get creative with the filling if you have extra masa! Two ideas I used this batch - leftover ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef), and bacon cheddar chive.



Slow Cooker Chili

I have a confession to make darlings. I nearly got into an altercation, at the farmer’s market, over the crockpot.

Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

Not really, but it sounds more dramatic if I tell it that way. What actually happened was that the Godfather and I ventured out to the farmer’s market last Saturday to pick up some local produce. There was a poultry vendor at the market, and so we stopped by to see what they had for sale and get on their e-mail list. There was another customer in the booth at the time who seemed rather chatty, and said she was debating buying a chicken because she didn’t know if she wanted to cook. And I, conversing back as a polite person would, suggested that she use her crock pot to make the chicken since it requires very little work. She immediately scoffed at me, and said “Oh, some people in my family have owned restaurants so I’m picky about how my food is prepared.” I think even the vendor raised an eyebrow to her tone.

Here’s where there could have been an altercation, but there wasn’t, because I was not going to entertain that level of boorish ignorance on a lovely farmer’s market morning, or any other time for that matter. Not my style, but I did entertain a not-so-pleasant retort for about a half second. I’m human, and that was rude. What a presumptuous comment to be made by someone who has never spent time in my kitchen and has no idea what I feed my family or how I choose to prepare it! I too am selective about what I eat and how it’s prepared, and I love using my slow cooker. In fact, I’m using it right now to prepare Korean short ribs for tonight using this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo and local beef purchased at the market. In addition, while I was at the market, I was shopping for vegetables for today’s recipe, a lovely crock pot chili made with grass fed ground beef, no beans, and lots of good for you vegetables. Not every crock pot recipe involves Cream of Chemicals soup. Can I get an ‘amen’ from my healthy crock pot cooks?

Crockpot Chili No Beans by Goodie Godmother

I think everyone needs a good crowd-pleasing chili recipe. It’s a bonus if it’s simple to make (this is), if it’s also healthy (this is), and if you can make extra to freeze for later (you can). This is my new go-to recipe. Low and slow is the way to go, and while we didn’t freeze any from this batch, I will probably make more soon for freezing, with one minor change – I would replace the potatoes with parsnips. Potatoes change their texture in the freezer and I don’t like it. In my experience, parsnips hold up better and the texture is almost identical in the final product anyway.

Clean Eating Crockpot Chili Recipe

I made mine in a 4 quart slow cooker like this one and it was filled to the brim! To the point that when I make it again, I will be draining one of the cans of tomatoes before adding it to the chili. I did use canned diced tomatoes for convenience and tried to make myself feel better by buying organic. If you too go the can route and are looking to keep this Whole 30 compliant, be sure you purchased diced tomatoes and tomato sauce without any added sugar. Some brands will sneak it in there. It’s probably good to skip the sugar anyway, you don’t need it in chili.

Whole 30 Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

p.s. – If you’re not looking to make this recipe for a paleo or Whole 30 “life plan”, visit the blog tomorrow for a candied jalapeno smoked cheddar skillet cornbread recipe that is a perfect accompaniment! We had that before we started our Whole 7 and it’s so right. 😉

Slow Cooker Chili
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A no-bean, Whole 30 compliant, clean eating chili that's easy to prepare and incredibly flavorful!
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained (drain 1 if you are using a 4 qt slow cooker)
  • 1 14-oz can no-sugar tomato sauce
  • 10 oz new potatoes, or parsnips
  • salt, to taste
  • (optional) fresh cilantro and avocado slices to top
  1. Cut your potatoes or parsnips (peel these) into ½" cubes. Set aside.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the crockpot
  3. Break up your meat and add to the crockpot
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients
  5. Set the crockpot to low for 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes (or parsnips) are tender
  6. Top with fresh cilantro before serving if desired.


Clean Eating Cuban-Style: Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken

Cuban Crockpot Chicken

We are heading into our first “real” winter. The Godfather and I have never actually lived somewhere with “seasons” in the traditional sense. We knew rainy season and not so rainy, blistering hot, and the beach at Christmas – not snow. I really don’t want to think about that right now. I want to cling to the last few rays of warm sunshine, revel in the amazing fall colors and crisp apple-picking weather to come, and not think about what’s coming after. It’s still swimsuit season here and we shall eat accordingly.

Cuban Crock Pot Chicken

Kidding. Kind of. But it never hurts to have an easy and healthy tropical-inspired dish to provide a pick-me-up in any weather (even if it is actually still really nice outside right now).

Cuban Chicken Clean Eating

One thing I love about Cuban food is that so many of the recipes rely on using fresh herbs and vegetables for flavor, making it a very easy cuisine to incorporate when eating clean.

Goodie Godmother Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken

This chicken recipe is inspired by the standard grilled chicken you’d get at most Cuban restaurants – lots of citrus, lots of garlic, a little parsley, and onions. I used limes in the recipe because they’re easier to find, BUT, if you can find fresh naranja agria (sour orange), please please PLEASE use this in the same quantities. The flavor is amazing and it’s even more authentic.

GG Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken

Clean Eating Cuban-Style: Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken
Clean eating with Caribbean flair - a Cuban-inspired crockpot chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Cuban
  • 2.5-3 lb organic chicken, gizzards removed
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • juice of 2 limes
  • zest of 1 lime
  • ½ c fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Slice the onion into strips, then toss with the olive oil. Put the onions in your crock pot and set aside.
  2. Smash the 8 cloves of garlic and then using a mortar and pestle, or a food processor, combine the garlic, lime juice, lime zest, parsley, and salt to form a very chunky paste. If you use the food processor, just pulse 2-3 times for about a second.
  3. Rub the garlic mixture all over the chicken, then place the chicken in the crock pot. Pour over any remaining marinade.
  4. Cook the chicken on low 7-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours until cooked through.
  5. Enjoy!


Rosemary Asiago Cheese in the CROCKPOT! (Seriously)

Rosemary Asiago Crockpot Bread by Goodie Godmother

Can you be BFFs with a website? Because I think my BFFN (best friend for now) social media website has to be Pinterest. I thought it was Instagram (and I still love my picture feed), but Pinterest is my favorite way to pass a few minutes before bed each day looking at pretty pictures, planning my dream closet, getting ideas for our next home, discovering recipes, it’s a wealth of inspiration!

Rosemary Asiago Crockpot Bread Dough

As with all friendships though, one must be realistic. I know you aren’t perfect Pinterest, and that’s okay. I will never be able to get my nails to look as lovely as the tutorial examples filling your pages, and I know better than to try some of the “there is no way this is as easy as it looks” DIY ideas waiting to go wrong, but I was drawn to your promise of crockpot bread. That, and I had some bread flour I needed to finish using before we began our road trip. I swore this was going to be a Pinterest Fail (and a likely submission to this Pinterest Fail blog), but IT WORKED!

Rosemary Asiago Crockpot Bread Baking

Not only did it work once, I made it AGAIN, and it worked that time too! And then I found out that the bread blog that held the original link to the inspiration recipe not only had one crock pot bread recipe, but an entire section in a cookbook devoted to bread in the slow cooker. So my guaranteed “I can play with this recipe as much as I want because it’ll never work” Pinterest fail turned into a pretty impressive success. Yay me. And soon yay you.

Easy artisan bread rosemary asiago cheese in the crockpot

Yay us!

Rosemary Asiago Slow Cooker Bread


Recipe modified from Artisan Bread in 5.


Rosemary Asiago Cheese in the CROCKPOT! (Seriously)
Prep time
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Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 8
  • 1¾ cups warm water
  • 1½ tsp yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ and ½ tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 and ¼ cup grated asiago cheese, divided
  1. Place the warm water, sugar, and yeast into a large bowl and allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
  2. Add the salt. Mix in one cup of the flour, then add half a cup of the asiago cheese and the rosemary, then a second cup of flour, then the rest of the asiago, and then the last cup of flour.
  3. Mix just until the dough is wet, you don't want to over-mix the bread! Add water if needed to make sure all the dough is wet. It is a sticky dough.
  4. Allow to rise for about two hours, or until doubled in volume. This rise can also be accomplished overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. When you are ready to bake, cut a sheet of parchment paper large enough to fit into your crock pot and sprinkle with flour to prevent the bread from sticking.
  6. Flour your hands and gently lift the bread out of the bowl, shape carefully into a round and place on your parchment paper.
  7. Lift the entire sheet of parchment paper into your crockpot, top with the remaining cheese and rosemary then allow to bake for either 3-4 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low. The sides will be golden and the top will be lightly firm when the bread is done. If you'd like the nice brown color on the asiago cheese topping, use a kitchen torch or your broiler for a few minutes to heat the top of the bread.
  8. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.


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