Filed In: Crockpot

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle

When it comes to Valentine’s day at home, it really doesn’t get much better or sexier than a big bowl of pasta for me. Oh-la-la.

When I was trying to decide which valentine’s dish to share with you this year, tons of pasta recipes came to mind. When I asked Clayton (my husband) “What comes to mind when you think of a home cooked Valentine’s meal?” his response was “uh…steak!” So I decided to combine the two with a classic short rib ragu. So here she is, folks. This beauty of a dish tastes just as good as it looks!

On another note, Valentine’s day falls  on a Tuesday this year (womp womp). Instead of slaving in the kitchen for your special date night, wake up a little early and get this in the crockpot so you come home to a delicious, home cooked, sexy meal. Enjoy your night over this romantic meal and splurge on some good wine! There are no gifts needed with a night like that in my opinion!

Happy Valentine’s, Galentine’s, or whatever “tines” you will be having this year! Celebrate LOVE… and don’t forget to love yourself. Without self love you can’t fully love others, you can’t spread joy and happiness, and you can’t live your best life.  So, make the world a better place and LOVE so hard this week! 

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle
Serves 4
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. bone in short ribs
  2. salt and pepper, to taste
  3. 1/2 cup finely diced carrot (1 large carrot)
  4. 1/2 cup finely diced celery (1 stalk of celery)
  5. 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1/2 onion)
  6. 1/4 lb. hunk of pancetta, cut into small cubes
  7. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (i like to use 1/2 tsp. for a little more heat)
  8. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  9. 1 tbsp. flour
  10. 1/4 cup red wine (cabernet preferably)
  11. 1/2 cup beef broth
  12. 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  13. 28oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano Tomatoes)
  14. 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  15. 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  16. 1 bay leaf
  17. 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  18. 2 tbsp. freshly chopped basil
  19. 12oz. pappardelle pasta (or tagliatelle is good)
For Serving
  1. Good Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
  2. Parsley, chopped loosely
Instructions
  1. Season all sides of the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Brown all sides of the short ribs (about 2 minutes per side). Remove and set in the bottom of the crockpot.
  3. In the same pot, add the pancetta and let it fry up for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Now add diced celery, onion, carrot, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Be sure to season it well with salt and pepper, you want to make sure every layer is properly seasoned to ensure it isn't bland! Saute until veggies are tender and the pancetta is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Turn heat down to low, add the anchovy paste and stir it in and saute for 1 more minute.
  6. Now sprinkle in the flour and stir until it coats the veggies.
  7. Pour in the red wine and beef broth, stir and scrape up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add the can of tomatoes and using the back of your spoon, try and break them up a bit.
  9. Add the fresh and dried herbs. Stir in. Taste the sauce and add any more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
  10. Pour sauce over the short ribs in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or when short ribs are fork tender.
  11. When ribs are fork tender, discard the bay leaf and remove short ribs from slow cooker and onto a cutting board, with two forks, shred the meat and discard the bones and any unwanted fat/tendons. Place shredded meat back into the crockpot to let them soak back up the sauce (I like to turn my crockpot off or switch to warm during this time while I prep my pasta).
  12. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  13. Drain pasta in a colander. Divide amongst bowls and top with the ragu (NOTE: depending on how meaty your short ribs are, your sauce might be too saucy, if this is the case, use a slotted spoon to serve your sauce for best results!)
  14. Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine, i prefer it with an Italian brunello di montalcino 😉
Notes
  1. The ragu keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days, you can also freeze it for up to 1 month!
The Defined Dish http://www.thedefineddish.com/

Crockpot Vegetable Lentil Soup

Lentils may sound like a boring weeknight meal but I mean it when I say that this is truly one of my absolute favorite meals to come home to.  Its warm, soothing, filling and healthy and just leaves my heart happy.  This super simple, easy recipe will blow you away with delicious flavor and I can pretty much guarantee it will become a staple in your household.  Not to mention, talk about a meal on a budget!  Cheap and delicious, double whammy!  One last little tip: I store these in multiple smaller sized containers and keep them in the freezer for an easy lunch or dinner.  Grab it out of the freezer on your way to work.  Leave it on your desk and by the time lunch rolls around it should almost be defrosted, just needs a little heating up!

Crockpot Vegetable Lentil Soup
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  3. 4 cups of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  4. 1 (15oz) can of diced tomatoes
  5. 2 cups of chopped carrots
  6. 1 cup of celery, chopped
  7. 8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I always use Imagine Brand Broth)
  8. 4 cups, packed, of baby spinach
  9. 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  10. A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  11. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, and chopped garlic seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Place sauteed veggies in the crockpot.
  3. Now add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot, stir well. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours (preferably on low). IF you are able to, open and stir halfway through the cooking process–but if you aren’t home no worries they will be fine! When cooking time is done, serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can also cook these over the stovetop, which I do all of the time. Do step one, add the remaining ingredients (except for the spinach) and bring the lentils to a low boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours. Then, add the spinach in small batches until the spinach is all wilted into the soup. Serve and enjoy!
The Defined Dish http://www.thedefineddish.com/

Crockpot Party Chili Con Queso

Alright guys, this is by far the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever posted on here and probably will remain the most unhealthy thing I will post on here until the end of time…but I am okay with that because I couldn’t live my life without sharing this absolutely delicious party perfect recipe with you, my dear friends! 

There is this little “cheese” they like to call Velveeta…and we all, myself included, are so grossed out by the fact that it comes in a box and could pretty much never grow mold on it because it is THAT processed and THAT bad for you. Well, even though I am disgusted by it..I am from Texas and I grew up on that shit and I love it. It was NOT a party at my parent’s house growing up without a big crockpot of this queso and if you grew up in the South, you can probably relate. 

So yes, I am a healthy food blogger. But yes, I am a real person that eats fake shit on occasion. Sue me. This is one of those recipes I do indulge in once a year and it usually falls around a big football game or kids birthday party. So for all of you that aren’t partaking in a Whole30 Challenge and are living on the dark side this Superbowl Sunday– this one goes to you. Enjoy yourselves and don’t stress it…but don’t eat the whole thing because you might croak. haha. Just Kidding.. well, but really, I wouldn’t eat the whole thing. 

Ok. Bye. Go make some Queso! 😉

Crockpot Party Queso
A deliciously meaty queso made in the crockpot and perfect for parties!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. ground beef
  2. 1 lb. Hot Sausage (I use Jimmy's Brand, if kids are eating it use the Regular!)
  3. 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  7. 1 can original rotel
  8. 1 (32oz) package original velveeta cheese
  9. 1 cup of Storebought Salsa (use Joe T's Medium Salsa for my exact recipe!)
  10. 1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
Additional options to elevate your queso
  1. lime juice
  2. fresh chopped tomatoes
  3. fresh chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, sausage, onion and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of the spoon, until it is browned and no longer pink, about 8 minutes. While this is browning, be sure to season your meat with salt and pepper! Nobody wants to bite into unseasoned meat!
  2. Drain off fat from the meat and place in a crockpot.
  3. Now, add the cream of mushroom soup, the rotel, the shredded cheese, the salsa. Cut the velveeta into 1 inch cubes and toss that in there too.
  4. Stir it all up, cover and cook. NOW I need to give you guys a little lesson on the cooking of this queso because it can burn so darn easily-- I like to set my crockpot to "warm" and just let it cook until the cheese is melted but it takes a little longer (like 1 hour). You can set it to its lowest "low" setting and it should be ready in closer to 30 minutes...but either way keep an eye on your party queso! Once she burns she tastes awful. Here is my rule of thumb once its ready and everyone is enjoying it and it is just sitting there to serve if it starts to bubble, I turn off the heat, then when it starts to look like its getting too cold and starting to solidify, I turn it back on warm... and I just keep doing that until the party is over. Off and "warm", never let it bubble. Stir often and you'll be golden!!
  5. Once its all melted and delicious, you can serve as it is or you can add some fresh cilantro and lime juice to jazz it up if you want!
The Defined Dish http://www.thedefineddish.com/

Apple Cider Vinegar Pulled Pork

Making a big batch of pulled pork is always a good idea. Whether you are hosting a party and need something delicious to feed many mouths or if you are just meal prepping for the week and want a protein that is versatile to put into tons of different recipes. This pulled pork is my absolute favorite, so simple yet absolutely delicious. I love the subtle tang that the apple cider vinegar gives it, too! 

If you are doing the Whole30, try this on top of a salad filled with avocado, onions, tomatoes, and sliced radishes. You can make these Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Or, try serving it over cauliflower rice and make a burrito bowl-like situation. Yum. 

If you aren’t Whole30– this recipe is great in tacos, enchiladas, stuffed bell peppers, you name it! 

Hope you all enjoy my favorite pulled pork! 

Apple Cider Vinegar Pulled Pork
Serves 6
The perfect pulled pork recipe for any dish!
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4.5-5lb. Bone-in Pork Shoulder Roast
  2. kosher salt, to taste
  3. black pepper, to taste
  4. ground cumin, (about 1-2 tsp.)
  5. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  6. 1 yellow or white onion, sliced
  7. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  8. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Season all sides of the pork shoulder generously with kosher salt and black pepper, you want to be sure it has plenty of season on it since it is such a large cut of meat. Then, season all over with cumin. Use at least 1 tsp of cumin, but I used a little more than that so that the roast was seasoned evenly with the cumin.
  3. In a large dutch oven (or use a large skillet now if you are using a crockpot), heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, but not smoking, sear the pork on all sides until golden brown (about 4 minutes per side).
  4. When all sides are browned, remove the pork from the dutch oven or skillet and set aside on a plate.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, and toss in the sliced onion, the garlic cloves seasoned with a little salt and pepper and saute for about 2 minutes.
  6. *if you are using a crockpot, place the sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot, and placed the browned pork over. Pour in apple cider vinegar and chicken in around the pork. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  7. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and the chicken broth.
  8. Return the pork to the pot. Cover, place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, or until the pork is fork tender (mine only took 3 hours and it was a 4.5 lb. shoulder)
  9. When cooking time is complete and the pork is fork tender, remove the pork from the pot and onto a large cutting board or baking sheet. Using two forks, shred the meat--discarding the bones and any unnecessarily large hunks of fat.
  10. Place shredded meat back into the apple cider sauce, toss around until is soaks the sauce all back up.
  11. Serve and enjoy!
The Defined Dish http://www.thedefineddish.com/

Whole30 Pot Roast

Pot Roast is always a good idea, everyone enjoys it (even the kiddos), its super filling, and it makes killer leftovers! These are also 3 good reasons why you should make it if you are doing the Whole30 Challenge. I love a good, hearty dinner when doing the Whole30 because, well, FOOOOD.  Give me all the food. 

One of my favorite celebrity chefs, Ree Drummond, obviously makes a mean pot roast. This is her recipe with a few tweaks of my own to make it whole30 approved. I added a little arrowroot starch to my pot roast before I browned it and it made the sauce just a tid bit thicker, which I love. However, doing this step of the recipe is not necessary. It is still delicious without that addition.

Enjoy!

Whole30 Pot Roast
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3-5 lb. chuck roast
  2. 1/4 cup arrrowroot flour
  3. kosher salt, to taste
  4. black pepper, to taste
  5. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  6. 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into fourths
  7. 2 large carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
  8. 3 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
  9. 8 small yukon gold potatoes
  10. 4 cloves garlic
  11. 6 springs thyme
  12. 2-3 cups beef broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Season all sides of the roast generously with salt and pepper. Now, evenly coat the roast with 1/4 cup of arrowroot flour.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven.
  4. When oil is hot, but not smoking, sear all sides of the roast (about 4 minutes for the front and back, and 2 minutes on the sides) until browned. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Reduce heat to low and using about 1 cup of beef broth, deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with whisk to get all of the brown bits.
  6. Place roast back into the pot and now pour beef broth until it covers the meat halfway.
  7. Now add toss in the potatoes, celery, garlic, carrots, and thyme.
  8. Cover and place in the oven. Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, 4 hours. The roast is ready when it's fall-apart tender.
Notes
  1. You can also cook this in a crockpot. After browning your meat, place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.
Adapted from Ree Drummond
Adapted from Ree Drummond
The Defined Dish http://www.thedefineddish.com/