Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: Christmas

Slow Cooker recipes for the 12 days of Christmas

My blog revolves around eating out in Cardiff and the surrounding area but I also love to cook so when Susan Colburn asked me if I would like to publish her guest post, it seemed like a nice change.

Over to Susan…

Slow-Cooker Recipes for the 12 Days of Christmas

It’s that wonderful time of year, when hearts are merry and homes are filled with the spirit of Christmas. But with tight budgets, longer work hours and wound-up children anxiously awaiting Santa’s arrival, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, pull out your Crock-Pot, and try these delicious slow cooker recipes that will save time and money (think leftovers!).

Whether you’re looking for hearty soups, mouth-watering desserts or slow-cooker chicken recipes for dinner, your slow cooker will soon become your best friend this holiday season. And, there’s no need to get creative—these tasty slow-cooker recipes provide exactly what you need to feed the family and keep everyone happy (including you).

Super easy and full of flavor, the following easy recipes provide 12 days of Christmas recipes… and a lot more time to relax!

Day 1: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Servings: 8

What You Need

1/2 cup A.1.  Steak Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 pkg. (0.9 oz.) onion-mushroom soup mix

1 boneless beef chuck eye roast (2-1/2 lb.)

1 lb. baby red potatoes

1 pkg. (1 lb.) baby carrots

1 onion, thickly sliced

Make It

MIX first 3 ingredients.

PLACE meat in slow cooker. Top with vegetables and sauce; cover.

COOK on LOW 8 to 9 hours (or on HIGH 6 to 7 hours).

Slow-Cooker Tip!

If one of the slow-cooker recipes you are trying out does not yield enough servings and you need to double it, keep in mind that your Crock-Pot or slow cooker should be no more than two-thirds’ full. Many people own two (or more) slow-cooker appliances for this very reason.

Day 2: Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken & Potatoes

Servings: 4

What You Need

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 lb. red potatoes (about 3), very thinly sliced

1 tsp. paprika

8 small bone-in chicken thighs (2 lb.), skin removed

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup

1/4 lb. (4 oz.) ,cheddar cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Make It

PLACE peppers in slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray; top with potatoes. Sprinkle paprika over chicken. Place 4 thighs in slow cooker; cover with soup and remaining thighs. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).

USE slotted spoon to transfer chicken and vegetables to platter; cover to keep warm. Set slow cooker on HIGH heat. Add cheese and Worcestershire sauce to reserved liquid in slow cooker; stir. Cover with lid; cook 5 minutes. Stir until cheese is completely melted and sauce is well blended. Spoon over chicken and vegetables; top with parsley.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

Ever notice how dairy products are generally added to slow-cooker recipes toward the end of the cooking cycle? Foods with milk contents—including sour cream, yogurt or cheese—have a tendency to break down in the slow cooker, which is why they are added last minute.

Day 3: Slow-Cooker Ginger-Nut Apple Betty with Warm Eggnog Custard

Servings: 8

What You Need

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

8 medium apples (about 2 lb.), peeled, cored and sliced

12 Ginger Snaps

2/3 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup Chopped Pecans

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted

1 pkg. (4-serving size)  Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding

2 cups milk

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Make It

MIX sugar, flour and cinnamon in large bowl until well blended. Add apples; toss to evenly coat. Place in bottom of slow cooker. Place cookies in food processor or blender container; cover. Process until finely crushed. Pour into medium bowl. Add oats, pecans and butter; mix well. Sprinkle over apples; cover with lid.

COOK on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours or until heated through. Serve warm or transfer to large bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

EMPTY dry pudding mix into medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Bring milk just to boil on medium-high heat. Gradually add to pudding mix, beating with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in nutmeg. Spoon over individual servings of dessert. Cover and refrigerate any leftover sauce and/or dessert.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

When delicious slow-cooker recipes are finished cooking, the insert of the Crock-Pot or slow cooker should never be placed directly onto a cold surface. Otherwise, you run the risk of cracking the ceramic pot.

Day 4: Slow-Cooker Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Servings: 8

What You Need

2 lb. boneless beef round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup light Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

2 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 large red potato, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup water

1 pkg. (12 oz.) whole wheat egg noodles, uncooked

Make It

HEAT nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat, in batches; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until evenly browned, stirring frequently. Place in slow cooker.

MIX dressing and mustard; pour over meat. Top with next 5 ingredients; cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 hours), cooking noodles as directed on package for the last 15 minutes.

MIX flour and water; stir into meat mixture. Cook, covered, 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened; stir before serving. Serve over drained noodles.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

If you want an even heartier stew, dipping meat into flour prior to browning helps thicken the sauce. While most slow-cooker recipes will include this step in the directions, you can determine how much flour to use depending on your personal preference.

Day 5: Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp

Servings: 12

What You Need

1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

10 Granny Smith apples (3 lb.), peeled, sliced

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

6 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided

12 Wafers, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup Sliced Almonds

Make It

MIX dry pudding mix, 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Toss fruit with 1/4 cup butter in large bowl. Add pudding mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into slow cooker; cover with lid. Cook on LOW 4 to 6 hours (or HIGH 2 to 3 hours).

MEANWHILE, combine chopped wafers, nuts, remaining butter and sugar in shallow microwaveable dish. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute; stir. Microwave 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool.

SPRINKLE with nut mixture just before serving.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

For whatever reason, many people like to sneak a peek at their slow-cooker meal while it’s cooking; nevertheless, resist the urge to open the lid (or stir the stew when making soup). Why? It takes awhile to replenish any moisture that escapes the pot. Remember, slow-cooker recipes include exact cooking directions—follow them carefully.

 

Day 6: Slow-Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Servings: 6

What You Need

1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

2-1/2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

1-1/2 cups each chopped onions, celery and carrots

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub)  Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread

1 pkg. (6 oz.)  Stuffing Mix for Chicken

3/4 cup hot water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Make It

COMBINE chicken, broth, onions, celery and carrots in slow cooker; cover with lid.

COOK on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (or on HIGH for 3-1/2 hours).

ADD peas and cream cheese spread; stir until well blended. Mix stuffing mix, water and eggs until well blended. Drop stuffing mixture, 2 heaping tablespoonfuls at a time, onto chicken mixture in slow cooker. Cook, covered, on HIGH 30 minutes. Gently turn over dumplings. Cook, covered, an additional 15 minutes.

 

Slow Cooker Tip!

If you prefer a thicker soup to soothe the soul, keep in mind that liquid does not evaporate in a slow cooker. Most slow-cooker chicken recipes and soups will reduce the amount of liquids by roughly 20 percent.

 

Day  7: Slow-Cooker Saucy Swiss Steak

Servings: 4

What You Need

1/4 cup Italian dressing

1 boneless chuck blade or shoulder steak (1 lb.), cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup beef broth

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Make It

HEAT dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, coat steaks with flour; gently shake off excess flour. Add to skillet; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until steaks are browned on both sides. Remove from heat.

COMBINE tomatoes, broth and tomato paste in slow cooker. Add steaks and peppers; cover with lid. Cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours (or on LOW 8 to 10 hours).

SPRINKLE with cheese just before serving.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

With slow-cooker recipes, it’s better to brown meat in a skillet before adding it to the Crock-Pot or slow cooker. While you can add the meat without following this prep step, it enhances the flavor of the meal.

Day 8: Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Servings: 8

What You Need

1/4 cup Italian dressing

3 lb. mixed chicken thighs and drumsticks

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup each red and green pepper strips

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves

4 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice

Make It

HEAT dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, in batches; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned on all sides.

PLACE mushrooms, onions, peppers and garlic in slow cooker; top with chicken. Combine tomatoes and thyme; pour over ingredients in slow cooker. Cover with lid. Cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 5 hours).

SERVE chicken mixture over rice.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

Meat tends to cook faster than vegetables in the slow cooker. For slow-cooker chicken recipes that include veggies, place them at the bottom of the pot so they will be closer to the heat source.

Day 9: Slow-Cooker Green Beans, Tomatoes and Bacon

Servings: 8

What You Need

2 slices Bacon, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 lb. green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths

1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 tsp. pepper

4 plum tomatoes (about 1/2 lb.), chopped

Make It

COOK and stir bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain bacon. Add onions to drippings; cook and stir until crisp-tender.

ADD beans, broth and pepper; stir. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 40 minutes.

STIR in tomatoes; cook on medium-high heat 3 minutes or until heated through. Top with bacon.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

Never reheat leftovers in the slow cooker. (It’s deemed a slow cooker for a reason!) Instead, use a conventional oven, stovetop or microwave to warm up what’s left over from slow-cooker recipes.

Day 10: Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Servings: 8

What You Need

1 lb. ground beef

1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1 cup water

1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese

1 pkg. (7 oz.) 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 egg

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Make It

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, egg and parsley.

SPOON 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles (broken to fit) and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles (broken to fit), cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 minutes or until melted.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

Slow-cooker recipes work wonders if your slow cooker is the right size. If you’re not sure which size is best for your household, see below:

1 person = 1-1/2 qt

2 people = 2–3-1/2 qt

3–4 people = 3-1/2–4-1/2 qt

4–5 people = 4-1/2–5 qt

6 or more people = 5-7 qt

Day 11: Slow-Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili

Servings: 8

What You Need

1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) light red kidney beans, rinsed

1-1/2 cups Mild Salsa

1 can (16 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup Mexican-style finely shredded four cheese

Make It

COMBINE beans, salsa, tomato sauce and chili powder in slow cooker. Top with chicken, onions and corn. (Do not stir.) Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours).

STIR before serving. Ladle into bowls. Top with cheese.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

Be conscious of how much time is left before mealtime. It typically takes twice as long to cook slow-cooker recipes on the low-heat setting (around 200 degrees) than the high-heat setting (around 300 degrees).

Day 12:  Slow-Cooker Saucy Meatballs

Servings: 8

What You Need

1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Turkey

1-1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup water

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

2   green peppers, cut into strips

4 cups spaghetti sauce

1 pkg. (1 lb.) spaghetti

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make It

COMBINE stuffing mix, meat, egg and water. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in slow cooker; top with vegetables and sauce. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).

COOK spaghetti as directed on package. Serve meatballs with sauce over spaghetti. Sprinkle with cheese.

Slow-Cooker Tip!

When trying out slow-cooker recipes, make a little extra for dinner or snacking the following day. For example, the extra sauce and meatballs in this recipe could be used for an easy meatball sub sandwich or hot appetizer, or simply make more noodles and add the meatballs to a delicious baked pasta dish.

About the Author:

Sue Colburn believes in new beginnings… For her “retirement” from teaching 7th grade Social Studies she set her sights on breaking into the Food Media industry. Just like she taught her students: “ain’t nothin to it, but to DO IT.” If you’d like a food article for your site please email her: SusanColburn@gmx.com. When not writing or cooking, Sue spends time with her 2 granddaughters, 3 children, 8 cats and her high-school sweetheart, who by the grace of God she also married.

If you’d like to write a guest post for me, please get in touch.

The Hilton- Afternoon Tea Christmas style!

Last week Mrs. J and I went along to the Hilton for the launch of their Christmas Cocktails and Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Metropole Lounge.

Our coats were taken and we were shown into the chilled out lounge area to a table displaying the various cocktails and afternoon teas on offer, including one for men complete with a mini burger and a whiskey!

After chatting to some of the accommodating Hilton staff, we took a seat and were brought a Christmas cocktail aptly named ‘A Partridge in a Pair Tree’ and a cake stand filled with Christmas themed delights! We dug into the Christmas shaped sandwiches and then worked our way down to the generous helping of cakes and sweets.

Hightlights were the Christmas tree iced biscuit, the snowman cupcake and the mini mince pies. There were also lots of cocktail samples doing the rounds which were a nice accompaniment to the cakes.

The Metropole Lounge is a very nice venue, made even better by the musician that was playing while we were there. Singing her own acoustic versions of well-known songs, she was outstanding! I would go back just to listen to her beautiful voice.

The Hilton have lots of themed afternoon teas including a recent Halloween one which is a very good idea. Priced at £19.95 with mulled wine or £14.95 without, I think it will appeal to lots of shoppers during the Christmas rush. I would be interested to go along on a normal day to sample the orignal Welsh version complete with tea as I’ve heard they have an impressive selection!

Christmas Afternoon Tea is available until 30th December so if the Christmas shopping madness all become too much, you know where to go!

Win! I Want To Bake Free goodies!

I WANT TO BAKE FREE COMPETITION!

 

Win BOTH Great British Bake Off cookbooks

Series 1 [2010]

and

Series 2 [2011]

courtesy of I Want To Bake Free!

The fabulous I Want To Bake Free has a stand at the Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre ‘Festive Food Fair 2011’  on Saturday 10th December with all profits from sales on the stand going to the charity  LATCH .

I Want to Bake Free will be selling cakes, bakes and gifts, putting a festive twist on some old tea room favourites!

COMPETITION!

YOU CAN WIN… all you have to do is enter anytime on

Saturday 10th December 2011

TOP PRIZE A Copy of the Great British Bake Off Series 1 and Series 2 Cook books

along with an exclusive ‘I Want to Bake Free’ apron, teatowel, cotton bag and pin badge!

3 Ways to Enter: (TIP: Increase your chances by trying each one)

IN PERSON

Visit the I Want To Bake Free Stand

Leave your email address

AND

ON TWITTER

Follow  @want2bakefree  and  @urlastmouthful

Tweet  “I Want to Bake Free! so do you?  @want2bakefree

AND

ON FACEBOOK

Like on Facebook  http://facebook.com/iwanttobakefree

Share COMMENT, which will appear at 8am on

Saturday 10th December, to your page

The Winner:

We will be writing down everyone’s names and putting them into a hat to be drawn on Sunday 11th December by an independent adjudicator. The winner will be notified on Twitter/Facebook/Email on Sunday 11th Dec. The prizes will be posted out on Monday 12th Dec by Parcelforce 48 hours so should arrive by Wednesday 14th Dec (Well in time for Christmas).

Runners Up:

The top 5 runners up will get an EXCLUSIVE  SIGNED ‘I Want to Bake Free’ Teatowel posted to them

Everyone Else:

If you enter you will get one ‘I Want to Bake Free’ sticker! As this is raising money for charity (and trying to save money to set up a tea room) all that is asked is that you send a SAE [Stamped Addressed Envelope] I  Want To Bake Free will DM you an address on or around Saturday 10th Dec.

Sugar Pop Cakes- Perfect for Christmas!

Keen baker Sian Barker, launched Sugar Pop Cakes in September this year. After a an introduction on twitter, Sian sent me some samples. These included my first Christmas themed cakes of the year!

Sian has always loved cooking but baking is her real passion. After spending time baking for family and friends and enjoying it, Sian started a cake decorating course where she picked up some helpful tips.

As people started to pay for her creations, Sian realised that this was something she could make some extra money from and with a little help from her family, sugar pop cakes was born!

Sian has a steady flow of work which has been generated by word of mouth and she is even providing small cakes for pasta pot in Cardiff. Sian would love to do this full-time and it seems as though she might be on track. Having only launched in September this year, she is dong well and her professional looking website certainly caught my eye.

So now to the cakes…

Sian gave me four cakes, nicely presented in little white boxes with a gift tag bearing the sugar pop cakes logo and detailing the flavour. At £1.50 per cake, I was impressed. The cakes were a good size but not too large.

My little hoard of cakes included the flavours chocolate and strawberry and cream. I had one each of the normal designs and one of each flavour in a Christmas edition which were adorable!

The chocolate cake original design was simply decorated with chocolate icing and topped with little round chocolate sweets. I thought that they were going to be Maltesers so i was waiting for the crunch but when I bit into them, they were toffee which was soft like the cake and worked better than Maltesers would have. There was also a sprinkling of honeycomb which added colour and texture.

The chocolate Christmas cupcake was decorated as a cute rain deer with chocolate antlers and a sugar icing face. This would definitely appeal to children.

The strawberry and cream cakes were my favourite. The original one was decorated with a    Cream coloured icing with pink fleck running through it with a little icing strawberry on top. The cake was filled with a strawberry jam which was really nice and kept the cake moist. The christmas cupcake was iced and topped with a sugar icing Santa which was very lovely. He looked so friendly I almost didn’t want to eat him (almost!)

Have a look at the sugar pop cakes website and see what you think.

My last mouthful was: Strawberry and Cream cupcake

Service-

Presentation-

Quality of porduct-

Diversity of products-

Value for money-

Overall rating

Christmas is coming! Booked your Christmas party yet?

I know it’s only November but when it comes to booking your Christmas party you need to get in there quickly, but where to go?

Here is a selection of Christmas menu’s for you to help you make up your mind.

Mulberry Street

Mulberry Street have a whole host of Christmas menus! You can have a two course lunch for £12.95, Christmas dinner for £21.95 or £25.95 for a two or three course meal. There is also a Christmas desert menu and a little dishes menu.

Chrsitmas lunch menu

Christmas Dinner menu

Christmas desert menu

Christmas little dishes menu

Pier 64

Pier 64 in Penarth Marina have a lunch menu priced at £16.95 for two courses and £19.95 for three courses and a dinner menu priced at £21.95  for two courses and£25.95 for three courses.

Christmas Lunch Menu

Christmas Dinner Menu

Grosvenor Casino

It may not be somewhere that immediately comes to mind for a Christmas dinner but Grosvenor Casino do offer a Christmas menu.

Grosvenor Casino Christmas menu

Fusion Cafe

New to the scene, Fusion Cafe have put together a lovely looking Christmas menu. You can choose from three courses for £19 pr 5 course for £25.

Fusion Christmas Menu

The White Hart Village Inn

The White Hart Inn are doing a great looking menu for £29.95 including coffee and mince pies. They are also open on Christmas Day if you prefer not to cook.

The White Hart Village Inn’s Christmas Menu’s

The Bear

The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge have 2 menu’s on offer. A festive lunch menu for £15.95 and an evening menu for£22.95. Both are three courses and come with coffee and mince pies.

Festive Lunch menu

Festive Dinner menu

The Meating Place

The Meating Place have  a three course dinner for £27.50

Christmas menu

Greenwood and Brown

A brand new pub opening in Cardiff in December! The Greenwood and Brown have a two course and a three course Christmas menu for £24 and £29.

Greenwood and Brown Christmas Menu

The Inn at the Elm Tree

The Inn at the Elm Tree and offering a 3 course meal for £22 during the day and £29.95 in the evening.

Christmas menu

Ffresh

At FFresh you can have a two or a three course Christmas meal for £20.95 and £24.95.

Christmas menu

The Chandlery

The Chandlery have a lunch and dinner Christmas offering for £24 for lunch and £28.50 for dinner

Christmas Lunch

Christmas Dinner

Maltsters

Maltsters in Cardiff are offering a Gastro Chrsitmas Party Menu. It’s £16.95 for two course or £19.95 for three courses.

Maltsters Christmas menu

Food Bloggers Christmas Party!

Earlier this week on Twitter I suggested that we should have a Cardiff Food Bloggers Christmas party and I got a good response so I thought it would be a good idea to create something to sign up.

If you’re interested in coming along let me know so we have an idea of numbers and then we can start looking at dates and a venue.

If you’re a restaurant in Cardiff or the surrounding  area and you would like to host us, please comment and let us know! We have already had a few offers from bear Hotel,  Coed-Y- Mwstwr, Bunch of grapes and White Heart Inn.

Click on the Christmas pudding to sign up!

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