Tag Archives: slow cooker

Homemade Ketchup

Oh hey, remember me?

I’m back!

Thank you thank you all for your congratulations.  He’s definitely a keeper 😉 I guess this means I have a wedding to plan, now, so….yikes.  For now, let’s stick to cooking.

If you recall, before “the great distraction” I promised you homemade ketchup.

So I did that.  Like a crazy person.

I made some ketchup. From scratch.

Well..kinda.  I cheated a little and started with tomato paste.  I guess for this to be really legitimate I should have started with whole tomatoes that I plucked fresh from my garden this morning, still warm from the sun…

Baby steps.

Before we go further and before you write me off I need to acknowledge that Heinz is ketchup and ketchup is Heinz forever and ever amen.

I went into this knowing that whatever I produced, (if it didn’t completely flop), might be good.  It might even be really super delicious.  But it wasn’t going to be Heinz.

That said…this came surprisingly close.

The flavor is totally there.  The difference is the texture.

Heinz is super smooth and glossy.  Mine was pretty tomato paste….y.

I’m ok with it.  It was delicious.  Also homemade so what’s wrong with a bit of a rustic feel?

So maybe you’re (definitely) not going to make this every day but it’s a fun thing to try!  What’s more gourmet than homemade condiments?

It’s also really ridiculously easy if you happen to be the proud owner of a slow cooker (there I go again…these things are GREAT!).  I promise there’s nothing scary about this.

Toss the necessary ingredients in there, let it go until it looks like ketchup, tell people you made their ketchup, watch the bewildered looks of horror/awe/respect.

((Clarification: Looks of horror result from thoughts of “who DOES that!?” not “this is gross” because it’s not gross it’s delicious.  Don’t worry))

See that ketchup oozing out of that beany burger?

I made that.  No big deal.

Don’t be jealous. You, too, can have homemade ketchup ooze.  It is a beautiful thing.


❤ Ellen

Homemade Ketchup

Recipe adapted from This Ketchup Recipe

2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 c cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder or Adobo seasoning (seriously)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups water

1. Measure all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for about 2 hours or low for 4. The longer you let it go the more it cooks down-just stop it when it looks like ketchup to you.

Note: Half of this recipe is plenty for me.  The whole recipe makes about 16 oz


Filed under Dips, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized

Border Chicken Stew

Tall, dark and handsome right here.

Smells good, neat and tidy, has dinner ready when you get home…

…need I go on?

You need one of these.  It dispenses delicious food like it’s nothing.  Today it gave me this thing I decided to call Border Chicken Stew.

This meal is simple, quick to throw together in the morning, versatile, flavorful, feeds a million for cheapsies, passes the man test and makes the house smell ridiculously delicious.

All my favorite things!!  We should celebrate!!

I propose a canning party.

You’re gonna need all of those.

((All I can think of when I see this photo is Bowling for Soup.  Cue high school flashback))

So first thing first….open them.  All of them.  Maybe you have an electric can opener in your kitchen.  Or maybe you’re me.

Thanks, $10-Target -pots/pans/kitchen-utensil-set.

You have served me well.

Now dump.

It may not be pretty, but crock pot meals are the perfect thing for when the day looks like this:

Gross. It’s ok though…I put some flowers in the way of the rainy cold.

Also I’ve got some comfort food a-cookin’. Nice try, rain.  I made this a good day anyway.

So uh….that’s it.  Now you turn it on low and walk away.

Live your life.

Take it all in.

Enjoy it, for real.

Check the “make dinner” box off your to-do list early.

Dinner is taken care of and you win.

Later, when you’re done with all that life living, give it a stir, shred the chicken, add some hot sauce, clean your single pot and call it a day.

A really great day.

Take that, rain.

❤ Ellen

Border Chicken Stew

Recipe adapted from a family friend’s recipe…thanks, Dennin fam!

I used:

1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
2 (15 oz) cans corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
1 jar salsa (I used Newman’s Own, Medium heat)
about 1 1/5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed of extra fat
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste

Add ins: cheese for topping, hot sauce for sure, sour cream, chips or tortillas…etc.

1. Put beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa and chicken in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3 hours ((low is better..just saying))

2. Shred the chicken, sprinkle some cheese over it so that it gets all melty and serve!

Serve over rice, or treat it like chili with some chips to dip, you might even put it in a tortilla (never tried it…it might be too juicy).

Note: None of those cans of things are set in stone.  It could easily involve less beans and more corn or more beans and less corn, or no corn at all and carrots instead or frozen veg or no chicken or ground beef or really anything you want. Go crazy.


Filed under Main Dish, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized

No-Fry Refried Beans AND Homemade Salsa

DOUBLE ISSUE! Sorry for my prolonged absence.  We’re back in business.

I have this tendency to try to make things no one in their right mind would ever try to make.

Ginger ale? Seriously? Normal people go buy the green can.

I THOUGHT I was doing another crazy thing the other day when I thought to myself, “Gee, I wonder if I could make myself some refried beans.”

Turns out-I was doing a really freaking cool thing that is going to happen on a regular basis from now on.

Daniel dearest LOVES LOVES LOVES Mexican food and bean burritos have become a regular thing thanks to their cheap, quick deliciousness and my recent discovery of homemade salsa which instantly brightens up a kind of mushy very brown meal into something spicy/sweet maybe a little crunchy and deliciously fresh.

This refried beans recipe involves a crock pot and no frying whatsoever.  If you don’t own a crock pot…work on that.

They’re great.  Basically you gather up some ingredients, throw them in a pot in the morning (often with very little chopping or preparation required), tell it to make you a delicious feast AND. IT. DOES!

Who doesn’t love coming home to the smell of dinner ready and waiting?  Like I said…work on that.

So here…let me show you.

Let’s just get everybody together first.

Those 3 guys are going to hang out for about 8 hours and end up a pile of mouth-watering mexi-feast.

The recipe calls for pinto beans and of course that’s delish.  Only have black beans?  Go for it!

Only white beans?  Cool! You can trick people into thinking they’re mashed potatoes!

All I’m saying is…don’t stress about the ingredients.

It’s super flexible.

Real life.

Don’t forget your spices!

Readers, meet cumin.  This part is not super flexible.  You need it.

Does that picture make it look a little like I’m in love with cumin?

That’s ok if it does..because I am.  Full disclosure.

Cumin is the stuff that makes things taste like Mexican food.  We love it.  You will too.

So beans, garlic, onion, salt, cumin and a jalapeno (if you want a kick) jump in a crock pot with some water and come out as burrito filler.  That, my friends, is what we like to call a win.

Keep it simple…tortilla+beans+cheese+salsa.

Or go crazy…get rice involved.  Throw in some chicken (just don’t forget the cumin).  Get creative!

Now put down that homework/screaming child/laundry/broken ice maker parts (ARGH I JUST WANT A BANANA SMOOTHIE!!) and enjoy.

Refried Beans

(Recipe adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com: Refried beans without the refry)

1 onion, peeled and halved

3 cups dry pinto beans, soaked and rinsed

(OR 2 cups pinto and 1/2 cup each of black and white beans…for variety)

1  fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 heaping tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

6 cups water (just fill your slow cooker)

1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High (yes, high.  trust me) for 8 hours.  Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high (I have never had this problem but it’s good to know)
2. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher (or a fork or a whisk actually works nicely I’ve discovered), adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.
P.S.  Keep that water.  You can add a little to leftovers, microwave them and you’re good to go.
This makes a TON of beans which is nice because you can fridge em or freeze em and one day when you don’t have a dinner plan and people are hungry…you have beans for an amazing insta-dinner.  BAM!  Coolest weird thing I ever did.


Wanna make some salsa?

I’m not really going to give you a recipe for this because I know some of you will insist on strictly adhering to the ingredients and proportions.


Use whatever you have.  Use the proportions you like.

The salsa I make usually involves some combo of these ingredients:

I like it to be mostly tomato.

Do you like corn better and hate tomato?  Then make it mostly corn and forget the tomato.

Yeah…salsa without tomato.  Stick it to the man.

Corn is EXCELLENT especially right now. I’ve been putting it on everything.

Choose the color of bell pepper that makes it look prettiest.

Not a big spicy fan?  Leave out the jalapeno seeds but keep that delicious and pretty green flesh.

If you’re feelin like a splurge..add avocado (only at the very very end right before you serve it or it’ll be gross!)

Plus: fruit!  I mostly use mango or pineapple.

I, personally, need to have the fruit in there.

The sweet juices mellow the onion’s sharpness and cool the heat from the jalapeno a bit.  It just balances everything out.

Chop everything up into little pieces, toss them together with some lime juice and some salt.

Call it salsa.

Throw it in a blender if you want to but that tends to make it like salsa soup and I like it chunky.  Especially with those burritos.   That fresh crunch is just…..YUM.  Try it.

I hope you like it.

I like you.

Please subscribe!  Painless I swear!

❤ Ellen


Filed under Slow Cooker