Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

There is something comforting about a nice, hot bowl of soup. Even better when it requires little prep time and can be ready & waiting for you at dinner. This hamburger soup is very hearty, and my version is pretty low carb (so my diabetic hubby can have a huge bowl – this is his favorite soup!) but feel free to add potatoes, corn, carrots, anything you like.

Crock Pot Hamburger Soup

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use pre-cooked ground beef for a “hands off” meal, or you can add the hamburger raw, allowing it to cook in the broth, but you have to be available to stir and break up the beef as it cooks. You also need to use very lean ground beef for this method, or you will have greasy soup! I’ve made that mistake, so I’ve learned to start writing the fat content on my ground beef if I am freezing it raw. However, I prefer to cook large quantities of ground beef in the crock pot, then freeze in 2 pound portions so it’s ready for recipes like this.

Hamburger Soup

Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef*
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I like to use Delmonte Diced Tomatoes w/Green Peppers & Onions)
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) green beans (I drain one, and use the liquid from the other, depends on the amount of broth you like)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon crushed bay leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • *pre-cooked or raw. If adding raw beef, soup will need to be stirred & beef broken up as it cooks.

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to slow-cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Stir before serving, add additional salt & pepper as needed.
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I sometimes add carrots, but as stated earlier, feel free to add any veggies you like. It’s also good with rice. I usually have Cornbread Muffins or Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread with it, because the kids and I still love our carbs! (This can also be made on the stove top, but it’s just so easy to let it simmer in the crock-pot all day!)
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife, Life with Lorelai (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Meat Lover’s Pizza Dip

So, I heard there’s a big football game coming up pretty soon. And y’all know me, any excuse to make & eat party food. This pizza dip would be great for a Super Bowl party (or any party), for after school snacking, or you can go crazy and eat it for dinner (which is exactly what my husband did one night recently.) It can be a low-carb alternative to traditional pizza, depending on what you eat it with.

Meat Lovers Pizza Dip

You can also add whatever pizza toppings you like. I made this a ‘Meat Lover’s’ version, full of (turkey) pepperoni, seasoned ground beef, and bacon. Sausage and Canadian Bacon would have been good too.

Meatza Pizza Dip

This is a cheesy, creamy dip, that is good with tortilla chips, corn chips, pita chips, toasted French bread, bread sticks, and the list goes on. I wasn’t a big fan of the pretzels used in the above pic however. They turned a little soft & I didn’t like the texture. Of course, the dip is also good eaten with a spoon!

Pizza Dip

Meat Lover's Pizza Dip

Meat Lover's Pizza Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, (or homemade)
  • 1/4-1/2 pound lean ground beef, cooked & crumbled (I added oregano, garlic powder & onion flakes while cooking)
  • Pepperoni (desired amount; turkey pepperoni is less fat/grease); divided
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Bacon pieces (desired amount)
  • Chips/bread/etc for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, oregano, and garlic salt in a medium sized bowl until blended.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly into a 9 inch pie pan.
  4. Top cream cheese with pizza sauce.
  5. Sprinkle ground beef and a few pepperonis on top of sauce.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Remove from oven and top with cheeses, additional pepperoni, and bacon pieces.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and pepperonis are beginning to crisp and brown.
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Recipe adapted from Belle of the Kitchen and my Pizza Casserole

As you can see, the amounts and ingredients are very versatile. Anything you like on pizza will probably work well in this dip. Feel free to add more or less meat, cheese, and spices.

Will you be watching the Super Bowl? Thought about what food you will be serving? That is the most important part, right?
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Loose Meat Sandwiches

So, if you’re all like ‘loose…whaaat?’ Then I’m with ya. That was my first response when I saw it a while back on Pinterest. Being the Southern gal I am, loose meat is not something I’ve heard of or eaten before, and honestly, it doesn’t sound all that appetizing. But neither does Dump Cake or White Trash Mix and those are the bomb. Apparently loose meat is a mid-western thing. I was curious and decided to give it a try.

loose meat prep

Basically, it’s ground beef, simmered in water, broth and seasonings until the water cooks out and the meat is left very flavorful.  It kind of looks like a Sloppy Joe, but does not taste like one. It is somewhat reminiscent of Cincinnati Chili in the seasonings used and cooking technique, but without the tomato base. In other words…it’s unique and you just need to try it!

loose meat sandwiches

The best thing of all is that my kids liked it. ALL THREE of them. That in itself is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

little man loves loose meat

Even more incredible is that my 7 year old, who eats very little meat, LOVED it. He ate two the first night, and ate leftovers on two other occasions. I was thrilled to get some meat in that kid. Don’t be jealous over my ‘fine china’. And please ignore my son’s lack of clothing. Dressing for dinner is optional around here. Dressing at all is optional in his opinion. Ahhh, to be 7. And have no body fat.

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef*
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 chicken boullion cubes
  • *NOTE: Very lean meat is needed for this recipe because you do not brown the meat & drain it ahead of time. I used 93/7.

Instructions

  1. Bring ground beef, chopped onion and water to a low boil on medium high heat, in a large skillet. Be sure to mash/break up the ground beef as it is cooking.
  2. Stir and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink.
  3. Once meat is cooked through, add the vinegar, sugar, soy & Worcestershire sauces, along with the rest of the seasonings and bouillon.
  4. Continue to stir often on a low boil, until most of the water has cooked out and mixture thickens.
  5. Scoop 'loose meat' onto rolls and serve.
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Recipe Source: Southern Plate

A sturdy roll/bun is recommended otherwise it’s going to get soggy & fall apart. I’m not a fan of soggy bread, so I made sure to cook my beef until almost all of the water was gone. You can leave some “juice” and strain the beef out if you would rather. The bun will soak up some of that broth and I’m sure is pretty good that way too. I used the new King’s Hawaiian Hamburger Buns. Traditionally, loose meat is served with pickles and mustard, which I liked. My son opted for ketchup….which he puts on pretty much everything.

So what about you? Familiar with loose meat? I love discovering & learning about popular regional foods.

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Happy Cinco de Mayo 2015

In honor of Cinco de Mayo or as I like to call it…May 5th…I thought I would highlight an oldie but goody. I’m pretty sure it’s about as far from authentic Mexican fare as you can get, but hey, it features crack Doritos, making it popular with the kiddoes.

Since I will be running kids around to softball practices, someone enjoy a margarita for me please!

Let’s get loco with Doritos Taco Bake

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner I thought I would get in the spirit with this taco casserole. It’s kinda like a Doritos Locos Taco in casserole form, but with enchilada sauce…because I couldn’t decide between tacos and enchiladas, but I knew I wanted the Doritos…so yeah, this is what I came up with! I’ve made different versions in the past, and they always go over well with the kiddoes. Because, duhhh, it has Doritos!

Doritos Taco Bake

1 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 packet taco seasoning (plus amount of water called for on packet)
1 (10 oz.) can Enchilada Sauce
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup (I like this homemade version)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 cups Mexican Blend cheese, shredded (or your favorite cheese)
approx. 3/4 of 11 oz bag Doritos, coarsely crushed
  • Pre-heat oven to 350. 
  • Cook ground beef in skillet on medium high heat until cooked through, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. 
  • Drain hamburger if needed and combine with water and taco seasoning and cook as directed on packet.
  • Once the seasoned meat is done, add 1 cup of cheese, the cream of chicken soup, yogurt, and enchilada sauce to the meat. Stir to combine. 
  • In a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 casserole dish, add the meat mixture. Top with remaining cheese and cover with crushed Doritos.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. (This is optional, I just like to have the Doritos nice and crispy on top.)
  • Serve with desired toppings such as lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

You may also like Dorito Chicken Taco BakeChipotle Taco Bake, or Ghetto Tacos. What can I say? We like Doritos around here!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Sowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysSimple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Super Bowl Round-Up

If some of you are like me and just now digging out from the snow, you may be heading to the grocery store to stock up on supplies for the game tomorrow. I may not know who’s playing, but I have my Super Bowl menu pretty much figured out – priorities.

(Pictured, left to right)
and if you like any of those, you may also like:
Chicken BBQ in the Crockpot
-OR-
“Cheater” Chili (super quick and easy, 3 ingredients!)
and just a suggestion, but the best chips ever (IMO)
Let’s not forget the dessert!
Chicago Mix (for the sweet and salty lover – just sub out the candy corn for your favorite candy!)
Looking for something simple and low fat? The 2-Ingredient Angel Food Cake is the ticket.
Or, need something low carb?
These Cinnamon Crunchies will satisfy the low-carber’s sweet tooth!
You can also turn almost anything you have on hand into a delicious flatbread or pizza…just stock up on some Stonefire Flatbreads. They are delicious!
{Disclosure} I was sent samples to try, and there will definitely be more of these in my future. Expect some recipe posts soon!
You can also keep things neat and tidy by having Stonefire Pita Bread ready for filling at your Super Bowl gathering. That way, when people jump up and down, the contents won’t go flying everywhere 🙂 Yep, always thinking over here. ha!
Have a great weekend!

Oven Baked Tacos

I saw this idea floating around Pinterest and it seemed like a really good idea for my family of five. I think it would be great to have a large dish of tacos ready for the taking on Super Bowl Sunday too! At my house, it allows everyone to sit down at the same time on taco night instead of waiting for each person to fill their taco with meat, get their cheese AND preparing tacos like this eliminates the worry that the meat and cheese is going to run out! I can evenly divide everything and heat the shells all at the same time.

Once heated, you can add the toppings or you can let everyone add their own. I usually add the lettuce (and mix in a little spinach) to the whole dish (after heating), since that’s about all my kids will eat on their tacos.
But I like to add extra sauce, sour cream (or plain yogurt) and cilantro to mine.
My little man loves some tacos! He was shoveling it in with both hands.
There is no real recipe to this, just prepare your taco meat/filling as you normally would. Then add the meat to the taco shells. Line the shells up in a casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until the cheese is nice and melted.
It comes in handy when feeding a crowd…or just 3 hungry kids!

Bubble Up Taco Casserole

With everything going on this holiday season (Christmas is 3 weeks away! Yikes!!) everyone needs a few simple recipes in their arsenal. I mean really, when you’ve spent every moment shopping, planning, wrapping, decorating and pinning Elf on the Shelf ideas…you need something easy to throw together for dinner. Bubble Up Pizza is the third most popular recipe on my site, probably for just that reason.  It’s super easy, it’s kid-friendly, and hey, it’s pizza!  I’ve made it for my kids several times myself, but when I saw the new Pillsbury Corn Biscuits, I immediately decided that a new version was in order….Bubble Up Taco!  As with the pizza version, this uses just a few basic ingredients –

and you could add any additional toppings you like (olives, green chilies, etc.) Of course, my kids wouldn’t eat anything other than the basics.

It’s pretty tasty, it’s simple to throw together, and I love the corn biscuits. (They have blueberry too. I made Blueberry Maple Pull Apart Casserole with those. YUMMM.)

Bubble Up Taco Casserole

  • 1 cans Pillsbury Corn Biscuits
  • 1/2 can Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 cup Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1/2 lb. taco meat (lean ground beef or turkey with taco seasoning added)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
Cut biscuits into quarters or eighths (I did some of both – these biscuits are pretty large) and place in medium bowl.  
Toss biscuits with enchilada sauce.  
Add taco meat and any additional ingredients you may want (green chilies, etc.) and half of the cheese. Toss until well blended.  
Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour biscuit mixture into pan and top with remaining cheese.  
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until biscuits are done. (Check center for doneness – it should be somewhat firm in the middle. Biscuits are going to remain soft because they are covered in sauce, but they shouldn’t be gooey.)
 
*This recipe is easily doubled to make a 9 x 13 size
When serving, add lettuce, sour cream, salsa, etc. However you like your tacos, you can add it to this. You can also adjust the enchilada sauce to your tastes…some people will want more sauce. My only complaint is that I wanted more spice! My kids need to toughen up their taste buds 🙂

Italian Meatball Sliders & GIVEAWAY!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of McCormick & Company for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
When I think of meatballs, I think of labor intensive and time-consuming. However, that’s not the case at all wtih this Herbed Turkey Meatballs recipe from McCormick.com. They came together quickly, baked up in less than 20 minutes, and tasted delicious!

I decided to make meatball sliders as a quick meal before heading out for my girls’ volleyball games. My middle child loved these! I loved the fact that they were simple to prepare, flavorful, had a great texture (sometimes meatballs have a weird texture that I don’t like), and they weren’t greasy in the least…

See…almost no grease! I used a very lean ground beef (90/10) but the original recipe calls for ground turkey, which would also work great as I use turkey quite often. Even though the meat was very low in fat, the meatballs had a great flavor from the blend of spices.

I threw in some red pepper flakes for a few of the meatballs (not all, since I knew my kids would not like any heat!) The Herbed Turkey Meatballs have a blend of basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper; combined with bread crumbs. I used plain Japanese Panko bread crumbs and spices by McCormick. I think next time I may reduce the garlic just a little, but that’s just a personal preference – we aren’t huge garlic fans. Meatballs can be used for any number of dishes, but since we were so short on time, I thought sliders would be a good option. I took a roll, split it, added a little pizza sauce, topped it with the meatballs and reduced fat mozzarella cheese, and baked for a few minutes – until the cheese was nice and melted.

YUM! I am definitely adding these to my “make again” list – I can see meatball subs, spaghetti and meatballs, meatball sub casserole, meatballs in sauce….all in our future. We enjoyed them so much, I made a video…I’m calling it the original ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’. haha, enjoy my “movie”!

Now, onto the giveaway! How would you like to win this McCormick Gift Set?

Nice right?! I would personally love to win this myself! All you need to do to qualify is answer the question “What’s your favorite McCormick Spice?” in the comment section of this post!
For additional entries, you can also “like” McCormickSpice on Facebook; @Spices4Health on Twitter and @mccormickspices on Pinterest. Just leave a seperate comment for each additional thing you do.  (Shipping is only available within the US.)  *GIVEAWAY ENDS 10/20/13 at midnight EST*
Visit Sponsor's Site

Crockpot Hamburgers in Gravy & Menu Monday

Recently, I posted how to cook ground beef in the crock pot (aka slow cooker), and it got me to thinking…what about hamburger patties in the crock pot?  I wasn’t sure if it would work or not, I was afraid the patties would just fall apart, but they didn’t!  It actually worked out well.  I started with lean frozen hamburger patties…

Excuse my terrible cell phone picture. The patties look gross and freezer burned, but they weren’t.
 I stacked 6 patties in my crock pot (with a liner – completely optional, it just makes clean up so easy!)  I added hamburger seasoning, water and beef bouillon. (You could use a cup of beef broth or beef consomme)  I would have added onions too, but I was out.  I let them cook for 6 hours on high.
If you have a packet of gravy mix, or a can of Cream of Mushroom, you could go ahead and add those too, I would think.  I, however, didn’t have either of those (can you tell I needed to go to the store!), so I removed the hamburgers at the end of the cook time and added the liquid to a skillet. To the liquid (basically beef broth, because I used lean ground beef), I added homemade cream of chicken and brought it to a boil so it would thicken up.  I then put the hamburger in the skillet with the gravy and let it all simmer together while I got the sides done and table set, etc.  It only took a few minutes.  As you can tell, I’m not a gravy connoisseur.  If you actually know how to make gravy, you may be able to do it all in the crock pot and skip this step, or make the gravy and add to it.  This is just what worked for me with the stuff I had on hand.

Crock Pot Hamburgers in Gravy

Lean Beef Hamburger Patties (I used 6)
1 cup water
1 tsp beef bouillon
homemade cream of chicken (equivalent to 1 can)
salt and pepper – to taste
Place patties (mine were frozen, I think you would need to reduce cook time if using fresh) in crock pot with water and beef bouillon (or beef broth). Cook on high for 6 hours.  Remove patties and use broth to make gravy. Add broth to skillet and add homemade cream of chicken soup, bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Add hamburgers, stir, and add salt and pepper as needed.  I don’t like to add salt at the beginning of a dish in the crock pot, b/c sometimes it ends up way too salty.
NOTES: As stated above, you could probably make the gravy in the pot with the patties if you have prepared Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, Golden Mushroom, gravy mix, etc.  Also, this is a very basic version of hamburgers in gravy.  If your family likes mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, etc., have at it!
I served this with Cauliflower Gratin and canned green beans. We love some canned green beans.  Exciting, I know.
Something new I am trying to do is MENU PLAN! I don’t know about y’all, but for me, it’s hard and time consuming!  However, it really helps me out during the week to have a plan.  Granted, it often changes, but at least I have a general idea of what I want to make based on the ingredients I have on hand.  I base our meals for the week on what is already in the pantry/freezer and then make a list of things I need to get to finish out a recipe.  I’ve been doing menu plans since January, and thought I would begin to post them on the blog.  Maybe it will help someone else out!  I can also keep up with what I have made, what worked, etc.  So here goes…
MondayChicken & Dumpling Casserole (I have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge that I am going to use)
TuesdaySausage, Egg & Biscuit Breakfast Casserole (We love breakfast for dinner. I have some homemade turkey sausage in the freezer.)
WednesdayCrockpot BBQ Beer Chicken (hopefully I will make homemade buns to put it on, but we’ll see how that goes!)
Thursday – leftovers or pasta
Friday – French Bread Pizzas (loaf of bread in freezer, easy homemade pizza sauce in fridge)
Saturday & Sunday – I’ve left open because I don’t know what our plans are yet.
If you do not have time to menu plan, you should check out Eat at Home’s Weekly Meal Plans.  She does all the work for you!  You get a slow cooker AND traditional menu plan each week, emailed to you, with a grocery list, printable recipes, side dish suggestions and more, for only $4 a MONTH!
So what about you? Do you plan out your meals or just wing it?