crockpot dinner

Winter is Coming

It’s starting to feel like winter! It’s been 32 degrees in the morning with lots of ice on cars. It’s time to bring out the winter coats. Stevie has found his favorite spot in the new house:

…on the heater!

There’s also a small vent near the floor under the kitchen sink and he’ll sit right in front of that, too. Which is super convenient for us when we are trying to do dishes. 😉

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but because our house is a little weird, we had to do a special situation for AC and heat. The first half of the house is the original 1920’s with vents like the above picture. So the main floor was “AC ready” but because the upstairs was a converted attic, there were no ducts up there. So when we got AC installed in our house this summer we had to do it in two parts. We got traditional AC for the main floor, then we had to get those Mitsubishi ductless units for our bedroom and for Logan’s bedroom.

Because it’s been so cold lately we finally got to use the heat portion of the ductless units and they are AMAZING! So quiet. Super efficient. It doesn’t take much to warm up the room and you can set it up to maintain a certain temperature (instead of just having it run all the time). It will be interesting to see HOW efficient they are on energy. Since we have solar panels on our new house, I am hoping the combination of the panels and the ductless units will save us a ton of money on heating and cooling in the house. Even though we have to spend a lot of money to do two separate systems.

Anyways, this weekend we had the Halloween Party and then Sunday was kind of a chill morning, hanging out with my parents and Logan was playing with his Halloween toys:

After my parents left to head home to Seattle, I went swimming, had a late lunch and then prepped dinner. I decided to make this keto beef stroganoff.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ pounds sirloin steak, thinly sliced (I get my grass-fed meat here)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder (I use this brand of seasonings)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the slow cooker on the high setting. To the slow cooker, add the beef stock and mushrooms and cover.
  2. Heat the butter in a large sautĂŠ pan, over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sautĂŠ until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add them to the slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle the sirloin with salt, add it to the pan and sear on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the steak, heavy cream, sour cream, beef bouillon, Dijon, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

It was pretty easy to make and I love having a crockpot meal! So easy. The only change I did was I added the heavy cream and sour cream one hour before it was going to be done. I didn’t thinking putting it in the crockpot for the whole time would be good–it might curdle or something.

I also used fresh garlic from a friend’s garden! It was so good!

Dinner was really flavorful! I liked it a lot. The sauce was a little thin. Then I realized that it was a SOUP! Duh. I might use less broth next time I make it, though.

I wasn’t sure what to use as a base — I had cauliflower “Rice”, low carb noodles, zoodles, and in the end we used a chickpea pasta rotini instead. Not low carb, but it was really tasty.

Right now I’m not really doing keto. I’m doing more of a low carb/carb cycling program. I saw the above graphic on instagram and I liked the diet suggestion. I might do something like what it suggests, where I do a month of keto, month of low carb, month of something else. Maybe Mediterranean Diet, maybe Paleo or Slow Carb. I just feel like my body adjusts to whatever diet I try REALLY FAST and then it stops working. So maybe doing something like this will be better to switch things up.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

I love chili. It’s healthy and hearty and it’s a filling meal. I used to have an amazing chili recipe for the crockpot but lost the recipe. All attempts to locate that recipe have failed and I’ve never been able to recreate it. That being said, it hasn’t stopped me from trying other recipes. I got this one in the mail with my Fred Meyer coupons (Kroger for the rest of the country I think). I had all the ingredients on hand so I tried it this past weekend.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Serves: 4-6    |   Calories: about 257 depending on serving size

Ingredients:

1 TB vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1 clove minced garlic

1 lb ground turkey

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups pumpkin puree

1.5 TB chili powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 dash salt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

sour cream

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, peppers and garlic until tender.

2. Stir in turkey and cook until evenly browned.

3. Pour meat mixture and veggies into crockpot.

4. Mix in tomatoes and pumpkin and add seasoning.

5. Cover and set on low. Cook 4-5 hours.

6. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.


I did make a few alterations to the recipe. First, I added a can of pinto beans. The recipe did not call for that but I think chili needs beans. And I am so glad I added them! They were a great addition.


I used a Walla Walla sweet onion and one small white onion from my garden. As for the garlic, it called for 1 clove minced. Well, I tend to think that most recipes are too light on garlic so I added three cloves (and that honestly wasn’t enough).


I used lean ground turkey from Costco. We usually have some on hand in the freezer (great for making tacos, enchiladas and turkey burgers). Another change to the recipe: I added more spices than what was called for.


There’s no better aroma than cooking veggies. Yum. While that was cooking in the skillet I dumped the beans, tomatoes and pumpkin into the crockpot.


When the veggies were done I added them to the crockpot and then cooked the turkey separately. My skillet wasn’t big enough to do it all at the same time. I added the ground turkey meat to the crockpot, mixed everything and added the spices. The extra spices I added: a dash of basil, rosemary, “savory” and onion powder.


I also added a splash of cabernet. Just a splash because I didn’t want to overpower the original flavors with the wine. I cooked it for about 5 hours in the crockpot.

When dinner was ready, I toasted Michael and I some bagel thins with cream cheese to go with dinner. It just felt like a comfort food kind of night.


I love bagel thins. They satisfy my bagel cravings without busting the bank on my calories. I also had one glass of wine with my dinner (seen above). We’d spent the afternoon catching up on American Horror Story, The Walking Dead and during dinner we watched Dexter!


The chili was served! I added some shredded Colby Jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream on mine. The chili was really thick, not too liquidy at all despite the above photo. But it wasn’t too thick either. Just right.


I think one of the reasons I like chili so much is because it’s yet another thing I can add sour cream to (addicted!). 🙂 The even better news: Michael HATES chili. With a passion. He won’t eat it, he hates the flavor and textures. It’s on his list of “never eats” (along with oatmeal) yet he had a bite and really liked it! So he had some for dinner. I was so happy that he liked it and was able to eat it.


You would think that the chili would be really sweet because of the pumpkin but it wasn’t sweet at all. It was delicious! Definitely a winner.


The above calculations do NOT include the cheese or sour cream. It’s calculated from the recipe but also not including the beans I added. So if you add beans to the recipe I’d add about 50 calories to each serving. My brother the cook suggested I add whiskey to the recipe. Next time.

I’m excited that I have yummy leftovers for lunches this week!

QUESTION: Do yo have a favorite chili recipe? What about your “will not eat” list? What’s on that?