My immediately family is quite large. When we get together over the holidays, it’s like a yule tide flash mob has descended on Grandma’s house! Feeding this army can be a challenge, but we manage by dividing and conquering the holiday menu.
Grandma makes the turkey and dressing. My sister-in-law makes the desserts. My sister makes cheesy potatoes with help from my nieces. My brothers and I make assorted menu items to complete the smorgasbord. This year, I wanted to make a wild rice dish because my dad, who died in 1995, loved having wild rice at the holidays. Wild rice can take quite a while to cook, so it’s perfect for the slow cooker, which is great for transporting a hot dish on a road trip to Grandma’s.
I almost put bacon in this recipe, but because I was traveling with the dish I decided to go with Italian sausage instead. Bacon would have been great, but you wouldn’t want to put it in the dish until 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve. Otherwise it would lose it crunchiness. I’ve also tried versions of this recipe with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, but I find in general that vegetable broth has such a subtle flavor that it doesn’t hold up against the earthiness of wild rice. So a chicken (or turkey) broth is a better option.
For me the star ingredients are the edamame (possibly my favorite vegetable – after potatoes, of course!) and the sun-dried tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes pack a lot of flavor and it adds a nice counter-punch to the wild rice. This recipe makes at least 16 servings (I was feeding an army, remember), so if you have a smaller group just halve the recipe for your brood.
4 1/2 cups uncooked blend of wild rice, brown rice and red rice
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
42 ounces chicken broth
16 ounces edamame, shelled
16 ounces bulk Italian sausage
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
In a medium skillet, brown the Italian sausage and break into chunks. Cook thoroughly and remove from heat.
In a 6-quart slow cooker, mix all the ingredients. Stir to incorporate, then cover and cook on high heat for about 1 hour. Stir again. Set heat to low and cook for another 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
This taco soup recipe is perfect for your next Taco Tuesday. And because you put it all in a slow cooker, you can either siesta or fiesta while it does its own cooking!
Personally, I don’t like super spicy foods but the beauty of a soup recipe like this is your can “plug and play” or “dial up or down” the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. For example, you might substitute the kidney beans with black-eyed peas. Or you might use ground beef instead of ground turkey – or go meatless all together.
This recipe also utilizes spices that together make your own homemade taco seasoning. So rather than buying the prepackaged seasoning that has lots of extra ingredients you can’t taste and your body doesn’t really need, just double up a batch of this taco seasoning and store in an airtight container in your pantry. Ole!
12 ounces corn with sweet peppers, canned, undrained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
sour cream, for garnish
tortilla chips, for garnish
In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until browned. Break up the meat as it cooks.
In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the cooked ground turkey, black beans, garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), dark kidney beans, chili beans, tomatoes and corn. Stir in the seasoning mix until well blended.
Cover and cook on high-heat for 3 hours. (For a low-heat setting, cooking will take 6 to 8 hours - perfect for a daylong siesta.)
Top each bowl with sour cream and tortilla chips, if desired.
This is hands-down the easiest potato soup recipe ever. German potato soup is hearty and provides the perfect warm-up for a cold winter day.
Using prepared hash browns for the potato base makes it a no-muss, no-fuss recipe with very little kitchen clean up. And canned sauerkraut is much easier and (usually) as good – but if you want to make the entire recipe from scratch, get out the potato peeler and here’s a sauerkraut recipe from (my food icon) Alton Brown.
This German potato soup also freezes well, so make a double batch to have on hand for that Sunday dinner when you don’t feel like cooking.
German Potato Soup
In a 5-quart slow cooker, place sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut and mustard. Pour chicken broth over all and gently stir. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours (or 2 to 4 hours on high-heat setting).
Garnish with crispy bacon and shredded Cheddar cheese. Serve with warm, buttered bread to experience total carb-induced euphoria.
1 pound cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
28 ounces diced hash brown potatoes with onion and peppers (if utilizing prepared frozen hashbrowns, defrost in refrigerator for about 3 hours before using)
16 ounces sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
5 1/4 cups chicken broth
crispy bacon bits and shredded Cheddar cheese, for garnish
In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until celery and onions are transparent. Stir in flour, paprika, black pepper and ground red pepper. Add broth; heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat; stir in whipping cream and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in beer.
Scoop out sweet potatoes into a food processor in small batches. Puree, then pour into saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chicken broth and buttermilk. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in cheese and add salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and enjoy.
In 10-inch skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add shallots and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown - constantly stirring. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to let drain. In skillet, add ginger and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in pumpkin and salt. Heat thoroughly, stirring. Garnish with shallots and serve. Creates 4 servings.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 can pumpkin
14 ounces stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Spray 6-quart pot with nonstick cooking spray. Pat chicken breasts dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat pot on medium-high and add chicken. Cook for up to 4 minutes or until browned all over, stirring regularly.
Add pumpkin, stewed tomatoes, peanut butter, water and coriander. Break up tomatoes with a spoon. Heat to boiling, on high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes - or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Makes 4 servings.
In 4-quart saucepan, melt butter on medium-high. Add onion and cook for 1 minute. Add cumin, cook for 1 minute and stir frequently. Add pumpkin, chicken broth and water. Cover and heat to boiling on high. Stir in salt and serve. Makes 4 servings.
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 cup vegetable oil
ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Place racks in top third and middle of oven. Arrange potato wedges in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1/4 cup oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake until golden brown, crisp and cooked through - about 40 minutes. Flip potatoes halfway through to crisp more thoroughly.
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
4 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and ground pepper
Heat grill to medium. In large bowl, gently toss zucchini, squash, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, lift vegetables from marinade and grill covered (turning once) until tender (6 to 8 minutes). Reserve marinade. Drizzle grilled vegetables with remaining marinade and serve.