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Appetizers/ Events & Entertaining

Some Bunnies Bring A Fresh Take To Easter Brunch!

Collective Bias Social Fabric

Some Bunnies Baxter and Bing - KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Everybunny needs a little extra help and a fresh take in the kitchen when it comes to getting ready for family holiday gatherings, like Easter.

Honestly, I get bored with “traditional Easter” menus. I don’t love ham and I prefer my eggs scrambled or omeletted (yes, that’s a word in my world). Many of the traditional Easter foods I grew up with I just don’t care for as an adult. But that’s not to say that I don’t like to cook with many of the ingredients found in these dishes. I’m simply challenged to find a way to incorporate those ingredients in ways that will excite my palate – and those of the 23 members of my immediate family when we get together for an Easter brunch. [Yes, when the ENTIRE family gets together we have that many in the immediate family, not counting pets!]

So I accepted a challenge to use three varieties of KRAFT #FreshTake Cheese & Breadcrumb mixes to create side dishes for Easter brunch on this #shop for #Collective Bias. But I knew I had to get some help from some bunnies (actually, they’re apricot-fawn pugs) named Baxter and Bing. They are rescues and the MOST FOOD OBSESSED DOGS my vet and dog trainer have ever seen! That’s probably why the universe put us together. Their help in deciding on what to make for an Easter brunch menu is (almost) always invaluable.

Now Baxter and Bing don’t actually help prep any food (I thought I should call that out, as I’ve been told I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to my dogs). But Bing (the father) and Baxter (the son) may occasionally taste test an ingredient as I cook.

Bing and Baxter aren’t very vocal, unlike their constantly-barking-at-the-wind black pug sisters, Della and Marlo. [Della and Marlo aren’t yet 2 years old, so they’re too young to help out much in the kitchen for now.] But Bing and Baxter can communicate “the world” with a single look, so I pay close attention to their eyes when we “collaborate” on what to make. We “conferred” and decided on using three varieties of KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb mixes for our Easter brunch menu:

  • #FreshTake Italian Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes [Sweden’s version of baked potatoes]
  • #FreshTake Southwest Three Cheese Stuffed Peppers [hearty enough to be a satisfying entrée on its own]
  • #FreshTake Cheddar Jack with Bacon Deviled Egg Cups [a modern take on a traditional app]

So it was off to my local Walmart to get the ingredients. You’ll find KRAFT Fresh Take in the refrigerated cheese aisle.

KRAFT #FreshTake at Walmart, #CollectiveBias

For a limited time, you can save $1.00 on the purchase of any KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix and fresh chicken at Walmart. Get your $1.00 coupon here.

$1 coupon for KRAFT #FreshTake at Walmart #CollectiveBias

Hasselback Potatoes

If you’ve read Baked Chicago before, you may know that I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. And while I love a good baked potato, it can be kinda boring to serve for a special occasion. But not Hasselback Potatoes, which are Sweden’s version of baked potatoes. They were made popular by the restaurant inside the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm that created the dish.

By using a simple cutting technique (which also helps the potatoes to cook faster) and adding some simple ingredients inside or atop the potatoes while they bake, you have a simply elegant – and unbelievably delicious – potato dish that everyone is going to gobble down at the Easter table. [I guess that’s a better description for the Thanksgiving table, but you know what I mean.]

This dish would also be something that you could cook to impress someone, like a first date, because they look like they would be difficult to make. But they’re not. It’s all in the presentation, and (from where I sit) there’s no need to let them know just how easy it was!

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias Hasselback Potatoes

During the cooking process, the potato start to fan out – making for a beautiful presentation on the plate.

closeup of KRAFT #FreshTake Italian Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes, #CollectiveBias


Hasselback Potatoes with KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


18 small Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix, Italian Parmesan Recipe
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, for seasoning


Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place peeled potatoes on a cutting board. Cut a narrow slice from the bottom of each potato to help the potato lie flat; discard the slice.

Place one wooden chopstick (2 total) on each side of the potato, lengthwise. Use a knife to slice each potato crosswise making slices about 1/4-inch apart for the length of the potato. The chopsticks will prevent the knife from cutting through the bottom of the potato. You want to leave about 1/4-inch on the bottom of the potato intact.

After cutting the potatoes, gently rinse them to rid excess starch which can impede fanning. Carefully flex the potatoes while rinsing under cold running water. Dry the potatoes well before baking.

Place the contents of the entire KRAFT Fresh Take Italian Parmesan package in a food processor, along with olive oil. Pulse until well blended.

Brush the potatoes with melted butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pat the prepared KRAFT Fresh Take cheese & breadcrumb mixture on top of each potato.

Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until they turn crispy and are fork-tender.


Hasselback potatoes are also known as the Swedish version of baked potatoes, popularized by the restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. As the potatoes bake, the slices fan out slightly - making for an elegant presentation.

Slow Cooker Southwest 3-Cheese Stuffed Peppers

The next dish I made was a slow cooker version of stuffed peppers. Many cooks use green bell peppers, but I personally think the vibrant colors of the orange, yellow and red bell peppers are much more visually appealing. As a kid, I hated most green vegetables. While my palate grew up, my eyes still find the same green of most vegetables to be quite dull.

Go veggie! You can also turn this into a vegetarian dish by simply eliminating the ground turkey.

What I love best about this recipe is that it’s another slow cooker home run. I have [undiagnosed] adult ADD. So anytime I can put something into the slow cooker and forget it for a few hours, I am so HOPPY…I mean HAPPY!

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias Stuffed Peppers


  • 6 large bell peppers, tops removed and seeded
  • 1 pound ground turkey, browned and crumbled
  • 10 ounces frozen kernel corn
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Southwest Three Cheese & Breadcrumbs

KRAFT #FreshTake #CollectiveBias mise en place for stuffed peppers


In a skillet, cook the ground turkey until browned. Crumble it as you stir. Set aside. Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Set aside. Cut off the tops of each pepper, then core and remove seeds, membranes. Rinse out with cold water. If needed, slice off any uneven portion of the bottoms of each pepper in order for them to lie flat. Set aside.

Preparing peppers for KRAFT #FreshTake Southwest 3-Cheese Stuffed Peppers, #CollectiveBias

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, salsa, onions, brown rice and Worcestershire sauce until blended. Stuff peppers with mixture and top with KRAFT Fresh Take cheese & breadcrumbs. Stand peppers in a slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup water in the bottom and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours (or on HIGH for 3 hours), or until peppers are tender. Makes 6 servings.

Deviled Egg Cups

The final recipe for my Easter brunch is a twist on deviled eggs. I have always liked the taste of deviled eggs, but I’m not a fan of the rubbery texture that hard-boiled egg whites can sometimes have. Deviled egg cups use phyllo dough for the vessel, so it adds a nice crunchy texture that I find irresistible.

And the filling couldn’t be easier. You essentially puree the hard-boiled eggs (yolks and whites!) and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Then pipe the filling into the phyllo shells and you’ve got a somewhat fancy appetizer that is great for a large gathering.

But don’t forget to garnish with thick-cut bacon. That’s Bing and Baxter’s tip, because they love anything topped with bacon. And I concur.

KRAFT #FreshTake Cheddar Jack and Bacon Deviled Egg Cups, #CollectiveBias


  • 30 (2 boxes) frozen mini phyllo shells
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package KRAFT Fresh Take Cheddar Jack with Bacon Cheese & Breadcrumbs
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, crispy and chopped, for garnish

KRAFT #FreshTake Cheddar Jack and Bacon with Kraft Mayo, #CollectiveBias


Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the phyllo shells on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.

In food processor, puree eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, salt and contents of Fresh Take Cheddar Jack with Bacon. Put egg mixture in a resealable plastic bag, cut off tip and pipe into shells.

Garnish with chopped bacon and serve at room temperature. Makes 30 deviled egg cups.

Finally, Some Fun For The Kids

I hope you found some inspiration in these recipes as you prepare your Easter menu. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or for a super-humongous group, make it easy on the chef! Simple can also be delicious and a crowd-pleaser. What’s going to be on your Easter menu this year? Share your comments below.

Dig out the plastic eggs from the basement or attic and get ready for some marathon Easter egg hunts! [For those with kids under age 6, you know what I mean. I have 13 nieces and nephews, of which 8 are under 10 years old. So I’ve hosted my share of egg-citing – and unending – egg hunts. Just don’t forget where you put the eggs. Seriously. Don’t forget.]

Many of my nieces and nephews have iPads and hand-held electronic games, so anything as “manual” as an Easter egg hunt may see alien to them as they get into their teens. I remember as a younger kid that I loved to color with crayons and do word games/puzzles, so I wanted to share with you an Easter coloring page and maze puzzle (both are downloadable PDFs) that you can share.

Who knows? It might just buy you 10 minutes of uninterrupted time in the kitchen. And for that, you’ll thank me!

Happy Easter!

Free Printable Easter Coloring Page (for personal use only), #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Free Printable – Easter Coloring Page (for personal use only)

Free Printable - Easter Maze (for personal use only), #FreshTake #CollectiveBias

Free Printable – Easter Maze (for personal use only)

Restaurants/ Soups, Salads & Sides

In the [Skype] Kitchen With LongHorn Steakhouse Chef Josh Evans

LongHorn Steakhouse Blue Crab & Meyer Lemon Filet

Have you ever been reading a restaurant menu, jonesing over the delicious-sounding ingredients of a dish that you’ve never tried and wondered “how did they think of that flavor combination?”  Well, I got the chance to ask that question recently during a special “in the kitchen” segment over Skype with Chef Josh Evans of LongHorn Steakhouse.

Chef Josh, along with Chef Michael Senich, have what I think of as a dream job. He leads development of the Peak Season menu which showcases classic seasonal flavors and adds a LongHorn twist. The Peak Season menu is rotated four times a year, along with the Chef’s Showcase menus, in all of LongHorn Steakhouse’s 445 restaurants across 38 states.

LongHorn Steakhouse Blackened Salmon with Cheddar Grits

Blackened Salmon & Cheddar Grits: Hand-cut Atlantic salmon, blackened with a 12-spice blend, served on top of creamy Cheddar grits.

WPS Butternut Squash Risotto

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto: Creamy Parmesan risotto with roasted butternut squash and fresh sage butter.

Chef Josh explained how they select fresh ingredients that can be sourced locally for all the LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants. I enjoyed learning how they pair seasonal vegetables with fresh proteins to create familiar comfort foods that have an innovative twist in their execution. And I was supremely impressed when he showed me how easy it is to prep a butternut squash for their rich, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto. Here’s a video with Chef Josh in action:

The Winter Peak Season Menu, available through March 24, also includes:

  • Garlic Mussels – Steamed in Sam Adams Beer with garlic, onion and butter
  • Winter Brie Salad – Winter field greens tossed in a blackberry vinaigrette with warm brie bites, dried cherries, red onion and mandarin oranges
  • Praline Pecan Butterscotch Pudding – Creamy butterscotch pudding, Maker’s Mark bourbon-caramel sauce, candied pecans with a dab of whipped cream

The Chef’s Showcase Menu gives chefs Josh and Michael a chance to share their inspirations and creativity. The current Chef’s Showcase Menu features Blue Crab & Meyer Lemon Filet and Blackened Salmon & Cheddar Grits.

I am not from the South (though I have distant relatives from Alabama), so I have never totally understood grits. I’ve had grits while traveling throughout the South and when I lived in Houston – but I wasn’t sure what made for great Southern-style grits. Well the light bulb went on after Chef Josh gave me a crash course in Grits 101.  I felt so inspired with my new-found knowledge that I decided to use the stone-ground grits used in LongHorn’s Cheddar Grits to create my own Cheesy Grits (using mascarpone cheese) in the slow cooker. Topped with bacon, of course! 

Have you ever made grits? What’s your secret technique or ingredient?

And don’t forget to enter the LongHorn Steakhouse giveaway below for a chance to win a $50 or $25 restaurant gift card. Enjoy!

Baked Chicago's cheesy slow cooker grits with bacon

Cheesy Slow Cooker Grits with bacon

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 8 servings

Cheesy Slow Cooker Grits with bacon


2 cups stone-ground grits
32 ounces vegetable stock
pinch of sea salt
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled


In a 4-quart slow cooker, stir together grits and a pinch of salt. Add vegetable stock and let stand 2 minutes, allowing grits to settle to the bottom.

Tilt the slow cooker carefully and skim off the solids using a fine mesh strainer. Add milk and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until grits are creamy and tender. Stir about every 45 minutes. The consistency will be similar to oatmeal.

About 5 minutes before you're ready to serve, stir in butter and mascarpone cheese. Serve garnished with crispy, crumbled bacon.


Cooked grits won't absorb salt, so be sure to salt your dry grits or water before you start cooking.

Whisking frequently makes for the creamiest grits, because whisking releases starch. Traditional stone-ground grits take about 45 minutes to cook, which can make whisking tiresome. That's why a slow cooker option is a better choice, when time is on your side. The slow cooker's steady moist heat will release the starch in stone-ground grits with minimal stirring. That creates a naturally rich, creamy texture.

Sometimes mascarpone cheese can be difficult to find in a local grocery store. You may substitute ricotta cheese for the mascarpone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given samples of select ingredients featured in LongHorn Steakhouse’s winter Peak Season menu to review and to use for creating an original recipe. LongHorn Steakhouse also provided the prizes in this contest. I get no additional benefits for talking about this product or company. All opinions about this product are 100% my own.

Soups, Salads & Sides

Rustic New Potatoes with Bacon & Edamame

rustic new potatoes

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be potatoes. Hands down. No need for discussion. Potatoes are so versatile and so comforting. The neatniks of the world say “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I say a mouthful of scrumptious potatoes is as close to heaven on earth as you can get (with food).

What I like about rustic cooking is that it’s simple. There’s no fuss. And this recipe uses a slow cooker, which makes it almost effortless. The only work you have to do is quarter the potatoes and turn on your slow cooker. And as slow cooker recipes go, it’s relatively fast to cook. This is a great side dish for a pot roast or chicken. You could even cut up some oven-roasted turkey breast or chicken and add it to the mixture for a one-pot meal.

Baked potatoes with sour cream, crunchy tater tots, hash browns with scrambled eggs, au gratin potatoes with anything – I luv ’em all! So now you know just how much I love potatoes. Which kind of potatoes is your favorite?

rustic new potato edamame salad_hero

Rustic New Potatoes with Bacon & Edamame

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: 4 servings

Rustic New Potatoes with Bacon & Edamame


12 ounces shelled edamame
1.5 pounds new potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices thick-cut bacon, crispy and crumbled for garnish


In a 4-quart slow cooker, add the edamame and potatoes. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Drizzle the oil mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat.

Cook on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours, or until potatoes are fully cooked. Garnish with crispy, crumbled bacon and serve warm.

Entrees/ Events & Entertaining

Find the perfect match for your Valentine’s Day menu at Mariano’s Chicago bakery

#MyMarianos, #CollectiveBias, #shop

Collective Bias Social Fabric

What's cookin' good lookin' #shop #MyMarianos slow cooker coq au vin

Does Valentine’s Day stress you out? Do you find yourself running around to every grocery store in Chicago, or calling every Chicago bakery on Yelp, to find the right romantic dessert for your sweetie? Well, stop it. Take 3 deep breaths, and just stop for a moment. You’re in need of a Valentine’s Day smack down – given out of love, of course! I totally understand because we’ve all been there before. With so many options and such high expectations (that we force upon ourselves), it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Valentine’s Day is not about how much money you spend on the one you love. It’s not about mindlessly following the crowd to celebrate the heart-iest of holidays with the masses. In the same way each relationship is unique, the way you honor your significant other and the way you celebrate Valentine’s Day together should reflect the uniqueness of the relationship you share.

I don’t like crowds, so spending Valentine’s Day with the rest of Chicago crammed inside a busy restaurant can cause a panic attack. For me, nothing speaks louder than thoughtful actions…like a quiet, home-cooked meal that reflects a shared experience. One easy way to create a Valentine’s Day menu is to build it around a theme like your favorite destination as a couple. Personally, I adore Chicago; that’s why I live here. But Paris is hands-down the most romantic city I’ve ever experienced. There is literally romance in the air throughout the City of Lights.

So for Valentine’s Day this year, I want to bring a bit of Paris into my home. Mariano’s makes that easy to do. I’m going to make a slow cooker coq au vin recipe for dinner using fresh poultry and produce from #MyMarianos. And with my Mariano’s Rewards Card in hand, I’ll supplement everything else (including flowers and wine) that I need for a romantic Valentine’s Day breakfast and dinner at home with items from the Mariano’s Bakery, Deli, International Market, Liquor and Floral departments.

Parisian all-butter croissants #MyMarianos #shop #CollectiveBias slow cooker coq au vin

In the Bakery Department, I picked up some Parisian all-butter croissants for breakfast and chocolate mousse cups for dessert. My Valentine’s Day authentic Parisian breakfast will start with:

  • French roast coffee with cream (French vanilla flavor, maybe?!)
  • orange juice
  • Mariano’s all-butter croissants
  • Bonne Maman® blackberry preserves
  • fresh blackberries from Mariano’s produce department

And don’t forget the butter! French cuisine focuses on simple, high-quality ingredients. If you’re going to have croissants made with real butter, then enjoy real butter ON them as well. Warm the croissants before serving, and consider having breakfast in bed for an indulgent start to Valentine’s Day. Oui, oui!

Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin

This recipe for slow cooker coq au vin is perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner because it only takes 20 minutes to prep; it’s easy to assemble before you head out the door for work. It cooks all day (8 hours), so it will be ready to enjoy with your sweetie when you get home. All of the ingredients for my authentic Parisian dinner menu are available at Mariano’s including:

Entrée / Side Dish
  • slow cooker coq au vin, with chicken breast, button mushrooms, pearl onions and baby carrots
  • Parisian parsley potatoes (recipe below)
  • chocolate mousse cups from Mariano’s Bakery
Drink and Table Décor
  • wine (at least 2 bottles of red, white or sparkling) from Mariano’s Liquor Department
  • bouquet of flowers from Mariano’s Floral Department

Most of the slow cooker coq au vin ingredients I purchased on this #CollectiveBias #shop at Mariano’s were already fully prepped, except for the carrots. To give your carrots a bit of sophistication (yes, carrots can have sophistication!), cut them on the diagonal. It’s a simple trick that makes them look a bit more special.

slow cooker coq au vin diced carrots and button mushrooms #MyMarianos #shop #CollectiveBias

Valentine’s Day Menu Ideas

ooh la la - Parisian parsley potatoes are the perfect side dish for slow cooker coq au vin #shopA traditional side dish served with slow cooker coq au vin would be Parisian Parsley Potatoes. This recipe takes about 30 minutes to cook and it continues the buttery decadence that Parisian food embraces. A definite must to add to your Valentine’s Day menu.

Coq au vin would normally use a Burgundy (red) wine but this recipe uses a white wine. There are variations of coq au vin that also use champagne. Use whichever you prefer. My suggestion is to buy 2 bottles of your favorite wine. Pour one cup into the slow cooker (that’s all it takes) when you’re ready to start cooking and save the rest for your dinner.

My Valentine’s Day menu is obviously inspired by Paris. But maybe another global destination holds a more romantic meaning for you and yours. Did you honeymoon in Italy or meet the love of your life in the Mediterranean? Mariano’s Bakery (my favorite department within the store!) has hand-made Italian cookies, biscotti and cannoli. And across the aisle at Mariano’s Deli you’ll find big, beautiful Greek olives and a variety of Mediterranean salads. The point is to fill your Valentine’s Day menu with items that have meaning for you.

Still need some inspiration? Just take a stroll in Mariano’s International Market aisles. Mariano’s has items from Italian, Hispanic, Asian, Polish, Kosher, Indian, Mediterranean, German, Eastern European, British and Southern cuisines. It’s the supermarket version of around the world in 80 plates! And any of these global goodies would be a perfect match for your Valentine’s Day menu.

Mariano's international market #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias #shop slow cooker coq au vin

If you know what kind of cuisine you want to prepare but you don’t know what wine or cheese to pair and serve, Mariano’s has a team of people who are ready with suggestions. They even have a Wine & Cheese pairings area in the store to kick-start your brainstorming.

Ideas and inspiration are plentiful at Mariano’s; that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy shopping there so much. It’s not just a grocery store. For foodies, it’s like an adventure theme park filled with all kinds of deliciousness. And when I’m not inside my local Mariano’s store, I stay connected to get ideas by following #MyMarianos on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

What are you planning for your Valentine’s Day menu? Or if the proverbial oven mitt were on your significant other’s other hand, what dish would you want them to be making just for you?

Slow Cooker Coq au Vin

Rating: 51

20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Yield: 2 servings

Slow Cooker Coq au Vin


6 ounces button mushrooms, cut in half
10 ounces pearl onions, frozen
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound baby carrots, sliced on an angle in 3/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (red wine works, too)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces


In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the mushrooms and pearl onions. Set aside.

Lightly season the chicken breasts (both sides) with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat until browned (about 10 minutes on each side). Place chicken over the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Using the skillet with the remaining drippings, add the chopped onion and sliced carrots. On medium heat, cook for 3 minutes or until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Stir frequently. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the wine, tomato paste and bay leaf. Heat to boiling, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste.

Pour the wine mixture, followed by the chicken broth, over the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

About 15 minutes before you're ready to plate, cook the bacon in the microwave using a microwave-safe plate. Put 8 paper towel sheets on the plate and top with the bacon slices. I recommend cutting the bacon AFTER the cooking process. Put 4 paper towel sheets on top of the bacon slices and cook, following manufacturer's directions. For my microwave, 4 slices of thick-cut bacon will cook in 5 to 6 minutes. Cook until crispy, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Remove the bay leaf from the slow cooker. Transfer the chicken, vegetables and sauce to a deep serving platter or plate immediately on individual plates. Sprinkle each serving with bacon and enjoy.


Let this cook during the day while you're at work. But if you need to whip it up faster, you can cook it on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Events & Entertaining

12 Game Day Recipes to Satisfy a Hungry Crowd

chicken wraps

game time

Who’s ready for some football? If you’re hosting a Game Day viewing party or just relaxing with family and friends in front of the big screen TV, you want easy options for delicious food that everyone’s going to love but won’t keep you in the kitchen.

I’ve put together a selection of 12 Game Day recipes that will satisfy any hungry crowd, but you’re going to love as well. Most can be made ahead of time, and many utilize one of my favorite kitchen appliances: the slow cooker. On a Big Game Day, a slow cooker will be your best friend by keeping the food hot, but letting you be in front of the action while the game is on.

For appetizers, I’ve selected:

Feel free to dunk your German Soft Pretzel Sticks into the Cheesy Beer-Salsa. So. Darn. Good.

Each of the entrees are cooked in your slow cooker:

Any of these entrees will score a touch down with your guests.

Last, but in no way least, I’ve selected four dessert recipes that are easy to eat with your hands and all are real crowd-pleasers:

You can probably tell that I’m partial to brownies. Guilty as charged. Not only are brownies so easy to make, everyone from kids to adults love them. So I can’t lose anytime they’re on my party menu.

What are you serving at your Game Day party?



plum-sauced chicken wings

Plum-Sauced Chicken Wings

cheesy beer salsa dip

Cheesy Beer-Salsa Dip

German soft pretzel sticks with bacon

German Soft Pretzel Sticks with Bacon

slow cooker lasagna garnished with Italian cheese

Zesty Italian Slow Cooker Lasagna

cheesy bacon corn chowder

Cheesy Bacon Corn Chowder

slow cooker sloppy joes with bacon

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes with Bacon

six bean slow cooker chili

6-Bean Slow Cooker Chili with Sweet Peppers

football fumble nutter brownie bites

Football Fumble Nutter Brownie Bites

home-style cracker jack

Home-style Cracker Jack

deconstructed smores brownies

Deconstructed S’mores Brownies

root beer brownies

Root Beer Brownies

go team

Soups, Salads & Sides

Give Old Man Winter a smack down with Cheesy Bacon-Corn Chowder with Edamame!

cheesy bacon-corn chowder

cheesy bacon corn chowder_featured

Given how bitterly cold it has been, my slow cooker is getting a solid workout this winter. And that’s okay. I find it to be therapeutic to have comfort food (especially soups) simmering in the slow cooker, filling up the house with a delicious, familiar smell.

You’ve probably noticed that I use edamame (green, baby soybeans) in a lot of recipes. I love edamame, and dare  I say it’s probably my favorite vegetable. And it’s good for you.

Until a few years ago, I would have said potatoes or corn are my favorite vegetables. I still love them, but they rank a bit lower on the “good for you” chart.

I’ve been wanting to create a soup recipe that would be improved with the addition of the edamame. So I took inspiration from one of my favorite canned soups (chicken corn chowder) and decided to go vegetarian and amp it up with the edamame. I was really pleased with the results.

Cheesy Bacon-Corn Chowder

What makes this cheesy bacon-corn chowder so satisfying isn’t the edamame alone. It’s also the bacon and cheese!

Using a large slow cooker, add and stir together the corn, potatoes and edamame. Add the chicken broth, chopped onion, salt and pepper. At this point, you’re going to cover the pot and cook on HIGH for about 2 hours. Watch for when the chowder begins to boil. At this point, you’ll add the milk and cheese. Stir to incorporate and cover again, letting it cook for about 30 minutes or until the cheese melts completely. Stir the ingredients until blended.

I like a thick chowder, so I added a beurre manie (pronounced BURR-mahn-YAY), which is essentially a paste made by kneading together equal portions of flour and softened butter. A beurre manie is similar to a roux, except it’s not cooked. In a small bowl, knead together the butter and flour. Add about half of it to the chowder mixture and stir gently. Watch the consistency and add the remaining beurre manie, if needed, to thicken the chowder. Let it cook for about 20 minutes before serving.

Thick-cut bacon is one of my all-time favorites and my current favorite thick-cut bacon is from Patrick Cudahy. You can actually taste the smoked applewood when you bite into it. It’s totally bacon heaven! You can incorporate the crumbled bacon into the chowder. I recommend no more than 15 minutes before you are going to serve it, so it stays on the crunchy side. I like to garnish a bowl with a bit of crumbled bacon for extra texture, along with the fresh shredded Parmesan.

Cheesy bacon-corn chowder freezes well, so be sure to put a few servings in your freezer to enjoy the next time we have another polar plunge – which at this rate will probably be in early February!

cheesy bacon corn chowder_side of bacon with pretzel roll

Cheesy Bacon-Corn Chowder with Edamame

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Cheesy Bacon-Corn Chowder with Edamame


24 ounces whole kernel sweet corn
20 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
12 ounces shelled edamame (green soybeans)
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup milk
8 ounces queso blanco (white American cheese), cubed
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
6 slices Patrick Cudahy Thick-Cut Sweet Applewood-Smoked Bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish


Using a 4-quart or 6-quart slow cooker, stir together corn, potatoes and edamame. Add chicken broth, chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours. As soon as chowder begins to boil, add the milk and cubed cheese. Stir and cover for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts completely. Stir ingredients until blended.

In a small bowl, knead together flour and butter. Add to the chowder mixture and stir gently. The combination of flour and butter, known as beurre manie, will thicken the chowder. Fold in the crumbled bacon about 15 minutes before you're ready to serve. [I prefer the bacon to remain crispy so I use it as a garnish on top of each bowl as it's served.]

Serve warm by the bowlful. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Ad: Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio, Family-Style Recipe

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crock pot chicken vesuvio

With the arrival of the new year, like many of you I am looking to recalibrate my food choices to make up for the over indulgence of holiday goodies. One of my go-to ingredients is boneless, skinless chicken breast. I’m also trying to make good use of my slow cooker, so I have more time to shovel snow! I’d be joking if we hadn’t received 13+ inches of snow in the last 2 days with about 6 more inches to arrive over the next 24 hours. I guess that will be my cardio workout.

Before the snow storm hit, I made my way to my local Sam’s Club to stock up on pantry items. You can always find some really good deals on quality ingredients, and I love discovering new products. One of the new product lines that Sam’s Club is carrying in 2014 is NatureRaised Farms® Boneless, Skinless Chicken. If you’ve never heard of or used NatureRaised Farms® brand before, their products are quite remarkable.

NatureRaised Farms Chicken at Sam's Club

I always prefer to focus on fewer, high-quality ingredients in a recipe to get the best flavor and nutrients possible. That goes for any recipe, sweet or savory. The NatureRaised Farms® chickens are vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free and cage-free. There are no fillers, preservatives or artificial colors either. So I picked up a few packages of the Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts to make a big ole batch of Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio, Family-Style.  If you’d like to try the NatureRaised Farms® product before you buy, a select number of participating Sam’s Clubs will have in-store product demonstrations on January 4. Or for more information about NatureRaised Farms®, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Origin of Chicken Vesuvio

It may surprise you that Chicken Vesuvio was born in Chicago. It’s an Italian-American dish typically made from chicken on the bone and wedges of potato. Both are sautéed with garlic, oregano, olive oil and white wine, then baked until the chicken’s skin becomes crisp. The dish would often be garnished with green peas for color. In many Chicago restaurants, you’ll often find the “Vesuvio” technique applied to other foods like Steak Vesuvio or Vesuvio Potatoes. The origins of the dish are widely attributed to the Vesuvio Restaurant, which operated on Chicago’s Wacker Drive in the 1930’s. The original recipe can be a bit heavy, because of the richness of certain ingredients, including olive oil, white wine and lots of potatoes.

Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio

I wanted to make a Chicken Vesuvio that offered a healthier option by using a healthier cut of chicken (skinless) and lower-sodium broth, as well as replacing some of the potatoes with other nutrient-rich vegetables that pack a real flavor punch, like edamame, sun-dried tomatoes and sweet peppers. And by using a crock pot to cook the dish instead of the oven, it uses far less oil, chicken broth and wine. That makes  this Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio more moist and delicious.

chicken vesuvio mise en place

I always find it easier to execute a new recipe by getting all of my ingredients in order: mise en place. “Mise en place” is a French phrase which means literally “putting in place,” as in set up. In addition to the protein-rich, all-natural chicken, the other star ingredients of Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio are:

new, red potatoes

new, red potatoes

sun-dried tomatoes

sun-dried tomatoes

sweet red and yellow peppers

sweet red and yellow peppers


and my favorite, edamame!

Use a sharp chef’s knife to Julienne the peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as quarter the potatoes. Julienning is a simple technique that cuts food into short, thin strips. It not only looks great (we eat with our eyes first!) but also reduces the cooking time, while ensuring even cooking.

julienned ingredients 2

To get started, preheat a frying pan – lightly brushed with canola oil – on medium high heat. I used the sautée and browning setting on my 3-in-1 slow cooker, so I had one less dirty pan to wash. Score another point for Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio! Take a barbecue or pastry brush and lightly coat one side of each chicken breast with canola oil. Then season the first side of the chicken breasts with a pinch each of salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Put the chicken breasts in the prepared pan, seasoned side down. Then repeat with canola oil and seasonings for the remaining sides of each chicken breast. Brown both sides of the chicken breasts (about 6 minutes per side).

Place the potatoes, edamame, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes inside the crock pot. Add the onion, garlic and remaining salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Pour in the chicken broth and white wine. [Because this dish requires less than a cup of white wine, I recommend picking a bottle of your favorite white wine to pair with this dinner. After pouring the half cup for the recipe, save the rest of the bottle to have with dinner!]

Gently stir until the ingredients are combined. Top the vegetables with the chicken breasts and cook for 3 hours on HIGH. You see, Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio is really that easy!

Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio, Family-Style

Cook Time: 3 hours, 12 minutes

Yield: 4 servings (1 chicken breast and approximately 1 cup of vegetables, each)

Crock Pot Chicken Vesuvio, Family-Style


2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound small, red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 4 or 6 wedges each
12 ounces edamame, shelled
1 cup sweet yellow and red peppers, julienned
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
3 tablespoons minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, optional garnish


Lightly coat a frying pan with canola oil and place on a stovetop burner, set at medium high. Warm the pan for a minute; you want it hot to properly sear the chicken breasts.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Using a barbecue or pastry brush, lightly coat the top of each breast with a thin layer of canola oil. Season with one pinch each of sea salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Place the chicken breasts in the hot frying pan, seasoned side down, and cook for about 6 minutes.

Immediately coat the remaining side of each chicken breast with canola oil. Again, season with one pinch each of sea salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Cover the pan with its lid until you're ready to turn the chicken breasts. After you turn the chicken breasts, cook for another 6 minutes, or until browned on both sides.

Place the potatoes, edamame, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic and remaining sea salt, black pepper and Italian seasonings in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken broth and white wine. Gently stir to immerse vegetables evenly in the broth-wine mixture. This will help the vegetables to properly steam and cook evenly. Top the vegetables with the chicken breasts.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 3 1/2 hours (or LOW for 6 to 7 hours), or until chicken and potatoes are tender.

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving plate. Top with juices from the slow cooker. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired.

Soups, Salads & Sides

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

I reckon we’ve had between 6 inches and 8 inches of snow so far today. I’ve shoveled the front steps and sidewalks 3 times – as well as the back deck and walkway to the garage.  And with 4 pugs who can’t walk in deep snow, I even shoveled some paths for them in the back yard so they could maneuver the snow drifts. No more shoveling, at least for today!

Tomorrow and the coming days will be another story, as we’re expecting another 6 inches and the projected high temperature for early next week will be -4 degrees F. Yes, a negative four degrees!

It is definitely soup weather — and a hearty sweet potato and lentil soup is on the menu. It’s both really satisfying on a cold winter’s day (or night) and SO EASY to make in a crock pot. Or do you say slow cooker? I find I go back-and-forth, so forgive me that. I guess it could be worse if I called it a ‘crock cooker’ or a ‘slow pot.’ The latter might be understandable if I lived in Colorado!

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 4 servings


1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup dried red lentils
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced


Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 6 cups of water and stir.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours). Stir the soup with a whisk to make a rough puree. Thin with hot water, if needed. Great to serve with fresh-baked bread.


Lightly adapted from a recipe in Food Network magazine.

Soups, Salads & Sides

Lavender-Cinnamon Applesauce

What ya gonna do when you have a bushel of Honeycrisp apples? Make some rustic applesauce, of course!

With the recent cold and damp weather we’ve been having here in Chicago, my allergies have been in a total uproar. The kind of weather where you just want to cocoon inside all weekend. So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to dust off the slow cooker and do some experimenting with adding lavender to a chunky applesauce recipe. Selfishly, I also wanted to be able to smell the apples and lavender and cinnamon throughout the house all day. Sort of like aromatherapy for my allergies.

I had these elephant-sized Honeycrisp apples from Mariano’s that were crisp, juicy and perfect for a homemade applesauce. This is such a simple recipe, but – truth be told – the hardest part is peeling the apples. I’ve found the fastest way for me is to use a butcher knife to first core the apples. I cut one side, then the opposite side and finally the remaining sides. That results in two really large slices and two medium slices, both of which are pretty easy to peel with a paring knife.  To keep the apples from oxidizing (I’m impressed I know what that means) I immediately put them in the water/lemon juice mixture inside the slow cooker as I cut them.

Some homemade applesauce recipes call for brown sugar, but I wanted to keep the processed sugars to a minimum so I used instead a high-grade honey. Then you break the cinnamon sticks and toss them into the mixture. Note: the cinnamon is going to turn the applesauce a medium brown. If you prefer your applesauce “unscathed” simply omit the cinnamon for a natural, golden color.

Every now and then, I become obsessed with certain ingredients (like Honeycrisp apples!) and use them over and over in recipes. One ingredient I’ve been dying to try is edible lavender, so I took two tablespoons of lavender flower buds (sourced from The Spice House in Chicago). To release the fragrant oils, I used the back of a tablespoon and crushed the lavender inside a small bowl (see picture below). The aroma is phenomenal. Note: While I used two tablespoons of lavender, I’m recommending in the recipe for you to use only 1 tablespoon. That will make for a better balance between the cinnamon and lavender.

Lavender buds measured out

Now your slow cooker gets to do all the work. Simply cover and let it cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. If desired, you can stir every hour or so to ensure the cinnamon is steeping properly. When done, discard the stick cinnamon. If you prefer a rustic, course consistency, use a potato masher to mash the apples to the desired consistency. If you like a smoother consistency, then use an immersion stick blender to quickly blend. Stir in the vanilla and let cool for a bit before storing.

Put in an airtight container. It will store in the fridge for about 10 days or in the freezer for up to 8 months. The lavender-cinnamon applesauce is a special dish for a family gathering, and it can also be used (like you would with regular applesauce) for other baking projects like breads or muffins.

Lavender-Cinnamon Applesauce

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6 cups (about 12 servings)

Lavender-Cinnamon Applesauce


5 pounds Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and diced (approximately 8 large apples)
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon edible lavender flower buds, crushed (I used lavender from The Spice House, Chicago)
5 sticks cinnamon (broken into 1-inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


In a 4-quart or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the diced apples, honey, water, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice. Crush the lavender before adding; I used the back of a tablespoon to crush the flower buds - which releases the fragrant oil. Fold the lavender into the mix; then cover and cook on high-heat for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove and discard stick cinnamon. Using a potato masher, mash apples until you've achieved a coarse consistency. Or for a smoother consistency, use an immersion blender. Stir in vanilla and turn off heat. Let set for 10 to 20 minutes.

Ladle applesauce into airtight containers and seal. Applesauce will last in refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Soups, Salads & Sides

Wild Rice with Edamame & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

slow cooker wild rice with edamame

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.

Wild Rice with Edamame and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 16 servings


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.

Soups, Salads & Sides

Taco Soup

taco soup

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!

Taco Soup

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 6 servings


1 pound ground turkey
15 ounces black beans, canned, undrained
15 ounces garbanzo beans, canned, undrained
15 ounces dark kidney beans, canned, undrained
15 ounces chili beans in chili sauce, canned, undrained
15 ounces Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, canned, undrained
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.

Taco Soup




Number of servings: 6

Cooking time: 3 hours

Soups, Salads & Sides

german potato soup

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


Number of servings: 8

Cooking time: 2 hours to 6 hours