Archive for December, 2011

Best Crockpot Recipes of 2011

I’ve decided to participate in Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Countdown to 2011. With 2011 coming to a close, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to look back at the crockpot recipes I’ve made this year and make a list of my favorites. I’m so glad I decided to do this, because going back through all my old posts helped me to remember some great recipes that I had forgotten!

So without further ado, my top 5 recipes (in no particular order) of 2011 are:

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Pot Pie

Zuppa Toscana

Chicken Tacos

How many of these recipes have you made? What are your favorite crockpot recipes this year? Any recommendations on what I should try in 2012?

For more of the Best Crockpot Recipes of 2011, visit Finding Joy in My Kitchen!

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Crockpot Ziti

Source: Finding Joy in My Kitchen

I’m always a little hesitant to try crockpot recipe that involved pasta. Sometimes, if you cook the pasta too long, it can get a little funky. However, after a long day of running errands on Sunday, I knew that we would love to have a crockpot recipe that was ready whenever we were. I came across this recipe for Crockpot Ziti on my one of my favorite blogs, Finding Joy in My Kitchen, and decided to give it a try. SnoWhite, the blogger behind Finding Joy in My Kitchen, has never let me down before, so I know that if she said it was good, then I could trust that it was!

This recipe turned out great! There definitely wasn’t anything funky with the pasta, and it was so nice to have an easy recipe ready and waiting for us in the crockpot. I’ll definitely make this recipe again!

Crockpot Ziti

8 oz. penne noodles, uncooked
26 oz. jar pasta sauce
12 oz. cottage cheese
4-5 oz. fresh spinach
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese


Place the cottage cheese in a blender and puree until smooth. Then, add in the spinach and blend.

Spread 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a lightly greased crockpot. Top with a few noodles. Then, spread about 1/3 of the spinach/cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella, then add more sauce and repeat the layers. I repeated the layers 3 times. End with spaghetti sauce on the top and cover with cheese.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, top with Parmesan cheese and allow the cheese to melt. Enjoy!

Serves 4–5. I used a 3 1/2 qt. crockpot for this recipe. For step-by-step pictures, visit Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

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Manhattan Meatballs

Source: Lemons and Love

Holiday Party #2: check.
Meatball recipe #2: check.

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I had two holiday parties to attend. The second one was my company holiday party, and I decided to contribute these Manhattan meatballs to the festivities.

These meatballs were a hit! My boss’s boss told me TWICE that he really liked them, and another person carried on about them as well. That made me feel pretty good (although, honestly, there’s not much to this recipe. But they don’t need to know that.)

So, what’s the verdict? Between the Manhattan Meatballs and the Party Meatballs, which recipe wound up on top? Well, Rick and I both agree that these Manhattan Meatballs are the stronger of the two. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is that the sauce is thicker in these meatballs. But, try them both for yourself and see which one you like better!

Manhattan Meatballs

2 lb. frozen meatballs
10 oz. jar apricot preserves (I used about 5 oz.)
1/2 cup bbq sauce (I used abut 3/4 cup)

Place frozen meatballs in your crockpot. Add the apricot preserves and the bbq, stirring gently to combine as best you can. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours until heated through. Enjoy!

Shared eat Eat at Home Cook’s Ingredient Spotlight: Jams and Jellies

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Party Meatballs


As the holiday season approaches, so do the holiday get togethers. Already last week, I had two parties to attend! The first party was book club, so that’s not holiday related, but the second was my company’s holiday luncheon. I decided, to make things easy on myself, I would buy a big bag of frozen meatballs (shhh!), find two different party meatball recipes, and call it a day.

I decided to make this recipe for my book club girls, and to save the Manhattan Meatball recipe for my holiday party at work, so look for that recipe coming soon (along with a comparison between the two)!

Party Meatballs

2 lb. frozen meatballs
1/2 cup white grape juice
1/2 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup ketchup
4 oz. tomato sauce

Place meatballs in the crockpot. In a small saucepan, heat the grape juice, jelly, ketchup, and tomato sauce over medium heat until jelly is melted. Pour over the meatballs in your crockpot and gently stir to combine. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours until heated through. Enjoy!

Shared eat Eat at Home Cook’s Ingredient Spotlight: Jams and Jellies

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Menu Dec. 4-9

Sunday: Crockpot ziti
Monday: out
Tuesday: BBQ nachos
Wednesday: Beef and black bean burritos
Thursday: BBQ pizza
Friday: out

Find more menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

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