Hunk of Meat Monday – Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.One of the most popular recipes on Beyer Beware is Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe. So, what was the first thing I made in Casserole Crock Pot Slow Cooker. The results, perfection. People, I don’t know if I love the recipe or the crock pot more.

I was tempted to not precook the pasta for this but before I start screwing with the recipes, I decided I should make it once the regular way. Especial since I was going to be using favorite gluten free pasta when I made it. Gluten free pasta can sometimes do weird things. So I made it very similar to the original recipe.

I started by frying up some bacon.

Bacon frying for chicken bacon ranch pizza casseroleNow that I have your attention, let’s get the bacon crispy and then remove from the pan, drain all but about a tablespoon of bacon grease. While the bacon was frying, cut up four chicken breasts into cubes and coat and ranch dressing seasoning mix. You can use this ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix which should be able to be found in most grocery stores. I used my Penzey’s ranch dressing mix. Add the chicken to bacon grease reserved frying pan along with diced onions and peppers. I always have frozen onions and peppers on hand. It makes prepping casseroles like this go so much faster. Cook the chicken and veggies till the chicken is fully cooked.

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.While the chicken is cooking, it is time to transfer attention to the pasta. Like I said, I used gluten free pasta. Otherwise I would have used bow tie pasta. And yes, I have subscribe and save deliver my pasta to me each month. I didn’t cook the pasta fully. I cooked it to a little before al dente. In other words, if it says to cook 10-12 minutes, I cooked it about 8 minutes. Drained and returned to pot which was no longer over heat. Then stirred in the Alfredo Sauce, evaporated milk and 2% milk.

Now, it gets real. Start layering the ingredients by starting with half the pasta and sauce in the bottom of the crock pot.

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.

Follow with half the chicken, onions and green peppers. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and then one cup of Italian blend cheese. The repeat with the remaining pasta, chicken bacon, tomatoes, cheese, and then keep a little bit of bacon to top it off. Now, just cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.

Did I mention the family loves this recipe? Even my non-chicken eating husband had two helpings. Yes, two helpings. But he did mention wanting to try it with sausage. Now, I have another idea for a casserole this week. This Casserole Crock Pot Slow Cooker is going to get the workout at our house. Be sure to get more recipes over at Recipes That Crock.

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.

Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole


Crock Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole recipe is always a favorite around our table. And now that I can make it in the crock pot, it is one of my go-to recipes.
  • 1 pound of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound of bow tie pasta, cooked 75% of the time
  • 1, 15 ounce jar of Alfredo Sauce
  • 1, 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ounce of ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese
  1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, coat with 1 - 1.5 tablespoons of ranch seasoning. Saute in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of bacon grease along with bell peppers and onion. Cook till chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Combine Alfredo sauce, evaporated milk and milk with the partially cooked pasta. Stir in one teaspoon of ranch seasoning.
  3. Begin layering casserole with half the pasta and sauce combination. Then layer ½ of each of the following chicken and tomatoes. Use ⅓ of the fried bacon. Spread 1 cup of cheese over top and repeat one more time.
  4. After the cheese the second time, cover with 1 cup of cheese and remaining bacon.
  5. Cook on low for 2-3 hours till casserole cooked through and cheese is melted on top.

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Crock Pot Italian Chicken with Artichokes and Roasted Peppers

This crock pot Italian chicken recipe is full of flavor with the artichokes, roasted red peppers, capers and of course white wine.

Oh I love of my crock pot Italian chicken. And then when I went to make it last week I didn’t have any banana peppers. Normally it seems I have four or five jars of my banana pepper rings. I guess I am a little obsessed with my Italian Beef too. So, I had to improvise with what I had on hand. And what did I have on hand along with my zesty Italian salad dressing seasoning? Roasted red bell peppers, artichokes and capers. Oh and of course wine and garlic. Because I literally own stock in both of those things.

I decided that these skinless, boneless chicken thighs were not going to go to waste after all. And yes I use thighs. I rarely use white meat. But if that is what you have, this recipe will work fine with chicken breasts too. Honestly, buy whatever is on sale. And please remember all chicken is hormone free (at least synthetic hormones) so don’t be fooled by the crazy marketing labels.

Back to the crock pot. After placing the chicken thighs in the bottom of the crock pot, the zesty Italian packet was sprinkled over top of the chicken. Then I drained the artichokes and layered them over the chicken followed by the drained peppers, and then four or five smashed cloves of garlic. Then it needs a half a cup of white wine. I used a Pinot Grigio I got from ClubW.

I love cooking with wine. It means I have basically a whole bottle left to drink. It is a sacrifice. But someone has to do it. I do it for my families need to have good food.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken might appear to be fancy, but this recipe is super easy and only needs 6 ingredients.

Cook the chicken on low in for about 6-8 hours. Then spoon the chicken and vegetables out of the crock pot. If you have capers, sprinkle a tablespoon or two over the chicken. I figured I would crave the acidic and salty flavor with the lack of banana peppers. If you don’t have them or don’t like them, leave them off.

Now, what to serve them with. Let me tell you, if you just cooked some angel hair, you could easily toss the pasta into the crock pot and combine together in the juices and serve immediately. My family however inhaled the chicken before pasta was ever made. Proof the chicken is finger licking good.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken with Artichokes and Roasted Peppers
This crock pot Italian chicken recipe is full of flavor and only needs six ingredients.
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning mix
  • 1 jar of quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers and garlic (or add 4 fresh garlic cloves separate from the peppers), drained
  • ½ cup white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  1. Place the chicken in the crock pot and cover in Italian seasoning packet.
  2. Pour drained artichokes, roasted red peppers and garlic over the chicken.
  3. Pour wine over top of the layers.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove from crock pot and sprinkle capers over top of the cooked chicken and vegetables.
  6. Serve over pasta.


Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner.Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner. I will make these any day of the week. With the drippings from the crock pot, you can create a quick gravy and serve with mashed potatoes.

The three ingredients are simple: pork chops, butter, and ranch dressing mix. That is it. It is that simple

Crock Pot Ranch Pork ChopsButter you ask? Well, when everyone went all health crazy, they wanted to cut fat from their diet. So, today we have very lean pork. Too lean personally, but we are healthier thanks to the lean pork, right? Well, maybe not. So when ever I cook a lean piece of pork like the pork chops that normally have minimal fat around it I add fat. It is no different with these pork chops.

Season the pork chops generously with the ranch seasoning. I used three tablespoons total. I buy bulk dressing mix, however one envelope would also be the equivalent. I used a stick of butter but you could safely use just four tablespoons of butter.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner.Then it is all up to the crock pot. I cooked on low for 6 hours. You could go a pinch longer. Again pork chops can be easy to dry out, even with butter, so don’t let them cook for 12 hours unless you planning on them being closer to a pulled pork type meat.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork ChopsServe up with some mashed potatoes and make some quick gravy. To make the gravy, I took 1/4 cup of the juices from the crock pot and mixed a heaping tablespoons of corn starch with a cup of milk. Simmer over a medium heat till thickened. You could also use two tablespoons of flour to make a roux with the crock pot juices and slowly add the cup of milk. Add more milk if you want a thinner gravy.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops
These Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops just have three ingredients that will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops that everyone will love.
  • 4 thick cut pork chops, bone-in or boneless
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) of real butter
  • 1 package of Ranch Dressing Mix (3 tablespoons)
  1. Coat the pork chops with ranch mix.
  2. Place two pork chops in the crock and place two tablespoons of butter on top of the pork chops.
  3. Place two additional pork chops on top of the pork chops.
  4. Top each with two tablespoons of butter.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.


Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions. The most amazing slow cooked mushrooms are so amazing.There is this restaurant in western Indiana called the Beef House. I grew up going to the restaurant for special events or meetings with my parents. While it obviously has great, midwestern beef and some pretty legendary rolls and strawberry jam, it also has these amazing mushrooms. So amazing they only serve them in the evening. Which makes me sad because most of the time we go there midday on the weekends. But no longer will I bee without my mushrooms. My friend shared a recipe with me that pretty much captures the flavor. Perfectly. These mushrooms are  mind blowingly good. If you like mushrooms that is.

Mushrooms and onions for slow cooker mushrooms. Now you will want to make a lot of these puppies. Trust me. Start with four pounds of mushrooms, four cloves of garlic and a large sweet onion or two smaller ones. Clean your mushrooms, slice your onions and mince your garlic and put all into a large six or seven quart crock pot.

Mushrooms and onions in a crock pot.It is all about the fluid then. A cup of red wine, a cup of hot water, a pound of butter aka four sticks of butter, along with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of dried herbs like dill or thyme, and four beef and four chicken bouillon cubes.

Butter and bouillon cubes for crock pot mushroomsPour over top of mushrooms and cook for at least 12 hours on low heat.

Mushrooms and onions in red wine and butter slow cooks for 12 hours.The aroma of the mushrooms will have you craving them before they are done. Just let them be. They will reduce quite a bit during cooking and of course turn a darker brown color.

Crock pot mushrooms and onions with red wine, butter and garlic are so amazing. This recipe is so easy and just requires patience as the mushrooms slow cook away.

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions
  • 4 pounds of whole button mushrooms
  • 1 large sweet onion or two small/medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound of butter (4 sticks), melted - Make sure it is the real stuff
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dill or thyme or other herb
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  1. Place mushrooms, onions and garlic in a six or seven quart crock pot.
  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over top of the mushrooms.
  3. Slow cook on low for at least 12 hours.

Crock Pot Chipotle Shredded Beef

Naturally when I am reviewing a new cookbook I am drawn to the Mexican inspired recipes. When the recipe includes a beef roast and a crock pot, I am sold. Gonna try the recipe. This crock pot chipotle shredded beef did not disappoint anyone in the family.

slow cooked chipotle shredded beefThe recipe called for a chuck roast, but here is the deal, use whatever beef roast you have on hand or is on sale at the grocery story. It will all work the same. Place the beautiful beef roast in the crock pot.

beef chuck roast in crock pot

The original recipe called for cans of diced tomatoes, green chiles and chipotle sauce. I however had enchilada sauce instead of chipotle. It also called for chili powder and cumin. I had Penzey’s Chili 9000 which has cumin and other yummy seasonings and herbs. So, I used two tablespoons of it instead. Topped the roast with sliced onions and the canned goods before letting it slow cook all day. I omitted the beef broth the recipe called for originally.

Chipotle Beef Ingredients

After it has slow cooked all day, you should be able to peel any excess fat off the roast and then shred with two forks. Don’t trim the fat before cooking. Remember fat is the flavor conductor. You want it to cook with the meat all day to add flavor.

crock pot chipotle beef
 The meat should be fairly juicy. Which made me relieved that I didn’t add the two cups of beef broth. You will get quite a bit of beef. This is a great recipe to eat twice.

slow cooked chipotle shredded beef

The cooked meat will freeze nicely to pull out later or go ahead and make some beef enchiladas and use the meat for tacos or on top of Mexican Risotto.

Chipotle shredded beef risottoThe recipe is from 303 Simple & Satisfying Recipes which is the combination of three cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch. I will be giving this cookbook away the second week of September 2014. Be sure to check back to register to win and see what other great recipes I made.

Slow Cooked Chipotle Shredded Beef
  • 2-1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed
  • 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 7-oz. can chipotle sauce or medium red enchilada sauce
  • 4-oz. can diced green chiles
  • 1 onion, slice
  • 2 T. chili 9000 from Penzey's or 2 T chili powder and 1 t. cumin
  1. Place roast in a slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Once it is completely cooked, remove any excess fat. With 2 forks, shred the beef roast in slow cooker. Add beef broth if there is not much liquid.
  3. Serve on tortillas with favorite taco toppings, on a bed of lettuce for a salad or in a bowl with Mexican rice.

I received the 303 Simple & Satisfying Recipes for free. The recipe ingredients are all on me. The opinions are all mine.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Philly Sandwiches

I love Philly Cheesesteaks. Love them. My husband loves them. So, when I had some peppers to use up, I decided to see if I could get a thumbs up on the chicken Philly sandwich version of the the beloved beef cheesesteaks.

Slow Cooker Philly SandwichThe taste testers gave me two thumbs up for the meal. They even ate multiple sandwiches since I am pretty much always buying slider size rolls for the slider size hands of my kids.

The assembly of this recipe is fairly simple. Butter, peppers, onions, garlic, chicken, steak seasoning. Oh and the crock pot.

Crock Pot Chicken Philly CheesesteakNow, I used bone in chicken thighs with skin. The butter was a little overkill. If I use skin on thighs again, I will cut the amount of butter. If I use chicken tenders or breasts, I know I will need the butter. Regardless, watch the moisture levels in the crock pot. A little water was added to the crock pot about halfway through cooking.

The chicken will be fork tender to break apart and mix together with the onions and peppers. Bone-in chicken is also no problem. The chicken will fall right off the bone. Place on your buns of choice and top with provolone cheese.

Crock Pot Chicken Philly Sandwiches
If you love the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, you are sure to love the crock pot version of the Chicken Philly Sandwiches!
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced or 2 medium onions
  • 2 large bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pounds of chicken*
  • 2 tablespoons of steak seasoning, divided
  • 8 hoagie or sandwich buns
  • 8 Provolone cheese slices
  1. Place pats of butter on the bottom of crock pot.
  2. Layer, peppers, onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon of steak seasoning, chicken, and remaining steak seasoning.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add water halfway through if it appears to be dry.
  4. Use a fork to break apart chicken and mix together with onions and peppers.
  5. Serve on buns and top with cheese. Place under broiler to melt cheese, if desired.
*If you use skin on dark meat, cut the amount of butter by at least half.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Last-Resort Chicken Legs

Anyone with kids knows that any meal that can be eaten with your fingers is a win. This why these crock pot chicken legs where a hit at our house the other night. This is by far one of our favorite recipes so far in the Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooking All Year ‘Round Cookbook.

Crock Pot Chicken LegsThe chicken legs were of course frozen and were frozen till about 10 minutes prior to me starting to make this recipe.

frozen chicken drumsticks

I did a partial defrost in the microwave and then placed them in a deep skillet. Hit with salt and pepper.

browning chicken legsCover the chicken with some water and let the drumsticks simmer until they are just cooked.

skillet fried chicken drumsticksTransfer the the drumsticks to the crock pot. chicken legs in crock potAnd add the flavor…cover the chicken with butter slices, onion salt or powder, garlic salt or powder, pepper, barbeque sauce and hot pepper sauce.

ingredients for spicy barbecue chicken legsThen cook on high for two hours or low for four hours. Stir once or twice, then transfer to low and cook for another two hours.

slow cooked chicken legsNow, my friend Cris who also made these chicken legs told me she popped the legs in the broiler to crisp up the skin. Which is brilliant because the skin was just pulled off by all of us and tossed. Crispy skin would make this a complete home run!

Crock Pot Chicken Legs

If you are looking for more slow cooking recipes, be sure to go register to win the Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooking All Year ‘Round cookbook.

Crock Pot Last-Resort Chicken Legs
If your family loves chicken legs, these crock pot barbeque chicken legs are sure to be a hit with a hint of spice.
  • 6-10 chicken leg
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter sliced
  • 1 T. onion salt or powder
  • 1 T. garlic salt or powder
  • 1 t. pepper
  • ¾ cup hot pepper sauce
  • ⅓ cup barbeque sauce
  1. Place chicken legs in a deep skillet, cover with water. Over high heat, simmer legs till just cooked. Drain and transfer to the crock pot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours. Stir once or twice and then transfer to low heat if you have been cooking on high. Cook for an additional 2 hours. Place chicken legs on a jelly roll pan and place under the oven broiler to crisp up skin.

Be sure to share your favorite recipes for Hunk of Meat Monday too!

Hunk of Meat Monday: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef

Just like every other food item we buy, there seems to be lots of labels and buzz words around beef. One of the big things with beef is grass-fed or grain-fed and even grass-finished or grain-finished. The fascinating thing is that all cattle spend part of their lives on grass. Cattle that are grain-finished are moved to feed-lots or have additional grain added to their diets if they remain on pasture in their final months before going to market. While, grass-finished will remain eating only grass. Various folks in the food, nutrition and beef industry debate one which type of beef is better.

simmental cattle on grass

But isn’t grass-fed beef more nutritious?

One research study by Utah State University has shown grain-fed beef has several advantages over grass- fed beef. Grain-fed beef is grown faster, requiring less land and time. Grain-fed beef also has more acceptable meat qualities such as flavor, appearance, tenderness and has lower retail cost. Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, requires fewer resources and has less environmental impact than grain-fed beef.  Cattle which are grass fed have fewer health problems, including less stress and anti-social behavior.

corn silage

In terms of nutrition, the unbiased jury is still out on whether grass-fed beef contains more beneficial nutrients for humans. It seems claiming to have more of something can be true but insignificant in nutritional value. All beef is an excellent source of 10 essential nutrients – protein, selenium, B12, zinc, niacin, B6, phosphorus, choline, iron and riboflavin. Whether cattle are fed grass or grass and grain, the primary fats in all choices of beef are monounsaturated and saturated.

  • Grain-finished beef has a slightly higher monounsaturated fat content, the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.
  • Grass-finished beef can be slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids, but is not considered a good source.

cattle in feedlot

So, grass-fed beef is safer, right?

Another debate is over the food safety. Some people will promote one feeding method being more safe than another for the consumers of beef. It seems, this doesn’t seem to be true either according to this. All beef, grass-finished and grain-finished, is a safe protein source when cooked to appropriate temperatures.

black calves on grass

It all tastes good!

So, confused on what beef to buy? Don’t be. Just buy the beef your family likes to eat. Buy the beef that fits your budget. Buy the beef that is available to you. All beef farmers are raising quality beef. Don’t get too hung up on what the cattle where fed the last six months of its life. So, I know you are dieing for a good recipe:)

Crock Pot Cubed Steak

Cubed steak is a fairly inexpensive cut of beef. Most people have had it prepared as chicken fried steak. But, on a week night, chicken fried steak isn’t going to happen in this house. But, cubed steak in the crock pot is doable.

crock pot beef cubed steak ingredients

The base is easy. A can of cream of mushroom soup, can of French onion soup, an envelope of ranch and envelope of Italian dressing. Mix all of the ingredients together. I had some leftover diced green peppers, chopped green onions and sliced mushrooms from salads the night before, so I added them into the mix as well. If you don’t have veggies, you will be fine without them.

cubed beef steaks in the crock potPlace the cubed beef steaks into the crock pot. Pour the mixture over top of the cubed steaks and cook on low for 8 hours in the crock pot. Remove the steaks from the crock pot. If you want slightly thicker gravy, dissolve a little cornstarch in water and add to the liquid in the crock pot. Serve over a big pile of mashed potatoes.

Crock Pot Cubed Beef Steak

Crock Pot Beef Cubed Steaks
A great way to have flavorful and tender cubed steak meal without frying up country fried steaks.
  • 2 pounds of beef cubed steaks
  • 1 envelope of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 envelope of Italian dressing mix
  • 1 can of french onion soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup green peppers, diced
  • ½ cup of green or white onions, diced
  1. Mix together soups and seasonings mix. Stir in the vegetables.
  2. Place cubed steaks in the crock pot and pour soup mixture over top.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. If you want thicker gravy, mix together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in ¼ cup cold water. Pour into crock pot once steaks have been removed. Stir till thickened.

What do you have cooking this week? Can’t wait to get some great ideas! This post is also part of a larger series called 30 Days on the Prairie Farm. Be sure to checkout other farm bloggers or my other posts here.

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