Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Posts tagged ‘crockpot meal’

Primal Meatloaf (with Brie & Mushrooms!)

I mentioned I was going to try out this recipe a few days ago and had several people ask for the recipe or to share how it went. We made it over the weekend and I ate it yesterday for lunch, so I feel more confident in sharing the recipe and results now!

Right out of the crockpot!


I can’t take credit for the idea – I found the recipe at PaleoPot and you can see the original post here. As usual, we made a few changes so I’ll include the original recipe and our changes in Green so you can take it or leave it, or invent your own variation!

What you need:

  • 1.5 pounds of 90/10 grass fed ground beef. Leaner cuts work better as the extra fat simply runs off in cooking anyways. (We used a mixture of beef and pork for ours)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 cups of button mushrooms. Any fungi of your choice will work fine. Buy less mushrooms if you are afraid of having extras! (I bought pre sliced mushrooms and used about 8-10 oz)
  • 1 small log of brie or goat cheese. Usually 2 to 4 ounces. Trader Joe’s sourced my small log of brie this time. (I used 40z of brie, found it at Harris Teeter!)
  • 1/8 cup granulated garlic (We used minced garlic from a jar – and we used probably 1-2 TBSP because we heart garlic)
  • 1/8 cup dried parsley (We didn’t have any of this in our spice cabinet, so we left it out)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano (We grow  this, so we used fresh!)
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (again, spice fail! Didn’t have this one, and our rosemary isn’t growing very well…so we left it out)
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Make this quick:

  1. By hand, mix together your beef with your egg and spices. Everything but the mushrooms and the cheese.
  2. Once mixed, press the meat mixture down into the bowl to flatten it out as evenly as possible. This also works on a countertop, yet I prefer to just get it done in the bowl for easy cleanup.
  3. Cut your mushrooms lengthwise into slices. Think pizza topping slices.
  4. Place your log of brie in the center of your flattened meat mixture, and fold the meat around it, fully encasing the cheese.
  5. Make sure your cheese is fully covered by meat, and if there is a “seam” or place where the cheese is closest to the surface, this place will be facing up in your slow cooker.
  6. Press your mushroom slices into the exterior of your meatloaf. The goal is to have the entire outside encased in mushroom slices, held only by the meat mixture.
  7. Cook on low for 6 hours. (We cooked ours for longer since we wanted to make sure the pork was completely cooked!)

As it’s cooking, some fat will run off and some cheese may ozz out. Just put it on top because Brie is amazing!


This was quite tasty – and easy to put in a to-go container for a work lunch or quick dinner. I would definitely use the herbs/spices recommended, or jazz it up with whatever you have on hand so you are still getting some yummy flavors. The first bit of the meatloaf, I was thinking – this is okay. Then the next bite, I got some brie and then I was thinking: YUM! So You may be want to put more cheese in it, or make sure it’s spread all the way through when you are prepping so that every bite is delicious! You could certainly experiment with different cheeses as well. I know my hubby was worried that it would crumble since we weren’t using breadcrumbs or anything, but it really wasn’t a problem! The mushrooms stick to the outside and it really did pop out of the slow cooker all in one piece!

Hope everyone enjoys this recipe and that you’ll pop over to Paleo Pot as well for more slow cooker ideas that fit in with a wheat free, primal/paleo diet! Isn’t it fun when your chosen eating style is also exceptionally delicious!?



Brazilian Feijoada


Okay - SO not our photo,but you'll see below why...

Here’s the link to the recipe from Cooking Light:

Okay – so this meal was so yummy that we actually forgot to take pictures of the meal before we devoured it….yes, times 4! We changed this recipe up a bit so i wanted to point out what ingredients we left out – but for those of you who do eat red meat – this includes some, so go big!

This is a slow cooker recipe – so think ahead with this one so you can cook it while you are at work or asleep. We served ours over white rice – so just remember to pick up your fav rice because that is NOT included in the recipe.

What we changed:

So this calls for:

  • 1  pound  boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • But we used:

    1/2 pound pork tenderloin ( remember that you have to keep in mind that this serves 8 – so we cut the portions in half).

    It wasn’t that we have anything against pork shoulder – we just couldn’t find it at our usual store in a small quantity – so we just did the pork tenderloin.

    We also just excluded:

  • 3  bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
  • We didn’t sub anything else – we just left this part out.

    So it’s hard to say what this would have tasted like with the beef short ribs – but RJ and I both say that this meal was delicious! You serve it with orange slices (we used blood oranges which is same flavor, but adds a gourmet flair) – and that makes the flavor really pop. I’m not a huge fruit fan – so i simply squeezed the orange slices over my meal and it was great. Rj says that the orange adds the sauce to this meal – so don’t skip out on the fruit!

    You may feel like this meal is sort of dry when you are cooking it – don’t worry, we thought that, too – but it turned out great. Just don’t forget the rice, especially if you are forgoing the short rib, because that will make this meal a lot less calories!

    Again – we suck and don’t have a pic. But you could imagine us both with happy, satisfied smiles on our face after eating it for lunch 2 times this week. It reheated very well – perfect to bring to work!

    Honestly – this meal would have been a mutual favorite if we hadn’t ALSO made the Skinny  Gumbo this week. So – please try it. And then let us know how much you loved it!

    Happy cooking!

    Rj & Dre

    Weekly Recipes – Dec. 13-17

    Here we go – our next run down of meals from last week. We sort of went on a soup/stew rampage this week. If you haven’t went out to buy a slow  cooker yet – now’s the time. I promise, it will make your life so much easier. Also – this week, we only have 3 meals because I decided to substitute my Shakeology for breakfast and dinner a few times. I’ll be posting about Shakeology a bit later with some info in case anyone is interested.

    Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
    Southwestern Bean & Barley Soup: (seriously – click for details in the blog about this one below – it was awesome!)
    Chicken “Carne” Adovada: (we changed this one up a bit when it came to the cooking instructions to make it MUCH faster to make. Be sure to read details in our blog about it below)

    Christmas is just around the corner – anyone have any family recipes they want to share?

    Happy eating!

    -Dre & RJ

    Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

    Quick Link:

    Okay – have to admit, we failed on taking pictures of this one. Instead – you get a picture of RJ showing you how he felt about this dish.

    RJ Says "Right On" to this Winter Stew

    In all seriousness – RJ really did like this stew. I have mixed feelings about it. It WAS good – but sort of sweet since it uses the Sweet Potatoes of course. And I just couldn’t eat the whole bowl of it. RJ on the other hand, really enjoyed it. He described it as more of a sweet/savory – and he obviously gives it a thumbs up. It’s strange because I am definitely the one with the sweet tooth, yet this just wasn’t the right kind of sweet for me.

    All in all, I’ve give you this – it was a unique recipe and definitely something different to serve at a dinner party to get people talking!

    Here’s the info!

    6 servings (remember – to add extra calories if you make all 6 but are only eating it 4 times!)

    Active Time: 20 minutes

    Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes (this goes in a slow cooker!)


    • 6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat (we bought boneless chicken thighs to make it easier – you can also just use chicken breast if you aren’t into thighs)
    • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into spears
    • 1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 6 large shallots, peeled and halved (you can also use an onion if you prefer)
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

    Seriously – this one is easy, you just throw all the stuff in your crockpot and let it cook. So easy.

    Happy cooking!!!


    Southwestern Bean and Barley Soup

    Hearty Soup for Cold Days!


    Okay – I know what you are thinking. Beans and Barley? BORING?! Or for some of you who are not down with the barley – you might just be thinking it sounds gross. I have to admit that growing up, I was definitely a full paying member of that same camp.  But i’m proud to tell you that my name is Dre – and I thoroughly enjoyed the bean and barley soup. So give it a try – it really was super simple.

    I’ve heard thru the grapevine (since so many *ahem* ALL of our readers refuse to comment!) that perhaps some of the recipes sound too daunting. But the whole point of this site is to be a resource and share any tips and tricks and to let you know that a real person tried the recipe and it wasn’t so bad. I always feel intimidated by new foods, new ways of chopping or roasting or something – but honestly, if you aren’t comfortable with something, just substitute how YOU usually make it and go with it. You’ll figure out if it works or not. But you won’t ever enjoy all these new delicious recipes if you don’t give them a try!

    Okay – off my soup soap box and back to the recipe at hand.

    Here’s the ingredients and what we changed:

    6 Servings, about 1 1/3 cups each

    Active Time: 30 minutes (Total Time: 2 1/4 hours) – Don’t worry you don’t have to be stirring it the whole time or anything!


    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 1 large stalk celery, diced
    • 1 large carrot, diced
    • 9 cups water (this amount changes to TWO cups if you decide to use crock pot instead of stove top)
    • 4 cups (32-ounce carton) reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
    • Look for the following 3 ingredients at your grocer in the canned veggies aisle – just keep going until you see the bags of beans that are NOT canned. If you have access to a healthy food store where you can go and measure your own beans out – I’d recommend doing so – because you can’t buy just 1/3 cup of any of these beans!
    • 1/2 cup pearl barley
    • 1/3 cup dried black beans
    • 1/3 cup dried great northern beans
    • 1/3 cup dried kidney beans
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt

    Now for the preparation of this one – you can make it on the stove, or in a slow cooker. Be sure to look at the variation on the quick link because you use less water and it cooks for a longer time. We went for the slow cooker (crock pot) variation.

    dReJ Say: This was a HIT with us. It was super hearty and therefore, very filling. Not sure if ours turned out the way it’s supposed to, because it was less soupy and more like a thick chili….but that was just fine with us. Super easy to make – and it is a perfect meal to make ahead and heat up again later at work or for dinner the next day.

    dReJ Tip: If you find that yours is a bit bland – a good tip for using the slow-cooker is that you need to add more salt to bring out the flavor. So season it up a bit and you’ll be good!


    Pinto Bean Chili with Corn and Winter Squash

    Quick Link:

    Okay – we are dweebs and didn’t take a picture of this meal. But we both have to give another hearty thumbs up to this meal. You may be not so excited about a vegetarian chili – but we are here to tell you – GET EXCITED! And if you really are still not excited about veggie chili – you could easily add in some meat to this one!

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups chili, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 lime wedge)


    • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
    • 1 1/2  cups  chopped onion
    • 1 1/2  cups  chopped red bell pepper
    • 1  garlic clove, minced
    • 2  tablespoons  chili powder
    • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
    • 4  cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
    • 3  cups  cooked pinto beans
    • 1 1/2  cups  water
    • 1  cup  frozen whole-kernel corn (we just used canned corn)
    • 1  teaspoon  salt
    • 1  (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
    • 1  (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
    • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
    • 6  lime wedges

    We have been on a roll with the butternut squash this month. If you have been frightened – fear not! We found a handy dandy pre-cubed butternut squash package available in the produce section of our grocery store last week. So for those not wanting to deal with the “real thing” – look for this:

    Time saver alert! Pre-cubed squash!


    Slow Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili


    Perfect to take to work for a quick reheat!


    Quick Link to Recipe:

    10 servings, generous 1 cup each (we split this recipe in half to make 5 servings – so we got a little more than 1 serving each time)
    Active Time: 25 minutes
    Total Time: 6 1/4-9 1/4 hours

    INGREDIENTS (remember to make half if you are cooking for 2 for the week!)

    • 1 pound dried black beans, (2 1/2 cups), rinsed
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or ground cardamom
    • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
    • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
    • 8 ounces tomatillos, (see Ingredient Note), husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 5 1/2 cups mushroom broth, or vegetable broth
    • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
    • 1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, (see Ingredient Note)
    • 1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack cheese
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 limes, cut into wedges
    • dReJ addition: 1/2 lb ground turkey (this is ALREADY for half the servings)

    dReJ Tip: We made this recipe as is (other than making half of the ingredients), and then we added our leftover ground turkey after we made our meatloaf. As you are putting the ingredients in the crock pot for STEP 3 of the recipe instructions on the link – add the crumbled up raw turkey. It will cook as you leave it in the crock pot.

    If you have a slow cooker/crock pot – you are set. This is a super easy meal to make as you don’t have to be actively involved the entire cooking time. So don’t let the cook time freak you out.  If you don’t have a crock pot – it does give stove top directions at the bottom of the recipe!


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