Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Happy new year! I hope your holidays were good! I am so ready for things to slow down. The hustle and bustle of the holidays wears me out! Speaking of slowing down, how about making some hot chocolate in your slow cooker? This is probably the best. hot chocolate. I. have. ever. made! My chocolate chips didn’t want to melt all the way, so be sure and stir this as it is heating up. This was so yummy and we all liked it.

rating: 9.8

Crockpot Hot Chocolate




1.5 cups heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 cups milk chocolate chips
6 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract




Stir all ingredients together in crockpot. Cook on low for 2 hours, whisking occasionally.


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Easy 30-Minute Black Bean Soup

This soup was okay. I prefer this one! None of us went for seconds.

rating: 6

Easy 30-Minute Black Bean Soup




4 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 cans (10 oz each) original Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Medium Onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Ground cumin
1 Cup Chicken Broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce (I used vegetarian worcestershire sauce)
Salt to taste
Greek yogurt (garnish)
green onions (garnish)
shredded cheddar cheese (garnish)



In a blender or food processor, add 2 cans of black beans and 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes and process until well blended. Set aside.
Add oil to a large stockpot and heat over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add garlic and cumin and stir for another minute. Add chicken broth and let simmer for one minute.
Add bean and Rotel mixture and stir. Add remaining 2 cans of (whole) beans. Add Worcestershire and red pepper. Mix well, and heat on medium high until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Top soup with Greek yogurt, green onions and cheddar cheese.

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Creamy Vegan Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

I have come to a conclusion: I just don’t love corn chowder. This soup was okay, and I did eat leftovers for lunch for two days after, but that’s just it, it was just okay. It is vegan and seems pretty healthy. My kids did not love it.

rating: 5

Creamy Vegan Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
(All Recipes magazine)


serves 8
time needed: 45 min.


3 small sweet potatoes, peeled
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn kernels
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger (optional)
2 cups soy milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour



Place sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and reserve 2 1/2 cups of potato water. Chop 2 sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potato when cool enough to handle; reserve remaining sweet potato for a later step.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir celery and sweet onion in the hot oil until onion begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir 1 chopped sweet potato, chopped Yukon Gold potato, and garlic into mixture. Cook and stir until garlic begins to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Stir corn and 1 chopped sweet potato into onion and celery mixture. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour reserved 2 1/2 cups drained potato cooking water into mixture. Place remaining sweet potato and ginger into a food processor and pulse several times to chop; puree and stir into vegetables. Stir soy milk, vegetable broth, parsley, rosemary, sea salt, black pepper, and bay leaf into mixture and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
Whisk flour into soup, stir until thickened, and remove soup from heat.

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5-Ingredient Cozy Pasta Parmesan Soup

Wow, this soup was great! And talk about easy?! My 11 year old didn’t love the Parmesan, but said he wouldn’t mind a different cheese substituted. I ate this soup the next day for lunch as well, and it was even better! This IS a cozy soup!

rating: 9.8

5-Ingredient Cozy Pasta Parmesan Soup

serves 4
time needed: 15 min.


4 Tbsp butter
4-6 cloves garlic (or 1 shallot), diced
1 (32 oz) chicken Broth (I used vegetarian chicken broth)
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
1/2 cup parmesan
Parsley for garnish, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat, stir just until slightly browned, then toss in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so, just until aromatic, then add chicken broth and pasta. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until pasta is al dente. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half the parmesan. Garnish with parsley and additional parm. Enjoy!


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“Sausage” Quiche

When I think of quiche, I think of a crust, which this one does not have. I would say it’s more like a frittata? In any case, this is GOOD! We couldn’t believe how good it was! I used 1 package of vegetarian sausage (Gimme Lean), and milk instead of half-and-half. I served this with some breakfast potatoes and toast. PS: this recipe was from an ad (For Jimmy Dean sausage) in a magazine.

rating: 9.5

“Sausage” Quiche


Time needed: 1 hour


1 16 oz. pkg. Jimmy Dean Regular Premium Pork sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained (I used 1 pkg. of Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage)
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2 cups half-and-half or milk (I used milk)
1 cup all-purpose baking mix
suggested toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh parsley



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sausage in lightly greased 2-qt. round casserole dish. Top with onions and cheese.
2. Beat eggs, half-and-half, and baking mix with wire whisk until well-blended. Pour over cheese.
3. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges. Add toppings.



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“Turkey” Avocado Panini

This sandwich was pretty good. I left off the red peppers, and I used Tofurky deli slices in place of the meat. Easy!

rating: 8.5

“Turkey” Avocado Panini
(Allrecipes Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2017)



2 ciabatta rolls
2 tsp olive oil
2 slices provolone cheese
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, sliced into thin strips
1/4 lb. thinly sliced mesquite smoked turkey (I used Tofurky Deli slices)
1/2 rip avocado, thinly sliced
2 tbsp creamy salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip (I used Hampton Creek Just Mayo)



1. Slice rolls in half lengthwise, brush bottoms with 1/2 tsp oil each, and put, oiled sides down, in a panini press. Layer each with 1 slice cheese and half of spinach, red peppers, turkey and avocado. Spread 1 tbsp dressing on cut side of each top and put, dressing side down, on each sandwich. Brush each top with remaining 1/2 tsp oil.

2. Close panini press and cook until rolls are toasted and crisp and cheese has melted, 5-8 minutes.

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Beer Cheese Soup

This soup was okay. You could still taste the beer a little, though, and I am not a fan of beer. We ate it, but I probably wouldn’t make it again. Meh.

rating: 6.5

Beer Cheese Soup
(Cooking Light, Oct. 2017)

time needed: 1 hour, 10 min.
serves: 6




1 (2-lb.) butternut squash
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped white onion
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 (12-oz.)
bottle pale ale-style beer
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” stock)
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seeds



Step 1
Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice butternut squash in half lengthwise. Coat each cut side with cooking spray. Place squash halves, cut side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 45 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Scoop out 2 1/2 cups flesh. Set aside.

Step 2
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion and carrots; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, nutritional yeast, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add beer; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in squash, stock, and milk.

Step 3
Pour mixture into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth. Pour mixture back into Dutch oven.

Step 4
Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; mix well. Whisk cornstarch mixture into soup; cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until soup begins to thicken. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Ladle soup evenly into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds.


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