Simple Recipes

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Winter seems to just call for the slow cooker! I love my crockpot for all sorts of things, but I especially love making soups. Soups are my comfort food – I have fond memories of my mom making soups on a cold winter’s day. We would rip off a piece of warm, crusty bread to dip in and get every last drop of delectable broth in the bowl!

This recipe is a nod to my time living in Boston’s North End — the Italian neighborhood! Crockpot Minestrone Soup is perfect to prep the day before, refrigerate, then set it on low for 8-10 hours.


Crockpot Minestrone Soup
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A Great Winter Warmup Recipe! Full of veggies & protein-packed with kidney and white beans, this Italian style soup will be a favorite!
Recipe type: Soup, slow cooker, crockpot
Cuisine: American Italian
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 cup each of carrots, celery, green beans (and really any veggie you may need to get rid of in fridge - I added diced zucchini as well!)
  • 1 whole sweet onion, diced
  • 64 oz vegetable stock
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes - I used Fire Roasted, with Basil, Oregano & Garlic for more flavor!
  • 2 16 oz cans dark kidney beans, drained
  • 2 15.8 oz cans great northern beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1- 1½ cups dried elbow pasta - I used Ditalini style because i like the short macaroni!
  • Optional: You can also add ¾ cup quinoa if you want to add an extra "punch" of nutrients!
  1. Combine all ingredients, except pasta & quinoa (if using), into large crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
  3. In last 20 minutes of cooking add in the pasta (and quinoa if using), making sure the slow cooker is set on high for the last 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with bread and a little fresh parmesan and enjoy!


Crockpot Italian Beef

This is a super recipe to prepare the day before a big event or football game (think EASY tailgating!). Serve on sub rolls, with a little provolone cheese, roasted red peppers – OH SO GOOD!

Crockpot Italian Beef
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Juicy Italian-spiced beef, shredded and ready to serve at a tailgate or any informal event! This recipe is perfect to serve up on sub rolls, with a little provolone cheese, some roasted red peppers!
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon of each: sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One package of dry, Italian salad dressing mix (I used Zesty Italian!)
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 lb. rump roast
  1. Place rump roast into crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle onions over roast.
  3. In a saucepan, boil the water (or broth if you are using that).
  4. Add the spices, bay leaf and Italian dressing mix and stir. Bring to a rolling boil and turn off heat.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast, then cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  6. Serve on toasted sub rolls with melted provolone cheese, roasted red peppers and salted onions! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

Aren’t slow cookers the best? You can make something in the morning and let it cook all day until it is tender and delicious! But have you noticed so many slow cooker recipes use canned soup? IT is a short-cut to making something creamy – BUT you can’t control the ingredients! Though I am the Queen of Shortcuts, I try to make things from scratch so I can control the ingredients. That’s why this recipe is so good! It is all fresh (no canned soup here!), so I’m in control of all the ingredients, plus it is EASY!

This is a creamy & tasty dish that I feel good about serving the family. Make it in the morning, before the day gets busy (or assemble the night before, put in fridge & cook the next day!). You come home to a delicious smelling house! Doesn’t it look fabulous? (You should SMELL it!)

Serve it over egg noodles and pair it with a healthy vegetable side dish – Oh SO GOOD! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
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Creamy and flavorful Chicken Stroganoff is a wonderful recipe to make for guests! Serve over egg noodles, dust with a little fresh, chopped parsley! Yum!
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk (you can use ½ cup evaporated milk for a richer feeling sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano & sea salt
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  1. Place the cubed chicken breast into the crockpot.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk into a paste. Remaining over medium heat, add the chicken broth and whisk. Add the milk and whisk. Continue whisking the mixture over medium heat until the mixture is a slightly thick sauce.
  3. Add the pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, and sea salt. Stir well.
  4. Add the fresh garlic, onion and mushrooms.
  5. Pour sauce over the chicken in crockpot. Stir until all chicken pieces are covered in sauce.
  6. Cover and cook on low for approx. 5 hours.
  7. Add cream cheese (cube it first) and stir until melted.
  8. Add sour cream and stir. Allow to heat up - maybe 20 minutes.
  9. Serve over egg noodles, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

A New Way To Serve Stuffing

Tired of serving stuffing out of a bird’s behind? Try presenting your stuffing in a creative way (plus, you don’t have to worry about undercooking and getting salmonella!).

Make your stuffing in a bundt pan! It is not only healthy, but it presents the stuffing in a unique form! The key is to add eggs to your favorite recipe so it will hold together when you take it out of the bundt pan. Look how pretty it looks!



You can use your own, favorite recipe, just be sure to add 3-4 eggs to your mixture (mix it in with the chicken broth you use in your recipe). Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until it is lightly browned.

If you are in need of a recipe, try this one:

Bacon (or Sausage) Stuffing
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Cook this recipe separately from your turkey and be sure to cook it in a bundt pan for a nice presentation!
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10 servings
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon (or ½ cup ground pork sausage), cooked, drained and copped into small pieces (keep the fat in the pan)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh sage
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) minced garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf of french bread, cubed and dried in a 200 degree oven until lightly toasted - about 20 minutes.
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 eggs, beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using the pan with the bacon (or pork sausage) grease, sauté the sage, garlic, parsley together for 30-40 seconds. Add the chopped bacon (or sausage) and stir.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the beaten eggs into the chicken broth.
  4. In a large bowl, place the bread cubes, the herb mixture, and mix together.
  5. Slowly add the chicken broth mixture, tossing the bread cubes to coat.
  6. Press mixture into a lightly greased bundt pan.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
  8. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Invert onto a serving platter.

Have a VERY Happy Holiday!



Sweet Potato Stackers


My family LOVES sweet potatoes! I served these and they were a BIG hit, so I believe I will serve them for Thanksgiving this year. Buttery layers of sweet potatoes with rosemary and garlic and fresh parmesan cheese – my mouth is watering just thinking about them!

These are a different way to serve those delectable, spuds of the South! And best part? No mini marshmallows!




Sweet Potato Stackers
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Buttery layers of sweet potatoes, paired with rosemary, garlic and fresh parmesan - these Sweet Potato Stackers are sure to be a hit at the next family gathering!
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 4-5 sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced into thin slices.
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary (plus another teaspoon for topping at end)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2-4 Tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese (plus 2 TBS for topping at end)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine in a large bowl the melted butter, olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and whisk until they ingredients are blended.
  3. Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and lightly wish.
  4. Add sliced sweet potatoes to the bowl and mix until all slices are coated in the oil mixture.
  5. In a light greased muffing tin, layer the sweet potatoes until each tin is filled to the top. These will shrink down while they cook.
  6. Cook for 45-55 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned and are tender.
  7. Place on a plate and top with more parmesan cheese and fresh chopped rosemary. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Stacker – So Simple & So GOOD!



Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bites


One of my favorite vegetables, second only to broccoli, is zucchini! It is a very versatile veggie! So speaking as a Zucchini Lover, this recipe is fantastic! You can almost convince yourself it is healthy because it is mostly zucchini, with a little bit of cheese!

Seriously, how can you not want to devour these right out of the oven?!
Seriously, how can you not want to devour these right out of the oven?! Easy Cheesy Zucchini by

I suggest you double the recipe – I made a single batch and literally, all of the pieces were devoured in minutes. And this recipe has my little vegetarian’s stamp of approval!

Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bites
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These easy, cheesy zucchini bites will have carnivores, and vegetarians alike, devouring them!
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 3-4 zucchini, cleaned & shredded (yields approximately 1.5-2 cups shredded)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (you can also use shredded mozzarella and add in parmesan!)
  • ¼ cup panko or Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
  2. After shredding the zucchini, place it into a clean, dry paper towel and squeeze out the excess water and place the zucchini in a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet (I placed parchment paper on the cookie sheet and then greased that.)
  5. Bake in the oven for 14-20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges.
  6. Eat plain or with ranch dressing for dipping (but they really don't need the dressing!)




Chicken Enchilada Green Chili Soup

I love a good bowl of soup, especially on cool fall evenings! I find this soup, so thick it could almost be a stew, really hits the spot! A little spicy, a little Mexican – all my favorites in one dish!


I think when you try it, it will become a family favorite, too! Serve this up with some tortilla chips, a little sour cream, cheese, and maybe a little hot sauce to taste! Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Green Chili Soup
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This soup is perfect to come home to on cool nights in the fall or winter! Leave it in the crockpot all day and it will make your home smell like a Mexican fiesta!
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: American/Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless
  • 2 cans diced green chilies
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (if you use smoked, this would add a smokey flavor!)
  • 1 T. cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 16 oz. chicken broth (you can use more for a more soupy, soup!)
  • salt & pepper to taste (optional)
  • 8oz cream cheese, cubed
  1. Pour half the can of green enchilada sauce on bottom of crockpot, then add chicken breasts.
  2. Top with remaining green enchilada sauce and all other ingredients, except for the cream cheese.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
  4. A half hour before serving, take 2 forks and shred the chicken. Add in the cubed cream cheese. Stir and cover, allowing the cream cheese to melt.
  5. Serve when the cream cheese is melted - enjoy!


Serve This Chicken Enchilada Green Chili Soup with Tortilla Chips, cheese and sour cream!
Serve This Chicken Enchilada Green Chili Soup with Tortilla Chips, cheese and sour cream!


Getting Creative With Veggies – Carrot “Pumpkins”

I know from experience it can be difficult to get kids to eat their veggies! For some reason, two and three year olds just don’t care when you explain that veggies are good for them! But like all good parents, we try to sneak vegetables into their diet – some with success, some without!

So I knew when I saw these adorable carrot “pumpkins” they would be a perfect fall treat for kids – and something a parent can feel good about giving them!



I hope you like the cutting demonstration in the video!  Disclaimer: When using a big knife, I don’t recommend letting the kids cut the carrots! If you want to get them involved, give them the job of peeling and washing the carrots!

A close-up of the cuts you need to make on your carrot - So cute!
A close-up of the cut carrot – So cute!


What kid could refuse these sweet & crunchy “pumpkins” – especially if they are served with dip! Or add them to chicken noodle soup for a Fall or Halloween theme!



However you serve them, you and your child are sure to love them! (FYI – Even my teenagers happily munched away on these – before I was done filming!)


Homemade Honey Dijon Dressing


Honey Dijon Dressing – it could be another food group for some kids! My kids put it on everything, so I thought I would try to make it from scratch – no preservatives and full of flavor! Try this tangy version is sure to make everyone happy in your home!


Honey Dijon Dressing2

Homemade Honey Dijon Dressing
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Sweet & Tangy! Sure to be a hit!!
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Combine the first four ingredients and whisk.
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil - you may find you don't want to use the entire ¼ cup - feel free to adjust to your taste.
  3. Serve immediately!


Honey Dijon Dressing1

Creamy Feta Cheese Dressing

Oh yes, I am thinking of my trip to Greece when I make this dressing! This recipe comes together so easily you will be making it every week! Pour it over salad, make it thicker and use it as a dip for veggies and pita chips!


Feta Dressing2


Creamy Feta Cheese Dressing
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Creamy Feta Cheese dressing is perfect for a summer time salad and it comes together in minutes!!
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: ½ cup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup feta cheese - use plain or flavored
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Adjust the liquid ingredients to your preference to make it thinker or thinned out.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend! That easy! Store in an air tight container in fridge for up to 5 days.


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