Corned Beef & Cabbage

St. Patrick’s Day is this coming Sunday and that means one thing to my husband… Corned Beef and Cabbage! I must admit, that I have never-ever been a big fan of corned beef and cabbage. Most of the time the corned beef is dry, chewy and tasteless — and the cabbage just tastes like mushy baby food! Icky! But when Mark asked for corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day I knew I had to give it a try.

This is by far the most amazing corned beef and cabbage that I have ever ate — let alone made. The beer and spices make the corned beef melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful, and the cabbage still has a nice crispy bite to it! No soggy baby food cabbage or leathery corned beef here!

In the dozens of times I have made this recipe it has never failed. The best part — it cooks in the crockpot all day while I am at work!  How easy is that!?! Mark nor I like a ton of hearty vegetables with our meals so I normally leave out the carrots and the potatoes; and I time the corned beef so that I get home with one hour left to cook when I get home so I can just toss in the cabbage.

If you are looking for a fail proof recipe this St. Patrick’s Day trust me — this is the one!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage
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6 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Small Onions, cut into quarters
3 cups Water
12 ounce New Castle Beer
2 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons White Vinegar
4 pound Corned Beef Brisket
1 pound bag Baby Carrots (if desired)
1 pound Small Red Potatoes, quartered (if desired)
1 head of Green Cabbage, cut into 1″ strips
Seasoning Packet, included with Corned Beef Brisket
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

In the bottom of your crockpot place the wedges of onions and the crushed garlic. (The onions will act as a “stand” for the corned beef so it does not touch the bottom of the crockpot and dry out while cooking.) Place the corned beef onto of the onions and the garlic.

In a medium sized mixing bowl stir together the water, beer, sugar and vinegar. Pour the mixture over the corned beef. Sprinkle the seasoning packet included with the corned beef, salt and pepper onto the top of the corned beef.

Cover the crockpot, turn it on low and cook the corned beef for 8 hours. After 4 hours of cooking add in the potatoes and the carrots, if you desire. Cover and continue cooking. With 1 hour remaining, add the cabbage to the crockpot. Cover and continue to cook for the remaining hour.

Source: adapted from Family Fresh Meals.

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken

Recently, with everything going on around the house cooking has become a little bit of a chore. Mark has been on diet and making a fresh meal every night for two has been straining on my brain since I have been trying to keep new dishes in the mix. From my dieting history, I know how boring it can get to eat the same foods over and over again, week after week. The other afternoon as I was sitting around with the dogs, suddenly it struck me that I have not been using my trusty ole’ crock pot like I should be! PERFECT, I thought to myself!! All I would have to do is toss everything into the crock pot, let it cook on its own, and then I would have a few meals worth of chicken for us!

Looking through my options, I decided that the Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken would be perfect! The possibilities are endless once the chicken is done cooking! Mark and I have eaten this chicken in everything from tacos and quesadillas, to topping rice and noodles with it. This recipe is so good that tomorrow we are making a second batch!

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken
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4 Pounds chicken breast
1 Cup Italian dressing
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Packet dry ranch dressing mix
3/4 Cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Spray the bottom and sides of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and add the chicken.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until blended well. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook for 3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low.

Remove the chicken from the mixture, and shred it. Add the shredded chicken back into the mixture and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Source: adapted slightly from Chef In Training