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March 23, 2023

2/3/2023 11:39:00 AM
Keep staying warm in these frigid times

I feel like I harp on the weather a bit too much in the winter. I always say we have cold weather coming up, so we’re going to do a crockpot or slowcooker recipe. But, this week’s frigid temps really have me just jonesing for warm, comfort food. Something that’s easy, doesn’t require much effort and just warms your soul.

That’s what this week’s focus is on. Warming your soul and bringing the temperate up in your house.


1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (1.5-2 pounds works fine, 3 chicken breasts)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8.1 oz. jarred pesto
1/2 c. salted butter
1/2 lemon
These items don’t get added until the end
1 lb. dried rotini pasta (cooked and drained, see directions for more info)
1/2 c. grated parmesan (I use the powdery shake  type)
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 tsp. dried basil to garnish

Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread over the pesto, squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Cut the butter into slices and lay over the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.

Near the end of the cooking time, cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.

Shred the chicken with 2 forks. Add the cooked pasta and the parmesan cheese, stir everything until the pasta is coated with the buttery pesto sauce and the chicken is evenly dispersed throughout the pasta.

Add the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Cover for about 15 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!


1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed (fresh or frozen then thawed)
1 tbsp. olive oil (or avocado oil)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup)
14.5 oz. can fire roasted stewed tomatoes (diced work best)
1/2 c. chunky salsa
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder or ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika or cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (extra for plating)
Optional toppings – chopped green onion, sour cream, avocado, jalapeño pepper, etc.
Tortillas to serve

First, prepare the shrimp if they are not already thawed. If using frozen shrimp, quickly thaw in water for 10 minutes before peeling. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels.

Layer the shrimp at the bottom of the crockpot/slow cooker.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on top. Add the garlic, chopped onion and bell pepper, and toss to combine.

Add the drained canned fire roasted tomatoes, salsa, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and paprika to the crockpot. Mix together until seasonings are well combined with shrimp and vegetables.

Place slow cooker (crock pot) on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Stir once, about halfway through cooking.

Check on shrimp after about 1 hour of cooking on high. If they look almost done, place on medium for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Shrimp are done and cooked through once opaque, looking similar to that of steamed shrimp.

Serve with gluten free tortillas and fillings/toppings of choice. Ex: chopped green onions, avocado, jalapeño, and extra cilantro to garnish.
These tacos are best enjoyed right away.


1 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped red peppers
1/2 c. chopped green peppers
3 garlic cloves Minced
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
2 c. elbow macaroni
15 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
15 oz. canned black beans, drained.
15 oz. canned chili beans, drained.
1 c. beef broth
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

Homemade Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat.

Add the ground beef and the chili seasoning. Break down the ground beef with a meat chopper.

Stir and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the beef.

Add in the red peppers, green peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft.

Add the cooked beef and vegetables to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients (with the exception of the cheese).

Cook on Low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check in periodically. It has finished cooking when the pasta is soft.

About 10-15 minutes prior to serving, add the cheese to the cooker. Sprinkle it throughout the top.

Allow 10-15 minutes for the cheese to melt.


I’ll end with a warm cocktail that I like to enjoy and is fairly popular, but for those that haven’t had one: do yourself a favor, and try it on one of these cold days, and that’s coming from an Irishman!

2 oz. heavy cream
.75 oz. simple syrup
4 oz. hot coffee
1 oz. Irish whiskey

Whisk cream and about a quarter of the simple syrup in a chilled bowl until soft peaks just begin to form, about 30 seconds. Set aside. Combine coffee, whiskey, and remaining simple syrup in a warmed mug and stir. Dollop whipped cream on top and serve.

TFD: Winter forms our character and brings out our best.

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