Summer Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

Summer Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

Summer may arguably be the best season of the year.  The weather is warm and the days are long.  The season is full of parties, summer BBQs, and get-togethers.  As people strive to soak up all they can of the “sweet days of summer,” it’s no surprise that many search for more efficient ways to cook.

Summer Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

While it doesn’t seem like the time of year to pull out your slow-cooker, a crock pot can actually provide the perfect meal without substantially heating up your home.  It also provides the set-and-forget meal that you are looking for during this busy, yet fun time of year.  You can prep your crock pot the night before, turn it on in the morning, spend the day at the lake, and come home to a delicious meal.

Crock pots are not just for soups and stews.  Branch out and create sandwiches, desserts, appetizers, and more, with your crock pot.  These Summer Crock Pot French Dip sandwiches not only provide big flavor, but also freedom from the kitchen!

Summer Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

After trying these Summer Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches, you’ll have a tough time going back to a  traditional French dip. When the weather gets hot, do you use your crock pot?  If so, what do you cook with it?  Let us know in the comments section.

Find more easy-to-make recipes from Crystal at Simply Playful Fare.

Thanks so much for sharing your great recipe, Crystal! If you like this recipe, please pin it or share it! And, of course make sure you subscribe to It’s a Keeper so you don’t miss a single one!

You can find all of the Slow Cookin’ Summer recipes here along with my favorite easy crock pot recipes and tips for using your slow cooker.

Slow Cookin Summer: Easy Recipes for a Slow Cooker on It's a Keeper


For more recipe inspiration, be sure to check out these pages on It’s a Keeper:

 

Kickin Chicken Panini from It's a Keeper

Kickin’ Chicken Panini

If you’re looking for a great sandwich that is packed with bold flavors and a little kick, give my Kickin’ Chicken Panini a try! This sandwich has everything you’ve ever dreamed of in a sandwich! It’s bold. It’s sweet. It’s melty. It’s crunchy. It’s got a kick. And, did I mention that it has bacon?!? It’s pure sandwich nirvana.

Bulgogi korean stir fry it's a keeper

Bulgogi: Korean Stir Fry

My new friend, Joohye “Rachel” Jung, has been telling me all about her native Korean culture.  It was fascinating to learn about her family, traditions and cuisine.   Of course, one of the first things I asked is what is the one dish that epitomizes the Korean culture?  Her answer was Bulgogi (pronounced BULL-GO-GEE) — a popular Korean Barbeque Beef recipe.

One afternoon, I pulled into my driveway after being out all day.  I noticed a bag on my front porch.  When I opened it, there was a bowl filled with marinating meat and vegetables.  Rachel had left me a Bulgogi care package for dinner!  All I needed to do was cook it.  Her instructions were simple — pan-fry the Bulgogi and serve it over rice.   I could do that!

Easy Cheesy Orzo It's a Keeper

Easy Cheesy Orzo

One of my favorite go-to side dish recipes is this Parmesan Orzo.  I love it because it’s super simple to make and it tastes so good.   The last time I made this recipe, I had some left over Velveeta cheese in the fridge.  I swapped out the Parmesan for the Velveeta.

The result?  A creamy, cheesy, deeeelicious side dish!  The fam was crazy about it.  It reminded them of my homemade mac and cheese.

I think this would be perfect pair with my meatloaf or Crispy Oven Fried Chicken!

What’s your favorite go-to side dish?

 

Italian Roasted Shrimp easy shrimp recipe It's a Keeper

Roasted Italian Shrimp

It’s no secret that one of my favorite cooking techniques is roasting.  It’s fairly easy and really deepens the flavor of whatever you’re roasting.  I love roasting vegetables like, Parmesan Roasted Green Beans, Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Tuscan Roasted Asparagus.  And, of course there’s always roasted chicken – a classic.  But, this easy shrimp recipe has quickly become one of my favorites!

This recipe is so easy to make and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.  It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  You can serve it over rice or pasta.  Or, add it to a salad for a light dinner or easy lunch.  Or, you can eat it just as it is.   It would even make a nice appetizer. I love having options.  Don’t you?

Soy Ginger Garlic Fish It's a Keeper

Soy Ginger Garlic Fish

Today, I have an easy fish recipe for you.  But first, let me tell you about how I came up with this recipe.

Last summer, while on vacation with our good friends, we went out for dinner at this little crab shack.  It was a hole-in-the-wall place that came very highly recommended by the locals.  It was the antithesis of fancy — paper table”cloths”, mismatched furniture and no air conditioning – just open windows and the warm ocean breeze.  Ordering was easy, just pick your protein (a selection of fish, shrimp and scallops) from the column on the left of the chalk-board menu and then choose your sauce from the column on the right.

Party Lunch Meat It's a Keeper

Party Lunch Meat

This is a hard post for me to write.  This recipe is one of my husband’s all time favorite sandwiches.  His mother has made him these sandwiches since he was a little boy.   Now, he even has my son asking for them.  I, on the other hand, want no part of them.  I think they’re gross.  Nothing about this recipe is appealing to me.   That’s why this post is hard for me to write!

Before writing this post, I surveyed my friends and family to see what they thought of this recipe.  Some had never heard of it but thought it sounded good.  But, many of them loved it.  They remember their moms making it for them when they were younger.   It seems to be one of those old fashioned recipes that has been around for ages and it was the go-to sandwich for parties and gatherings.  My husband packs them in his lunch every year for hunting season.  Just for the record, he buys the ingredients, makes them and eats them.  I have nothing to do with them!

Creamy Chicken Tortellini Bake 2 It's a Keeper

Chicken and Broccoli Tortellini Casserole

Baby it’s cold outside!  This week it hasn’t gotten over 7 degrees here.  And, when you factor in the wind chill factor it’s bone chilling cold!   It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to snuggle in and not leave your warm house.  It also makes me crave comfort food.  I found this recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Tortellini Casserole in a magazine.  It looked so good and sounded even better.  And, since we’re on a broccoli kick this week, I thought it would be perfect for a frigid day.

Steak Pizziaola It's a Keeper

Steak Pizzaiola

For years now, I’ve been dying to try Steak Pizzaiola.  I don’t know why…it just sounded interesting to me.  One afternoon, I was watching 30 Minute Meals and Rachel Ray made Pork Chops Pizzaiola.  So, I did what any girl would do…I pinned the recipe on my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest

Baked Pierogi Casserole

Baked Pierogi Casserole

This recipe is pure, unadulterated comfort food! I’m going to warn you right now…there is absolutely NOTHING healthy about this recipe. While it may not be very nutritious, it is one of those recipes that just makes you feel cozy. It’s warm and comforting and oh so good!

And, it reminds of my childhood! My mom used to make this recipe for us when we were kids. If I remember correctly (it’s been a while now!), my mother made this for one of my first sleep-over parties. We must have been pretty hungry girls because we polished off an entire pan of the stuff and asked her to make more! It is THAT good!

Pasta Cordon Bleu It's a Keeper

Pasta Cordon Bleu

Pasta Cordon Bleu It's a Keeper

I hope everyone had a happy Easter!  One of the things I love about holidays is leftovers!  I have my favorite go-to recipes that are great for leftovers, but I’m always on the look out for new things to try.  I found this recipe for Pasta Cordon Bleu on Pinterest and thought it would be a good way to use up leftover Easter ham.  It seemed to be a fun take on Chicken Cordon Bleu only in a casserole! 

Ina Garten's Spicy Turkey Meatballs

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

OK folks, I know I’ve been a way for quite some time.   Over the last few months, we had a lot going on in the H. household!  We *FINALLY* moved into our new home (with my awesome new kitchen)!  I’ll be sure to post some new photos — as soon as I finish unpacking all of the boxes!  Between the packing, moving and the holidays it’s been a zoo around here.  For the past 2 months or so we’ve been eating out almost every night.  And, not only is that expensive, but it gets old…really quick!  I missed my stove.  I would actually lay in bed at night thinking about all of the dishes I wanted to cook when my kitchen was ready.

One thing I noticed as I unpacked my pantry items was that I had waaaay too much pasta!  So, that meant spaghetti and meatballs!  And, I knew right where to look to find a new recipe to try….Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) newest cookbook, How Easy is That?  I had that amazing opportunity to meet Ina in person at a book signing (you can read about it here)!  I absolutely adore her!  What I wouldn’t give to watch a living taping of her show!  This recipe is the first recipe I’m testing from her newest book!

Weight Watchers Pork Tenderloin

Seasoned Pork Tenderloin: A Super Fast Supper

Everywhere I go, I find myself in conversations about food.  I also find myself scribbling down recipes on scraps of paper, backs of envelopes or, even napkins.  I can’t help myself.  I think I have an addiction.

This recipe is from one of those instances.  I was at church and, as usual, engrossed in a conversation about food.  We were going back and forth about our go-to recipes.  You know, the ones that you end up making about once a week!  My friend was telling me about a great pork tenderloin recipe that was super simple and packed with flavor.   That sure got my attention! 

Homemade Mac & cheese it's a keeper

My Favorite Mac & Cheese

There is nothing more perfect (in my 5 year old’s opinion) than macaroni and cheese.  He would eat it with everything meal — including breakfast if I let him!  It goes with everything — chicken, beef, fish, pancakes (he actually tried to convince me of that once!).

While my son loves mac and cheese from a box, he loves my homemade version even more.  Making homemade mac & cheese is not as daunting of a task as you might think.  It’s really quite simple.   And, this recipe tastes sooo much better than the stuff from a box.  Trust me on this.  Years ago I found a recipe in the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook that seemed to work perfectly for me.  I’ve since adapted the recipe a bit to suit our tastes, and now it’s just right!

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce

Raise your hand if you LOVE garlic! Me! Me! Me! That must be what initially drew me to this recipe. Just look at the first ingredient….20 cloves of garlic. It’s a good thing my husband and son really love garlic too, considering how much we go through in this house. I love garlic in any way, shape or form. I’m curious though…I’ve never had black garlic. I’m wondering what it’s like, but the grocery stores in my area don’t carry it. Have any of you tried black garlic?

Burger with caramelized onions

Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Don’t tell my husband, but I’m having a love affair.  I’m obsessed.  I just can’t seem to get enough…..of onions!  Yes.  Onions.  It’s nothing that sordid, but oh, so wonderful, nonetheless!

I seriously, can’t seem to get enough.  I like them roasted, sauteed, grilled, raw.  Basically, any way imaginable.  So, it only makes sense that when I watched The Pioneer Woman a few weeks ago on Food Network, my mouth started watering when she made her sliders with caramelized onions!  I mean, c’mon!  A big pan full of golden-brown strands, glistening from the butter…all tender and silky.  I can almost taste them!  There was only one thing left to do…slap a pan on the stove and melt some butter…honey, we’re gonna caramelize some onions!

Wegman's Grilled Orzo Salad

Grilled Orzo Salad

A few years ago I went to a cooking class at my local Wegman’s supermarket.  It was a great class on grilling.  I learned a log of great tips and techniques.  One of the recipes they made that night was a Grilled Orzo Salad.  I must have liked the recipe, because I found it buried deep in my recipe stash. 

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

A few weeks ago, I featured Crock Pot Chicken Parm by The Rickett Chronicles on my weekly recipe and craft linky — It’s a Keeper Thursday.  Nestled inside her recipe for Chicken Parmesan, was another recipe for Roasted Roma Tomatoes.  My test of her Slow Cooker Chicken Parm recipe turned out pretty good! And, since I was already planning on roasting some green beans for Parmesan Roasted Green Beans (are you noticing a theme here?!?), I thought why not give the tomatoes a try too! 

Roasted shrimp cocktail

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

I thought it would be fun to host a cookbook review on It’s a Keeper (IAK).  Some of my readers and Facebook/Twitter followers who wanted to participate don’t have blogs of their own to share their recipes on, so I offered up a guest post on IAK to give all of my readers the opportunity to share their reviews.  This one is from my good friend, Jill.  She made this recipe (and two other Ina Garten recipes) for our weekly play date.  While the kids dined on mummy dogs and mac-n-cheese, we were treated with Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, Mâche with Warm Brie and Apples and Truffled Fillet of Beef Sandwiches.  Yum, right?!?  Jill’s recipe is below and my commentary is underneath.

Pioneer Woman Chili

Simple, Perfect Chili

I read cookbooks like other people read romance novels — cover to cover, absorbing every delicious measurement and instruction as if it were the feud between Edward and Jacob (sorry, I had to throw in the Twilight reference).

As soon as I received my copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (thank you, Mr. UPS guy), it was no different.  As soon as my son was in bed, I settled down on the couch with a cup of tea to read my new book.  Bliss.

As I was reading through P-Dub’s (cute, huh?!) recipes, artfully intertwined with great stories of her transition from big-city girl to a pioneer woman who works a ranch, I came across her recipe for Simple, Perfect Chili.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  I just found my recipe for the cookbook review!

Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

I’m always on the look out for good chicken recipes that I can whip up on a weeknight.  And, I’m always drawn to recipes that have sauces, or other components, that I can assemble the night before so I can cut down my pre-dinner prep time!  I found this recipe in “the pile”.  I must have printed it from a website or blog, but I don’t know where — for some reason, the site didn’t print.  Maybe I cut and pasted?  Oh well.

Chicken Canzanese

Chicken Canzanese

A few weeks ago, we had a (much needed) lazy Saturday.  No birthday parties to go to.  No errands to run.  Nothing to do but putter around the house and catch up on some DVRed TV shows.  I wound up watching one of my favorite public television shows — America’s Test Kitchen from Cook’s Illustrated.  This is one of my favorite cooking shows, made by the folks who bring me 2 of my favorite cooking magazines — Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country.  I love their scientific approach to all things food!

The episode that caught my eye was for Chicken Canzanese (can-zan-ay-see) — a classic slow cooked comfort food. 

Buffalo Shrimp

Buffalo Shrimp

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tonight, we decided we would try to make some of the dishes from one of our favorite restaurants.  First up was Buffalo Shrimp.  Basically, it’s breaded shrimp with a nice coating of hot wing sauce.  The sauce I made used a base of TABASCO® Original Red.  We love using the stuff on pizza, eggs and I like a few dashes on my mac and cheese.  YUM!  It doesn’t just add heat to a dish, it unlocks the flavor.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

For months now (maybe even years), I’ve come across recipes for King Ranch Chicken Casserole in various magazines, cookbooks, websites, and blogs.  I even saved a few in my pile to make a later time.  But, for some reason, I’ve never made it.  I don’t know why.

I decided it was time to try this recipe.  I was in the mood for a casserole — there’s something about casseroles and comfort food — so I thought, “what the heck?!”

Is It a Keeper?

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to make this recipe?  Everyone loved it!  It was creamy and cheesy with just a little hint of heat.  Mmmmm!  I really loved the flavor that the corn tortillas added.  There was even a debate about who got to take the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Risotto with Sausage and peppers

Creamy Risotto with Sausage & Peppers

The other day, I had some Italian sausage and leftover bell peppers in my fridge that I wanted to use up.  I knew I didn’t want pasta, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  Then, as I was standing in front of my pantry closet and staring blankly into it, it hit me.  Risotto!

Yes, risotto with sausage and peppers is what I was craving.  There’s just something about the creamy, rich, delicious-ness of risotto paired with zesty sausage and crisp, sweet peppers.  Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. 

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Or, boeuf bourguignonne (said in my best Julia Child voice).  For those of you that have read my “About” page, you know that I started this blog after watching the movie Julie and Julia.  Except, instead of cooking my way through a cookbook, I’m cooking my way through my (ever growing) pile of collected recipes.  So, I thought it was only appropriate to make this recipe for my one-year-of-blogging milestone.

I read the recipe over and over.  It’s quite long and involved so I wanted to make sure that, A.) I had all of the ingredients and tools that I needed to make the dish and B.) I had an idea about what I was getting myself into.

Pork Chops in Creamy Shallot Sauce

Pork Chops in Creamy Shallot Sauce

Next to Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, Robin Miller (Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on the Food Network) is one of my favorite TV chefs.  I love the practicality of her “cook once, eat twice” and pre-fix meal philosophies.  If you work full time, you know how hard it is to rush home, pick up the kid(s) and get dinner on the table before the natives go ape-crazy!

I’ve found Robin’s concepts essential when preparing home cooked meals for my family after a long day at work.  I usually do a lot of my dinner prep work for the week on Sundays.  I find that if I invest 1-2 hours getting everything prepared and organized, I can get great dinners (like this Pork Chop recipe) on the table in no time flat! 

Honey and Spice-Glazed Pork Chops

We all have them.  You know…those days when you’ve got a million things going on, you’re running late and you haven’t even thought about what to have for dinner.

Well, that was my day.  So, it only makes sense to test out a new recipe…right?  Riiiiiight!

Call me crazy.   But I like to think of it as a testament to my dedication to It’s A Keeper! Originally, I think this recipe came from an old issue of Cooking Light magazine. 

Savory Onion Chicken

My family loves chicken!  S0, I’m always on the look-out for quick and easy chicken recipes — something that can be whipped up after a long day at work and not wear me out so that I’m too tired to fold the three loads of laundry that are awaiting my attention.

I found this recipe in “the pile” and it looked promising.  It came from a Taste of Home email that I received. 

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

The other day, I was looking through “the pile” for casserole recipes and I came across this little gem!  I think it originally came a Southern Living magazine.

You know, I was born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, but I’ve always thought that (deep down) that I was born on the wrong side of the Mason Dixon Line!  I love all things southern — the food, the hospitality.  I love it all.  And, I live vicariously through my Southern Living magazines!

OK, back the casserole…I pulled this recipe out with a few others (like Chicken Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce — which, if you haven’t already tried it, you MUST!) to try on a brisk fall day.