Crock Pot Casuals

                                            CROCK POT BARBECUE PULLED PORK

                                                  See all that yummy goodness???

     This is totally a Pinterest redo - you know those recipes with the picture showing 4-5 ingredients? Love those. Been saving the recipe for a while now, just had to buy a pork butt and a can of Pepsi and I was set - because I always have Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce and seasoned salt on hand. The fam gave it rave reviews and I do believe we have a keeper! Served on a bun or sweet roll with cole slaw (or "slog", as my Kylie used to call it), this dish feeds 8-10 people.

                                                    Ingredients for pulled pork
  • 1 pork butt
  • 1 can diet pepsi (I used regular, but you can try diet!)
  • 1/2 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or any seasoned salt)

  1. Coat the pork butt with Lawry's seasoning salt.
  2. Place in crock pot and pour in soda and barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. If you have a larger piece of meat, it will probably take longer.
  3. After 4 hours or so, take two forks and shred the meat into bite size chunks. Let it sit in the juice to soak up all that flavor. It can stay on warm in crock pot while serving, and can easily be reheated the next day.
Now there is the issue of fat, which I removed most of while pulling the pork apart. You do have to spend a bit of time on this, but it's cooking itself, so that's the trade-off! What flavor! Let me know if you try it!

                        Crock Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

                     Yes, this is indeed the recipe everyone is raving about - ENJOY! 


6 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed) (see Note)
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or half-and-half cream
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
cheese, for sprinkling

Note: I rarely use real garlic.  However, I happened upon a squeeze bottle in the grocery store, so there's that, but did you know you can substitute 1/8 tsp. of garlic powder for 1 clove of garlic?  Done it for years!


Combine first seven ingredients in a large crockpot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).

Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soupy is slightly thickened. Stir in cream, cheese and chives.

Top with sour cream (if used), sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.


                                              TACO BAKED POTATOES

     I used to make stuffed potatoes all the time when the kids were little because the only things they liked were mashed potatoes and cheese.  Come to think of it, that's about all we could afford back then with all those little mouths to feed.  It occurred to me recently that I've not done that in quite a long time, and I noticed a recipe for Taco Baked Potatoes in an old Taste of Home magazine.  I was in a time crunch and had potatoes going soft (not having used the whole bag from Christmas dinner), so I threw the potatoes in the oven, plopped some frozen ground turkey and seasonings in the crock pot, and told my son to stir it every once in a while as I was dashing out the door.

     Funny how sometimes the last-minute-go-with-your-gut meals end up being the keepers.  The family loved it, my son took one look and said "This looks magical!" (my pickiest eater), and that's when I knew it would make the cut for the Kozi Kitchen.  This explains the messy picture - it was made in haste and it was eaten in haste, so I had to snap even while it was being grabbed!

                                          TACO BAKED POTATOES


  • 6 large baking potatoes
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning (or a serving from the giant economy jar from Sam's)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 can corn or 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Gound beef or turkey
  • onions, chives, salsa and lettuce (optional)

  1. Prick potatoes and bake on 275 for 4 hours or until done.
  2. Meanwhile, place frozen ground meat in crock pot on low.  Top with taco seasonings, add water and corn.  I always use either ground turkey or 80% lean ground beef, so there will be little excess fat in the finished dish.
  3. Stir and separate meat every half hour to hour, cook 4 hours also.  If no one is home to stir the meat, you can either brown or mostly brown it beforehand or chop it up afterwards.  We ended up doing a lot of chopping aftewards because my son (the stirrer) took off to teach guitar lessons.  It wasn't a problem.
  4. When potatoes are done, slice in half lengthwise, then make an "X" or a few lengthwise lines through the pulp but not all the way through, just enough to loosen it up so you can scoop it out with a spoon.
  5. Scoop out the insides of each potato, leaving some on sides and bottom. Place potato skins on cookie sheet.
  6. Mash potatoes, then add butter and sour cream.  Then mix in 1/2 cup of the cheese.
  7. Place mashed potatoes in empty skins, top with meat mixture, and add remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
  8. Broil for 1 minute.  This will keep them warm and melt the cheese.
  9. Serve with onions, chives, salsa and lettuce if desired.  Onions can also be cooked with meat mixture.   
     Let me know if your family liked it as much as mine!  


So I decided to be adventurous and do this Bolognese Sauce.  I usually do my simple spaghetti sauce but I wanted to try this, especially since it goes in the crock pot - and anything that goes in the crock is great with  me.  I like it when I come home and dinner is READY!  What mom doesn't?!?  Anyway, I modified the original recipe that I found and added a few more spices.  It has a very nice flavor, I was pleasantly surprised, and so was the fam!


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. sweet basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 cup white wine 
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes 


1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to high, add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper. nutmeg, cilantro and basil.

2. Pour in milk and wine and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook at a lively simmer until most of liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

3. Transfer mixture to slow cooker, stir in tomatoes and bay leaf, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove top, stir and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes longer.

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