Crockpot Beef Picadillo

Last week, I had one of those food fails that I love to laugh about on Instagram.  It’s seriously hilarious… until it happens to you.  Check out #pinterestfail if you’re ever interested in a good laugh…

I had a trip to the mountains planned for the day, and I met my co-worker at 10am to make the drive.  Before I met up with him, I had time to put my dinner in the crockpot, which made me so happy.  I’m usually gone from the house for about 10-12 hours… which is a little long for crock potting.  So, knowing that I would be gone about 6-7 hours… I went for it.

I loaded this very recipe into the crockpot and took off for the day!  When I for home, I found this.

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Burnt.  Crispy.  Crunchy.  And mostly, RUINED!

During my frenzy to get ready for the day, I neglected to add the water to the crockpot.  Yes, without enough liquid, things burn:  Cooking 101.

Because I was intrigued by the recipe, I gave it another shot a few days later.  It was definitely worth the wait.  Note that in the following pictures… there is no char.  Water can be an amazingly magical thing!!!

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

This recipe comes from my friend Gina over at SkinnyTaste.  She had posted it on Instagram recently as a family favorite, and it was time for me to try it.  It’s a flavorful meaty dish to add to salads, rice bowls, and pasta.  It’s certainly something I’ll be making again… including the water in the recipe, of course.

Crockpot Beef Picadillo

From SkinnyTaste

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

1 lb 93% lean ground beef

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup diced red bell peppers

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. minced cilantro

1/2 small tomato, diced

4 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. capers

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 bay leaves

Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Brown meat in a large deep sauté pan on medium-high heat; season with generously with salt and a little pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. When meat is no longer pink, drain all the liquid from pan.  Grind up the meat in a food processor.  Add the meat back into your skillet.  Note:  The ingredients pic above shows a package of turkey, but I actually made it with lean ground beef.  So good, and highly recommended!

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Add the onions, garlic and bell peppers to the meat and cook an addition 3-4 minutes.

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, then add tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, water, capers.  Add the spices.  Note:  Gina’s original recipe calls for alcaparrado or green olives.  I just used capers in its place.

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Set slow cooker to HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8. After it’s ready, taste for salt and add more as needed.  Discard the bay leaves.  Note:  I added extra salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin to the dish at the very end.  Just sprinkled it in, to taste.

5.  Serve your picadillo with rice and veggies… or over pasta.  Note:  I really loved this as a Cuban spaghetti for some reason.  

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Crockpot Beef Picadillo | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 cup recipe serving of the meat:

CAL 170; CARB 5g; FAT 7g; PROT 23g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 4

Related posts:

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake

I stay pretty consistent with breakfast.  There are only a few things that I really like to eat…

It really comes down to specific ingredients that I like to eat in the morning… When I heard that Tiffany had fallen in love with Marissa‘s latest quinoa recipe, I knew I wanted to try it.

As expected, I made quite a few modifications to Marissa’s original recipe, to suit my picky palate.  I definitely recommend you check out her version which includes apricots, and all of her recipes for that matter.  They all look so good!  (Note:  I’ve got my eyes on that Broccoli Pizza Crust she shared…)

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake

The quinoa in this dish makes it extra filling as a breakfast dish.  It reminds me of a warm sister dish to the PB Overnight Oats I usually eat, with an extra protein punch that keeps me full for hours.  Try it… you’re going to love it!

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake

Adapted from Uproot from Oregon

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup old fashioned oats + 1 Tbsp. for garnish
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 1/4 cup water (1 1/2 flax eggs)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup prepared PB2 (about 6 Tbsp. PB2 powder + 4 Tbsp. water)
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:

sugar-free maple syrup, PB2

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Make “flax eggs” by combining the ground flaxseed with water and letting it sit for 15 minutes until you get an eggy consistency.  Note:  This is the first time I ever experimented with this.  Will definitely be using it in the future, as I don’t always have eggs on hand!

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3.  In a large bowl, combine oats, PB2, flax eggs, milk brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir to combine.

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake  No Thanks to Cake

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add quinoa and stir to combine.  Note:  I used cooked red quinoa, but  you can use any color you prefer.

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Grease your baking pan with cooking spray, and pour the contents of the bowl into the pan. Top with 1 Tbsp. of oatmeal to make it look pretty.

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking starting around 20 minutes to ensure the middle is no longer ‘jiggly’ and that a crust has formed on top.

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Let the oatmeal sit and cool for a few minutes, then slice into it and top with maple syrup and/or extra PB2.

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

Quinoa PB2 Breakfast Bake | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/8 recipe serving (without toppings):

CAL 134; CARB 24g; FAT 2g; PROT 6g; FIB 3g; WW Points Plus: 3

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If you like the sounds of this quinoa breakfast, you might also like this one:

True Foods Kitchen Quinoa Johnny Cakes | No Thanks to Cake

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Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

With Easter less than a week away, it was time to bake a tasty treat for my Gramps.  Knowing that he loves peanut butter more than anything, I wanted to go with a PB cookie for this year’s easter package.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

During my trip to Nashville, I tried these cookies for the first time and they were awesome.  Jaede’s neighbor made them as a gluten-free treat for her husband.  It’s hard to believe that these cookies don’t have any flour in them, but you won’t miss it at all!  They have a strong peanut butter flavor and taste perfect paired with a glass of milk.  Enjoy!!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

From Real Simple

Makes 18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif Natural)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla paste
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

2.  Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

IMG_3049Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on silpat-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Note:  I used a 1 Tbsp. Pampered Chef scoop to form the cookies.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

5.  With a lightly floured fork, press the dough to a ⅜-inch thickness, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 10 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Per cookie:

CAL 133; CARB 15g; FAT 7g; PROT 3g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 4

Related posts:

Recipe Roundup: Laughing Cow Cheese

It’s hard to believe how new I am to Laughing Cow Cheese.  I never tried it until I started eating healthy, and it has since become a major staple in my kitchen.

Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

The creaminess of the cheese makes for a great snack with vegetables.  It’s amazing on crackers.  And, I’ve started cooking with it more and more.  Considering that it’s just 35 calories per wedge, it’s an amazing addition to just about every dish!

I was peeking through my blog this weekend and found so many recipes that included this awesome cheese, that I thought it was time for a roundup…

Recipe Roundup: Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Below you will find links to some of my favorite cheesy Laughing Cow recipes.  Click on the picture to access the recipe.  Try them and enjoy!!!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Chicken | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Tomato Biscuits with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

One-Serving Queso Verde | No Thanks to Cake

BLT Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes | No Thanks to Cake

Prosciutto - Sun Dried Tomato - Spinach Stuffed Turkey Burger with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Baked Sunchoke Chips with Laughing Cow Onion Dip | No Thanks to Cake

BLT Waffle Sliders with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Garlicky Spinach with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Hungry Girl's Easy Macaroni and Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage Spinach Bowl | No Thanks to Cake

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Paninis | No Thanks to Cake

French Onion Baked Potato | No Thanks to Cake

Also, for my friends on the Jenny Craig program, many of my Jenny Volumizing Recipes include LC Cheese.  Check out my full list of JC recipes here.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Laughing Cow Cheese?

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