Cooking - It's Easy!

As mentioned, I am not a cook. Nor do I pretend to be one. I am lucky enough to have a cousin who subscribes to my same cooking theory - the easier the better. And she was nice enough to pass along her recipes for you guys to use. I think y'all are going to love them. Thanks, Jennifer! These are I just need to go to the grocery store! Below are Jennifer's recipes and her notes. (You guys are going to crack up, too. Jennifer, you need to start blogging again ; ). As an aside, Jennifer lives in Louisiana, so I am proud to say that my readership goes beyond Oklahoma. I am offically big time. Ha! Granted, Jennifer is related to me and I used to live in Louisiana....but it still counts.

Slow-Cooker Recipes/All Day Easy Recipes!!!

*For clarification, if you don’t already have a crockpot or slow cooker you use, I have been using a relatively new one that my mom bought me (thanks Mom!) that is made by the brand Rival, and called the “Smart Pot” – it is super easy to use, and features 4 settings – 2 on High (4 hours or 6 hours) and 2 on Low (8 hours or 10 hours). It is very easy to use and clean. I love it!

Cajun Pork Tenderloin

-1 Boneless Pork Loin (I often buy the Hormel brand Pork Tenderloin, extra lean boneless b/c it will feed our little family of 4, but if you are feeding a larger group you probably need a larger pork loin, instead of just the tenderloin size; also, often grocery stores will run their pork loins on sale – good timing to pick them up and freeze if you don’t want to make this right away)

-1 package of Louisiana Crawfish-Man’s “South Louisiana Seasoned Gravy Mix” (if you can’t find this, I will send to you – it’s at Brookshires)

-the Louisiana trinity – a green bell pepper, an onion, and celery

-rice to serve with (we mostly use brown boil-in-bag variety!)

Mix up the gravy mix according to the package and pour in the bottom of the crockpot/slow cooker. Add the pork loin/pork tenderloin, and turn it over once or twice just to coat it good in the gravy. Cut up the onion, bell pepper, and celery and toss in with the pork loin/tenderloin and gravy. Turn the slow cooker on! I usually cook this on High for 6 hours, or sometimes Low for 8 hours, and generally try to either turn the loin over every 2 hours or so, or if it is large and hard to turn in your cooker then just spoon gravy over the top so it doesn’t dry out on top every so often. If you need to add more water, so you have additional gravy, just do so to your liking. I often add about ½ cup water more than the gravy recipe calls for. Cooking the pork this way makes it super tender (you can practically cut it with your fork!!! It just pulls apart! And the Cajun gravy is nice and spicy….great to pair with the rice. Add a salad and some French bread and you have a perfect meal! Enjoy!

Beef Tips & Rice

-1 or 2 lbs. sirloin tips for braising (if they are not already cut up, you can ask the butcher/meat dept at the grocery store to do so for you…just tell them you want to make beef tips!) I used to just buy one pound for our family of 4, but these are so good that generally 1 lb. does not lend enough for leftovers, and sometimes we are scraping the bottom of the cooker to find more beef! So I’ve started just buying 2 lbs. now! Adjust accordingly to your family size!

-1 package Pioneer Brown Gravy mix (I buy the Non-fat version, but it doesn’t really matter!)

-about ¼ to ½ cup of your favorite red wine for cooking (at our house, this is generally whatever red wine is open, usually a Cab.Sav. or Merlot!)

-fresh sliced mushrooms (if you like them!)

-rice for serving (once again, we like the brown boil-in-bag variety)

Mix up the Pioneer brown gravy mix according to the instructions on the back – but without cooking it. Simply just add the 2 cups cold water and the mix and place in the slow cooker. Add the red wine to taste. Add your sirloin tips and mushrooms (if using mushrooms). Stir, and turn on the slow cooker. I generally cook these either on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours, and only occasionally stir. Serve over rice – once again you can pair with salad and bread for a complete meal! Enjoy!

Here are 2 recipes that use the oven or stovetop, from a good cookbook I have – we use these a lot in the winter too….enjoy!

Gone All Afternoon Stew

-2 lbs Stew Meat (have used the sirloin tips before in this too, but the stew meat is usually cheaper of course!)

-3 medium carrots chopped (I have been known to use fresh baby carrots so I don’t have to chop – I’m lazy)

-2 medium onions, chopped (and I chop them big – once again, lazy)

-3 potatoes, peeled and quartered (um, sometimes I don’t even peel, but always wash! Ha!)

-1 (16 oz) can or small package frozen peas (I use the sweet pea variety, usually le Seur peas!)
-any leftover vegetable really (celery, squash, etc)

-1 (10 oz) can tomato soup (sometimes I will add a little more, so you might have another one on hand if you like a more tomato-based soup flavor in your stew!)

-1/2 soup can of water

-salt & pepper to taste

-1 bay leaf

-1/4 cup pickle juice (can use sweet or sour, I usually use sweet b/c that’s my preference)

-2 Tablespoons Worchestershire

-2 Tablespoons Brown sugar (can use brown sugar splenda for baking if you want!)

-1/4 cup soy sauce

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a Dutch Oven or large covered pot and cover. Bake for 5 hours.

*Note: I prefer a sweeter, more “saucy” stew – hence the addition of the sweet pickle juice and brown sugar; you can omit these or change to sour pickle juice if you prefer a more savory stew. Also, I add a bit more tomato soup and water to have more stew broth if you will, verses having less. This is a wonderful hearty dish that the men love!!! In addition, I will often buy a package of frozen “stew or soup” vegetables to add to the fresh vegetables in it – just throw them in frozen and they will cook/thaw as it bakes. This will give you additional carrots, potatoes, some celery, and usually some of those cute little “pearl onions”!!! Enjoy!

Tam & Walt’s Chili (the easiest chili I have ever made….)

-2 lbs. ground beef (I usually buy extra lean, b/c believe it or not we try to watch our weight around here – you’d never know it though! Ha!)

-2 medium white or yellow onions, chopped (or add to your taste)

-8 cloves fresh garlic, minced (I totally use the jar garlic, conversion chart on the jar! Lazy!)

-8 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce

-4 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans (ONLY if you like beans in your chili – I do not put these in mine – NO JUDGEMENT, just saying…..add them if you want!!)

-6 cups of water

-3/4 cup chili powder

-Cayenne pepper (to cover the top of chili)

-Black pepper (to cover the top of chili)

-Salt (to taste)

-1 cup grated cheddar cheese (for topping it when serving!! Yum)

-1 cup chopped onion (also for topping it when serving, if you want!)

In a large pot, brown the ground beef with the onion and the garlic. Drain any excess grease from the mixture. Add the tomato sauce, kidney beans, water, chili powder, peppers, and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with grated Cheddar cheese, chopped onions, and crackers.

Note: I usually go rather easy with the Cayenne at first until I can taste it toward the end – it can pack some heat if you add too much, and it generally gets “hotter” as it ages (as in leftovers!) so go with your flavor palate – if you like it hot you can add a more dense covering of Cayenne & Black pepper, if not – go easy at first and add in later! Also, this is great with Fritos for Frito pie. Super simple and about 1 hour from start to finish. Love it! Yields about 12-16 servings.

Thanks so much, Jennifer! Even I could do these!


  1. Those are great recipes from Jennifer .. .thanks Katie and Jennifer for sharing these. Actually, I don't like to cook that much either, but I am going to try some of these.
    Love, Aunt Angie

  2. I ordered the puffy tacos and they were great!

  3. Katie - I will pick up a box of the Cajun Gravy seasoning mix and send it to you from brookshire's so you don't have to "buy by the case" - good grief! That would be a lot of gravy. I'll try to get it sent up to you by next week! Ha ha! Funny website though! Didn't know the crawfish man was "online" hee hee. Enjoy! love, Jennifer


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