Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes

Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes

Between our careers, keeping up with the household, the kids’ school and the upcoming holidays, this time of year is just BIZ-EE. It can be hard to get a nourishing and healthy meal on the table with the limited amount of time we have. That’s why we’re so grateful for things like Instant Pots and Slow Cookers! It’s as simple as “dump & go”, “set it and forget it”…. you know what we mean. Here are a few slow cooker recipes that are perfect for weeknights! These recipes are brought to you by GiftTree‘s own Corporate Team! We also thought we’d ask our Sommelier for wine pairings, too, because why not? It’s been a long week.     Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes All Photos Courtesy Shutterstock   Slow Cooker Turkey Black Bean Chili By Christine, Content Manager 1 lb. ground turkey 1 sweet yellow onion, diced 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 cans S&W® Chili Beans, undrained 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained 1 can S&W® black beans, drained & rinsed 1 small can diced green chiles, your chosen degree of heat Big dollop of tomato paste chili powder, cumin, bay leaf salt & pepper to taste Christine says…. “In a skillet, dice and sauté the onion until tender. Add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper. When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until turkey is completely browned. In your slow cooker, combine the turkey-onion mixture, all the cans, tomato paste, spices and bay leaves. Salt and pepper to your liking and cover. Cook for at least 8...
Fall Grilling at its Finest

Fall Grilling at its Finest

Although I am sad at how quickly my favorite season has passed us by, Summer has come and gone; Fall is officially upon us as the equinox began on September 23rd. Even though the temps are cooling down, it does not mean grilling season has to come to an end! Allow us to introduce our take on Fall Grilling. We’d like to shine a spotlight on our partners and friends at Chicago Steak Company, a featured artisan of GiftTree‘s since 2017. Did you know that we sell these gourmet, tender, succulent, mouthwatering steaks in our Epicurean section? Allow us to help you think outside the box and treat a special business partner, employee, friend or steak and beef enthusiast with these four unique gifts. We’ve also got the scoop from Food Network on these 50 Grilled Steak recipes that will be a crowd pleaser! First, start with the steak: Epicurean Food & Drink Gifts   Gourmet Grilling Gift: Completely trimmed and tender filet mignon, succulent sirloin steaks, marinated lemon herb chicken breasts and luscious steak burgers create a specially-curated selection of grilling delights. Therefore, making the perfect gift for friends, family, colleagues and even yourself.       Premium Angus Steak Selection: Tender filet mignon, succulent boneless strips, mouthwatering ribeyes and top sirloins full of flavor; this perfect combination of Premium Angus beef steaks is a best seller for Chicago Steak Company.       Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks Gift: These Dry Aged Tomahawks are the ultimate bone-in ribeye, with an extra long bone for extraordinary presentation. Boasting a mellow taste that only comes from the longstanding dry aging process, this Tomahawk...
Beat The Heat: No Cook Meal Plans

Beat The Heat: No Cook Meal Plans

It’s HOT. All over the United States, temperatures have been soaring. It’s been sticky. It’s been uncomfortable. And the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove or turn on the oven. Of course, you could always order a pizza or stop by KFC on the way home from work, but these days, health and nutrition are more of a priority than they’ve ever been. We got you! Here are three days’ worth of healthy no cook meal plans with recipes included. No Cook Meal # 1 Main Dish: Best Ever Shrimp Ceviche from My Latina Table  Nothing beats the heat like ceviche. The citrus, the spice… my mouth is watering just writing about this! The amazing thing about this dish? It really is no cook – even the shrimp! Soak the shrimp in lemon or lime juice for at least an hour – it turns pink and is ready to eat. If you’re worried about this packing too much spice for the little ones, this Shrimp & Avocado Salad from Natasha’s Kitchen is a great alternative. Side: Creamy Cilantro Avocado Dip from Rachel Ray Serve it with fresh tortilla chips (Juanita’s are the best if you can get them in your area!) or make it a healthier option with sliced cucumber, red pepper strips or carrot sticks. Dessert: Frozen Mango & Yogurt Pops This creamy dessert is guaranteed to put the chill on the hottest day. Creamy yogurt meets tangy mango to create such a soothing combination – your whole family will love it.   No Cook Meal # 2 Main Dish: Tarragon Chicken...
Dining Al Fresco: Tip, Tricks & Recipes

Dining Al Fresco: Tip, Tricks & Recipes

Ahh, summer. Nothing beats dinner on the patio on a balmy summer evening. But there are a few things you need to know! Here are some helpful hints, tips, hacks and even a couple meal plans to make your backyard dinner extra special. TIP #1 Take It Easy Dining outside is all about letting the atmosphere set the tone for the evening, so keep your recipes simple (and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself more, too). Dining al fresco usually means that there’s lots of fresh produce in season. Therefore, showcase it by preparing it simply. Grilled corn on the cob with butter, crisp asparagus with sea salt, and a colorful, flavorful caprese salad come to mind. TIP #2 Make It Sustainable Yes, it is a little more work, but glass plates, cloth napkins and heavier glasses are much better for the environment than one-use picnic supplies. Plus, everyone hates how those cheap paper plates go limp immediately after dishing up. This tip is actually a two-for-one deal – since you’re not using paper plates, paper napkins and disposable cups, congrats! You’ve wind-proofed your outdoor meal, too! TIP #3 Light It Up If you plan to eat outdoors during the evening, some nice lighting will be needed. There are lots of ways to set the mood – candles, lanterns and string lights come to mind. Get creative! Check out Pinterest boards for patio lighting and have fun. If you can keep the scent of the candle or torches away from the table, citronella does double duty of repelling mosquitoes and adding light. Which brings us to our next...
Cook-Off Winning Chili Recipes

Cook-Off Winning Chili Recipes

Even though Spring is approaching in just three short weeks, it certainly still feels like we’re in the dead of winter in most parts of the country. When the temperature dips below freezing, the one thing everyone really wants is something warm and comforting for dinner. Soups and stews are high on the list, along with cheesy casseroles and lots of starches like pasta and potatoes. And speaking of a warm bowl of comfort, today happens to be National Chili Day! Somewhere between a soup and a stew, chili holds a special place in the heart of virtually all Americans. The word “chili” is simply short for “chili con carne”, which is Spanish for chili peppers with meat. Most people would agree that chili consists of chili peppers, meat, tomatoes, onions and garlic. But here’s where it gets complicated! Texans (and those in Cincinnati) mainly agree that true chili doesn’t have any beans it in at all, while the rest of the nation pretty much disagrees, using everything from kidney to pinto to black beans and beyond. Then there are all the vegetarian versions. In fact, it might not even be red! White variations of chili have become popular in recent decades. Long story short, when you look at how many different types there are, it’s safe to say that people’s definition of what “chili” actually is – that’s up for debate. Chili Cook-Offs The concept of chili-cooking competitions began in the 1950s in Texas, and soon began cropping up all over the United States. ICS, the International Chili Society, is head of most of the nation’s official cook-offs, with the...
Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Last year we posted a blog called Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus and the response was so overwhelming and fun, we thought we have to do a Volume TWO! It can be great getting dressed up, making reservations at a fancy restaurant and spending Valentine’s Day on the town. But these days, many couples opt to spend the holiday at home, especially when there are kids in the picture. When work has been crazy, the sitter is busy, the traffic is nuts and the restaurants are all booked, the idea of staying home, pouring a glass of wine, putting on some relaxing music and eating a delicious meal together sounds more and more appealing. We’ve put together a few menu plans (along with their matching wines and some fun music recommendations) to make your Valentine’s Day at home romantic, memorable and meaningful. After all, it’s not about going out – it’s about celebrating love!   Menu Plan #1 – For the Seafood & Champagne Lovers Pour: Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne. A luxurious, world-famous Champagne that boasts soft white-fruit aromas of peaches and pears and a finish of fresh walnut. The smooth, juicy mid-palate segues to a clean, crisp finish ideal for sipping Play: The Party, Andy Schauf. Bubbly songs full of fun combine with a nice dose of moody to create a playlist that is perfect for a party of two, cooking dinner, sipping Champagne and just being together. Appetizer: French Butter Lettuce Salad, courtesy of Fine Cooking. The lightness of this simple salad makes the perfect starter for the creamy goodness to come. Main Dish: Two recipes from Café Delights,...