Tag Archives: crock pot recipes

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Two weeks of meals and a new recipe

25 Jan
Last time around, we utilized our crock pot three times in one week!

Last time around, we utilized our crock pot three times in one week!

It’s hard to believe another whole month has passed! It seems like I was just posting Christmas cookie recipes, but yet here we are in the final stretch of January!

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I have our Two Weeks of Meals for you, but I also have a new crock pot recipe for you that we tried out in the last round of meals. It was new, so I didn’t post the recipe last time, until we tried it. I promised to post it if it was good, and sure enough, it got all thumbs up from all five of us. It’s rare to find one thing that all of us like, especially with a picky eater and another eater who will eat very little meat, and this was beef to boot, so that’s a feat in itself.

The recipe we tried out is called Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef, and you can find it on the Recipe Critic’s site by clicking here. It was quick to prepare, easy because it was cooking while we were gone, and delicious! We used stew meat instead of flank steak and it was delicious.

Be sure to visit the Recipe Critic's site to try out her slow cooker Mongolian Beef recipe!

Be sure to visit the Recipe Critic’s site to try out her slow cooker Mongolian Beef recipe!

Without further ado, here is our two weeks of meals for you and links to the recipes I have posted in years past. I hope it helps you to plan your own budget-friendly meals for the next couple of weeks!

Saturday: Marinated London Broil with mushrooms and onions, with vegetables and red potatoes with fresh rosemary and olive oil

Sunday: Chicken stuffed with herbed cream cheese and broccoli with rice pilaf

Monday: Chicken Marsala over white rice

Tuesday: Pasta with tuna sauce

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Pork chops and homemade applesauce with broccoli and cauliflower

Friday: Homemade Pizzas (Hawaiian, Margherita, and BBQ chicken) and salad

Saturday: BBQ chicken breasts on the bone, on the grill and sugar snap peas

Sunday: Chicken Parmesan and pasta with salad

Monday: Beef Stir Fry with sweet and sour sauce and Asian vegetable mix

Tuesday: Ravioli with shrimp and tomatoes in a garlic and oil sauce

Wednesday: Pastena Soup and salad

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner

Friday: Nachos

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot

16 Oct
I love being able to extend a meal further and further!

I love being able to extend a meal further and further!

On Monday we went to King Richard’s Faire for the day.

We were going to be gone pretty much the entire day and coming home at dinnertime, so we decided to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot while we were gone.  The recipe we used was sent to me by my crock pot cooking partner in crime, Gina. She’d tried it a week or so ago herself and deemed it a keeper.

It is from the site 100DaysofRealCooking.com, and it looked so easy!

The best part about it though, it gave instructions for putting the bones back into the crock pot and continuing to cook them overnight, creating chicken broth!

I thought that was the greatest thing! A whole chicken dinner is usually at least two dinners for us, but this would give us a third option: chicken broth, which would be put to good use in the future for soups and other recipes.

I use a lot of chicken broth here, so I couldn’t wait to see how this worked out.

We cooked our chicken all day, as instructed. Once we ate, Don cleaned off what was left of the usable meat, and threw the rest in the crock pot with the onions and carrots we’d used for the original cook time. We filled the crock pot up with water to the top and turned it on low.

It cooked all night long. The house smelled so good!

The next morning: Done!

I can't wait to use our homemade broth in our upcoming meals!

I can’t wait to use our homemade broth in our upcoming meals!

I shut the crock pot off and let it cool down a little bit before emptying out as many big pieces of bones as I could and beginning to strain the broth into containers to freeze.

In the end I had four containers of broth for future use: two 4-cup containers and two 2-cup containers.

I put them all into the freezer and can’t wait to use them for an upcoming meal! A lot of our soups call for a chicken broth base even if they’re not a chicken soup themselves.

And the best part of all: there’s still all the leftover chicken in the fridge for a leftovers night this week as well.

I love a budget-friendly meal!

Give this one a try and let me know what you think!

Fun Friday: Bread and Jam

11 Oct
"Mom, you *have* to share these recipes on your blog!"

“Mom, you *have* to share these recipes on your blog!”

As a reporter and writer, I have a wacky work schedule, I’ll be the first to admit it.

Flexible, but wacky.

It’s different every single day, night and weekend, and I’m often working when a lot of people are off, but at the same time I also have a lot of flexibility to plan around the needs of my family, and that allows me to keep my focus of “family first” a top priority.

This week, after what seemed to be a crazier block of work days and nights than usual, I finally had a day off. I had a whole Wednesday day and night, where I didn’t have to work at all. I had nothing to cover, nothing to type for the newspaper, no place to be while my children were at school. Although my afternoon and evening would be busy bringing the kids to their Wednesday activities, my day was free.

Wide open.

You might think to yourself, “Oh…shopping, lunch, manis and pedis!!”  But no, I didn’t go that route. Instead, I decided that I’d use that day to the best of my ability, to cook ahead as much as I could, in order to be better prepared for the coming days when things were back to normal.

I’m so glad I did.

Focus, focus, focus! Once I got on a roll, I got a lot done!

Focus, focus, focus! Once I got on a roll, I got a lot done!

I got so much accomplished.

In one day, I cooked two banana breads, three batches of strawberry jam, 16 crustless baby quiches, six peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches to freeze ahead for lunches, and a dinner for that evening that was NOT cooked in the crock pot, of Shepherd’s Pie, which I made into seven individual pie tins just for the fun of it.

I rocked it.

I ate one of the sandwiches before it went into the freezer, but it’s okay. I earned it.

When my kids were eating their breakfast the next morning, enjoying their jam, Elizabeth said to me, “Mom you definitely have to share this recipe on your blog, it’s so good!”

And so I will share it with you today.

I can’t lie though: A big part of the secret to my success on Wednesday involved the crock pot…again!

Just when my kids thought I couldn't cook another new thing in the crock pot, I pull out the triple crock, and go to town!

Just when my kids thought I couldn’t cook another new thing in the crock pot, I pull out the triple crock, and go to town!

However, I used something different: our triple crock pot that we normally use for big gatherings–holidays, birthday parties, and big events like that. An anniversary gift from my mother-in-law years back, I never thought to use it “just” to cook in.

I don’t think I even realized that you could cook in it, since we’d always used it as a warmer to keep the food we’d pre-cooked for the parties, warm.

When a friend passed along two recipes to me, one for banana bread in the crock pot and one for strawberry jam in the crock pot, I decided to give it a try, and do it all at once in the triple crock. This would allow me to use my oven and stove top for other things at the same time so that I could get more than one thing going at a time.

I must say, I loved that option! I also have to say my house smelled AMAZING the entire day. I was hungry all day long!!

The recipes were both super-easy and super-fast to prep. My triple crock has two small wells on the sides and a larger well in the middle. For that reason, I opted to make two smaller breads using the sides and do the strawberries in the middle. I could’ve gone either way I suppose. I could also, in the future, make a double batch of breads: one larger one in the middle and two small ones on the sides.

Lots of options.

Using my crock pot freed up my oven and stove so I could cook a non-crock pot meal for dinner that night!

Using my crock pot freed up my oven and stove so I could cook a non-crock pot meal for dinner that night! Individual shepherd’s pies were fun to eat!

And, now that my bread and jam in the crock pot experiment was successful, I know that I could do this as an after school snack in the future, baking all day long while I’m gone, making the house smell warm and welcoming when we return.

The link to the bread recipe is here, from the Crockpot Ladies.com.

The link to the jam recipe is here, from The Lady Wolf.com.

I encourage you to try them both and see what you think!

New recipe, new product review

27 Mar

The Weelicious oatmeal recipe for the crock pot is one of our favorites.

Back in January I posted the recipe for the Weelicious Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal and said how much my family enjoys it. One of my gripes about it though, is that as delicious as it is, it makes a thick “skin” on the inside of the crock pot, which takes forever to clean. Normally I have to soak and scrub, soak and scrub.

I found the idea of the slow cooker liners intriguing.

Therefore, I was intrigued when I saw a coupon for Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners back in early March. I decided that since I had the coupon and since I use my crock pot kind of a lot, they’d be worth trying out and I could decide at that point if they were worth buying again. The cost at Shaw’s was $3.99 for four liners and I had $1.00 off.

Around the same time, I discovered a new Overnight Slow Cooker Apple-Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal on Pinterest, which was originally from Monica at The Yummy Life blog. I decided to try the recipe and the liners at the same time.

The recipe was indeed “yummy” as the title of her blog implies! It was very similar to the Weelicious one but it had brown sugar and butter that were extras. I always add apples to my Weelicious recipe, but they were in this new one too. I also noticed she had two other overnight oatmeal recipes on there. I might check them out in the future too.

As for the liner, it was okay. I opened the box and found the instructions, which say:

1) Open the slow cooker liner and place it inside the slow cooker bowl. Fit the liner snugly against the bottom and sides of the bowl; pull top of liner over rim of bowl.

2) place ingredients in lined slow cooker first, then turn on slow cooker. Place lid on slow cooker. Cook according to recipe.

3) Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Serve meal directly from lined slow cooker.

4) Cool slow cooker completely; remove liner and toss.

The illustrations show a sparkling clean slow cooker at the end.

I followed the directions and had no problems using the liner. It fit inside my slow cooker easily and the cover went on without a problem.

All ingredients ready to go.

In the morning we ate our oatmeal as usual and I followed the directions, serving it right out of the container. I was worried that the plastic might tear when I was scraping the spoon against the sides to serve it, but it didn’t rip.

The "after" photo, after the liner had been removed. Not as clean as I'd expected but not as bad as without.

I let the crock pot cool completely before pulling out the liner. I was surprised to find that the crock pot wasn’t as clean as I’d expected it to be, based on the illustrations in the directions from the box. However, it also wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it would be without the liner and it was much easier to clean.

Overall, the jury is still out as to whether or not I’d buy these again. I think it will depend on how the liners do with our other recipes. I do think the cleanup was much easier though, so we’ll see how it does with something like “gravy” or BBQ Beef. Those can be super-messy and that might be the true test for me.

Here is Monica’s recipe for the oatmeal. I also like that she included the Weight Watcher’s Points at the bottom.

The magic of the crock pot: it cooks while you sleep. I love coming out in the morning and having breakfast already done, especially on a school day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (I had 1%)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (I don’t have flax seed so I skipped this one.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter

DIRECTIONS

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray (I used the liner instead). Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour. I doubled mine and cooked it from 10 pm to 8 am.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4 pts per 3/4 cup serving

Calling all Crock Pot Cooks!

19 Jan
Crock pot

Shhh.....all's quiet on the appliance shelf in my closet. My crock pot is ready and waiting for your recipes!

I have had a crock pot since I had my bridal shower in 1995. I love it, or should I say I love the IDEA of it.

I love the IDEA of my house smelling fabulous all day long.

I love the IDEA of dinner cooking without me while I’m at work.

On occasion, those wonderful ideas actually come to fruition. For example, yesterday’s crock pot oatmeal, that’s a good one and in the winter we have that a few times a month for breakfast on a school day. I’ve made a crock pot applesauce but other than the fact that it cooked while I was gone, it’s faster to cook it on top of the stove. The Hanukkah brisket, always delicious when we make it…every once in a while. We make a great pulled pork in the crock pot for our birthday party feasts, and next week during Superbowl Recipe Week (gasp…. I told!!!!) you’ll see that Don makes a great crock pot chili.

I have several crock pot cook books, but I just haven’t found “the” recipe or recipes for a regular night’s dinner, something I could do on a regular basis once or twice a month. First off, I hate the ones where you have to cook it all first on the stove and then just throw it all in to the crock pot to cook for 3 hours. That doesn’t seem all that helpful to me really. Second, I hate beef stew. Third, how many cream of mushroom soup recipes are there? Tons. And, I’m not knocking them because I happen to like cream of mushroom soup recipes (I posted one today, non-crock pot, but still…) And last….I hate my food to touch, so that presents a problem. Some foods are supposed to go together, others, not so much. Very tricky….ever see on my dinner plate photos just how far apart my foods are from each other? Uh huh.

So. Where does that leave me? It leaves me asking you for your help. I’ve been providing you with tons of recipes as the days and weeks have gone by on this blog, and I’ve got TONS more that I haven’t even touched yet. But, they aren’t crock pot recipes.

Where do you get your best recipes for the crock pot?

What good ones have you tried and loved?

Send them to me at jenniferlcowart@gmail.com and if I try them and like them, I’ll feature them on my blog in the future.

In fact, let’s make this worth your while. I’ll throw in a little prize for one lucky person who sends me a recipe. On February 2 I’ll use a random name generator to pull one name from all of the people who email me their favorite crock pot recipe(s) between now and the end of the day on February 1, and send one lucky winner a treat. I won’t say what that treat is, but it’ll be a little treat from me. (Don’t go crazy it’s not going to be a brand new crock pot or even a crock pot from 1995.)

Thanks for your help and good luck!!