Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cooking

Anyone who's been around the Playground for long knows that I'm not much of a cook. It's not that I don't enjoy it...it's more that I don't get the chance to experiment. Because Zilla is home before the rest of us, he cooks every night. The girls and I walk in the door to dinner already made. Until recently, this schedule worked really well for us.

Unfortunately, we're finding that our nightly routine is being preempted more and more often. Cheer practice. Karate lessons. Evenings with grandparents. We've found ourselves eating out quite a bit lately simply because we're all eating at different times.

That's going to change. Not only has this habit become hard on the wallet, but my waistline. It isn't good for any of us, and I miss sitting down as a family to enjoy dinner. So I've come up with a solution. Crock pot cooking. This way we can all eat whenever we need to...and hopefully prevent gobbling a hamburger and fries from the drivethru on the way to wherever we're headed.

The problem? Yeah, did I mention I don't cook very often? I have a few crock pot recipes in my repertoire but not enough to sustain us. The three or four I do have will get old very quickly. So, today I'm going to ask for your help. Do you have any good crock pot recipes? I'd love to hear them! I need all the help I can get.

And as a thank you, I'll give away a copy of my latest release, Caught Off Guard (on shelves right now!), to one lucky poster.

Instigator

16 comments:

Playground Monitor said...

I like to make a roast in the crock pot. Use whatever cut of roast you like (top round is especially good and lower in fat). Braise the roast first in a skillet with a little olive oil and then put in the crock pot. Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of water and an envelope of onion soup mix. You can add extra onion if you like as well as carrots. Cook all day and voila! Roast and gravy. Fix rice in the microwave (takes very little time) and you have a quick and easy meal.

Christine said...

I love my crockpot. Fix It & Forget It Lightly is a great crockpot cookbook. I have a lot of recipes for the crockpot--I can copy them for you. There are some great websites as well which list recipes according to meat used and number of ingredients. A favorite around here is Taco Soup (dump food and let it cook itself with some ground beef that is fried up) and beef au jus.

TACO SOUP.

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion chopped (I like to cook it a bit first in the frying pan)
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can hominy (if you can't find hominy then put in another can of corn or beans)
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilies

Dump all ingredients into a large crockpot (I use a 5 quart). Cook all day on low. Serve with tortilla chips and top with grated cheese and sour cream.

I use low sodium canned products and light sour cream. You can serve over rice as well.

Smarty Pants said...

I've been looking for some crock pot recipes myself. With DB's schedule changing, I'm losing my nights where I can eat cereal or a PB&J and be done with it. He's a picky eater though, so its harder.

I'll look at my cookbook tonight and post something.

CrystalGB said...

BBQ Pork is easy to make. Here is how I make it. Season a pork roast with salt and pepper and place in crock pot. Add a couple cups of water to keep roast from burning. Cook in crock pot on low for 8 hours. Take out pork roast and pull apart meat. Mix with favorite store bought bbq sauce and serve on buns. I usually make fries and cole slaw with bbq pork.

CrystalGB said...

I make a whole chicken in the crockpot that we enjoy.
Spray chicken with Pam(cooking spray). Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. Place some balls of aluminum foil in the bottom of crockpot for chicken to sit on. Spray aluminum foil with Pam. Place chicken on aluminum foil balls and cook chicken on high for 6 to 8 hours. Don't cook on low. It won't turn out the same.

Instigator said...

Ooh, these sound awesome! Christine, I'd love any recipes you wouldn't mind copying for me. I'm in the same boat as SP, only I'm the picky eater.

I'll include one of the few recipes that I do have.

Put several chicken breasts or strips into the crock pot. Add a can of rotel and a little bit of water. I usually end up cooking the chicken for sevearl hours on low but if you have less time cooking on high works too. When the chicken is done I shred it. Then we use it to make chicken tacos.

Instigator

PM's Mother said...

Vegetable soup is always a good crockpot meal.

I usually wing it with whatever I happen to have in the pantry or freezer:

1 32 oz. carton chicken broth
1 package frozen mixed veggies
1 small onion, diced
1 medium potato,diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 or 3 poached chicken breasts, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook on low for several hours

If you want veggie beeef soup, start with beef broth and substitute diced stew beef for the chicken.

Left-overs freeze well.

Playground Monitor said...

I make vegetable beef soup like my mother does but I don't use the beef broth. I use a large can of diced tomatoes and then add a can of water. When the beef chunks cook they produce their own broth. And sometimes if it gets too thick as it cooks (I usually will put this on after supper and let it cook on low all night and all the next day) I add a little more water.

Maven Linda said...

BBQ Chicken:

three or four chicken breasts (or however many you need for your family), 1 bottle of Catalina dressing, one jar of fig preserves (or apricot, if you don't find fig), one envelope french onion soup mix. Cook on low all day. There you have it.

Experiment with different flavors of salad dressing (Russian, French, etc.,) and different flavors of preserves to find what you like best.

robertsonreads said...

Chili:
Cook hamburger meat, drain & place in crock pot. Add chili & kidney beans, onions, chili seasoning, tomato sauce, cook on low overnight or during the day.
Wonderful!

Angel said...

I've really wanted to start using my crock pot too, but have trouble remembering to try recipes. These look great!!! I'll look for something that I can post too.

Angel

Linda Henderson said...

Rather than leave you a recipe I'll give you a website to go to for crock pot recipes, it has some great ones.
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/home.aspx

Just type in crock pot in the search on the home page and it will bring you up a bunch of them.

seriousreader at live dot com

Angel said...

Linda, Thanks so much! I just realized something. Even with all the cookbooks I have, none of them are crockpot specific. This will be a great resource! I think I might make it a goal to use my crockpot once a week.

Angel

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Late to the party, but just want to tell you ladies with iPhones that there's a CrockPot app. It's really awesome when you're in the grocery store and want to buy something for the next day. Or, run through it at home and favorite the recipes you want. Then call it up in the store. Awesome!

Smarty Pants said...

Found this on allrecipes.com. It's their top 20 slow cooker recipes.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Main-Dish/Slow-Cooker/Top.aspx

Michele L. said...

My favorite thing to make in my crockpot is baked beans. I like my beans cooked for a good while. I put everything in it too. Here is my recipe,

1 can - navy beans, I don't drain off all the liquid in the can. I leave some liquid and add it to the crock pot.
1 can - kidney beans, reserve some liquid and add to pot.
1 can - butter beans, reserve some liquid and add to pot.
1/2 cup - ketchup
4 to 6 heaping tablespoons - brown sugar, if you like it sweet put in 6
1 small onion - diced
1 garlic clove - minced
- saute the onion and garlic in a frypan together in a 1/2 tablespoon of oil then add to beans.
2 tablespoons of molasses
1/2 lb. bacon, fry it first but don't cook it to crispy. Try to cook it crispy/soft. You want to flavor the beans but remember don't put in to much grease.

I just cook it all day. It is best when cooked a long time because the beans break down and it gets thick.

I have heard this recipe called, "HOBO BEANS"