Tuesday, January 2, 2018

On Crockpots and Slow Cookers

 I just wanted to encourage all of you that the crockpot can be such a "servant" in your home.  Each week when I plan my menu, I always look at the activities I have planned for that week and have meals planned with those activities in mind.  If I am going to be gone most of the day, I plan for a crock pot meal.  That way, dinner can be cooking while I am away and all we have to do when we get home is set the table, make a salad and/or other side dish, and get the bread ready.  It is a great sanity saver for me. 

~Dried beans are one of the easiest things to prepare.  Just go through your beans and get the bad ones out, get the stones out or what have you and rinse the beans.  Put them in the crock pot, fill with water all the way to the top, add your seasonings, and turn them on.   Let them cook all day and they will be ready for dinner. 

*Taco/burrito beans - use pintos or black beans, put four or more cloves of garlic in, add a chopped onion, if you like meat in your beans add some of that for flavoring, add about a tablespoon of butter, then add your taco seasonings (packet or make your own).   For serving them up, I just dip them out and mash them with a little more seasonings and a little butter.  I put them on tortillas, you can add taco trimmings at the table.  You can also make them ahead of time and put them into tortillas and put tomato sauce on top with some cheese and bake until hot and bubbly. 

*Black eyed peas are the top in terms of nutrition for dried beans.  Iron and protien are high.  I cook them with chopped onion, a little meat, and cloves of garlic.  I serve them with mac and cheese, collards or cabbage and onion, cornbread, and a salad and dessert. 

*Bean soup is good.  Just cook the beans and add other things, carrots, potatoe, tomatoes or whatever you have on hand.  If you use leftover cooked beans cooked the day before, you can pop this in the crock and have it ready in time for lunches. 

~Main dishes of meat are easy also.  You can put frozen meat in there in the early am and have it done by dinner. 

Our favorite recipe is Santa Fe chicken.

*Take some boneless, skinless chicken pieces and put it in the crock pot with a can of corn, a can of black beans and a jar of salsa or rotel.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8.  Near the end of cooking time drop in a half of block of cream cheese and finish cooking.  Serve over rice with a salad on the side.  MMMMMMmmmmmmm!

*A whole turkey breast will fit in my 6qt crockpot.  That cooks all day and makes a nice, tender and juicy beginning of a meal.  Serve with mashed potatoes and a side of green beans and rolls.

*You can drop a whole chicken or a bag of chicken pieces in there and add seasonings and cook.  Mmmmmm.  Then just make your sides.  Don't add water, the chicken will make its own juices.

*Drop some potatoes (whole or halved), and onions (chopped), set your roast on top, add some favorite seasonings, and put in about a cup of water and let it cook all day.  Serve with salad and a bread.

*Beef Stroganoff - Scrub 6-8 potatoes and slice vertically, put in the bottom of crock pot, brown 1 lb (more if you desire) of ground beef, add 1-2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (use your own white sauce if you want to substitute) add 1-2 cans of water to the ground beef and pour this on top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle favorite seasonings on top.  Cook 3-4 hours.  Near the end of the cooking time add a cup of sour cream or plain yogurt.  Serve over egg noodles or rice with a salad and bread.

There are about a million and one recipes out there for your crock pot.  Don't forget to let this servant work for you!  Please leave me some additional ideas for meals if you have a good one!

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