I’m always looking for new ideas to make life easier. On the other hand I love to cook, and I’m no stranger to the crock pot. I’ve pinned the pins, I’ve bookmarked the websites, I read the reviews and I’ve tried meals that looked Pinteresting- some passed the Liner test, and some were Pinterest FAILS. The fails have made me a little reluctant to try new recipes. On the other hand, recipes from people I know and trust are different. I’m an extremely picky eater, so it’s really hard to find recipes I like.
I recently came across a blog post from a HS friend, narrating her experiment with Crockpot meals. My best friend, Mel, and I have also been swapping recipes. Tonight, Shawn and I spent about an hour prepping our meals. He chopped, while I bagged the meat, spices, etc. Even if the recipe called for it, I did not brown the meat. I simply piled all the necessary ingredients into a gallon Ziploc bag and placed them in the fridge. These would freeze well, but I only made enough for the week.
AllRecipes has also become a “go-to” website. I like that I can change the portion size to fit my family, save the recipes to my recipe box, and even add the ingredients to the grocery list to print.
I did alter these recipes to meet the need of my family. Let’s be honest, it was mostly for me. Did I mention that I am an extremely picky eater?
- Some of these recipes were not crock pot recipes. Do it anyway! 8-10 hours on low (usually 8) has always worked for me. If you’re unsure, use a meat thermometer to verify it’s done.
- If it called for oregano, sage, rosemary or thyme it didn’t make it in the pot. YUCK!
- Black beans or pinto beans, yeah, they didn’t make the cut either.
- I used low-sodium items where I could, especially chicken broth. I’m just looking out for the hubby’s heart. ♥
- I always keep pasta and a huge box of 5 minute rice in the pantry. I’m a white rice kinda girl. Brown rice is not my thing. Many times these items are BOGO Free at Winn-Dixie.
- I bought my chicken at Winn-Dixie during their BOGOF sales. Ground beef is cheaper at Costco. I buy it in bulk and divide it up among the recipes, or freeze it by the pound in sandwich bags.
- Pre-chopped onions and bell peppers are available in large bags at Fresh Pickins, our local fruit stand. I love to keep these on hand in the freezer for tossing into the recipes when I don’t feel like the extensive prep work or when I’m in a hurry.
- Spices like cumin, paprika and cayenne are also BOGOF at Winn-Dixie. Watch for the sales.
- The night before, I made sure the crockpot was clean and ready to go. I inserted a crockpot liner (best invention EVER!) and dumped the ingredients in. The next morning, I pulled it out of the fridge, placed it in the warming part of the crockpot and set the timer.
- After dinner, if there were no left overs I allowed the pot to cool, cleaned the lid and prepped it for the next day. If there were leftovers, I placed the pot in the fridge.
Here are the links to the ones that have been successful for me. A few were my own experiment, and a few came from Kirby and Mel.
1. Angel Chicken- Shawn and I love this one. I had seen it on several of my Facebook friend’s posts and tried it for myself. If you choose not to use the wine, just substitute chicken broth. I actually added a little extra broth the second time because I felt the sauce was a little thick. The only downside to this one was it wasn’t 100% ready when I got home. I still had to boil a pot of pasta.
2. Chicken Tortilla Soup- So good! I made this one tonight. I use one large can of Rotel instead of a can of tomatoes and a can of chiles. Shawn likes to add diced jalapeno on top at the end.
3. Chili- Perfect for a cold dreary day. I previously used the McCormicks package, and this is almost identical, but better! I like knowing what I’m putting in my food, not just dumping an envelope.
4. Mississippi Roast- This one usually becomes a two-night meal. It falls apart and is super tender! I am very picky about my roast and rice & gravy. Shawn immediately asked for this one again. The pepperoncini peppers were a weird addition to me, but they totally work (A jar makes about 3-4 roast recipes). I add about a cup of water to the bottom, despite the recipe telling you not to. It cuts down the saltiness and makes a gravy in the pot (If you find a low-sodium ranch envelope, let me know). Sometimes I will mix it up and use stew meat instead and add carrots and potatoes. It is served over rice. The second night, I use the rest on poboy bread/hoagie buns and add provolone on top for a roast beef poboy.
5. White Chicken Chili- Yum! I find that canned beans have salt in them so I purchased a bag of dry white beans and used them instead. I soaked them overnight and them placed them in the bag as I prepped.
6. Mexican Cream Cheese Chicken- I purchased taco seasoning from Red Stick Spice, but you also use the envelope from the grocery store. I also left out the olives and substituted the tomatoes and chiles for a can of Rotel here. I served it over rice the first time, but in the future I will serve it with tortillas and sour cream.
7. White Beans- A Southern favorite served over rice and with a pan of Jiffy cornbread. I skipped the onion powder and chopped up a half of an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic instead. At the end, remove a few ladles of beans, mash with a fork and return to the pot to give them a thicker consistency without using cornstarch.
8. Red Beans & Rice- Another Southern favorite. I skipped the sage and thyme. That was not in traditional RB&R as I knew them, but this was the closest recipe. At the end, remove a few ladles of beans, mash with a fork and return to the pot to give them a thicker consistency without using cornstarch.
I look forward to reading your comments. I’d love to hear about your successes and I always welcome suggestions as well. Bon Appetite!