Friday, November 4, 2016

Real moms in the kitchen--crockpot ideas

Mom2MomEd Blog: Real Moms in the Kitchen with Crock Pot Fun
It's officially fall here in Northern California and that typically means comfort food and crockpot cooking at my house! There is nothing better than throwing everything in a single pot and having dinner ready on time. 

I dusted off my crockpot this past week, and so far every meal in it has been a hit; however, as I noted HERE, my family and I get tired of the same meals day in and day out. I'm not a very good recipe follower and I don't ever measure, but I thought I'd share some of my tried and true recipes that you may like as well!

In return, please pass your favorites along to us as well by leaving us a comment!

First off, I don't have a fancy crockpot. I have a very inexpensive one (THIS one and it's only $9.99) that I found on Amazon and it works great! I really don't think it matters what type of crockpot you use, but mine has three settings: low, high, and off.

Tonight was an extraordinarily long day in my house and called for a crock pot meal! I drove for a field trip and had a lot of my own work, plus kid stuff, to catch up on this afternoon. Knowing I would have a crazy day, before I left with my son, I laid out some ingredients and my husband threw was able to throw them all into the crockpot and get things started.

The meal turned out amazing and with minimal work. All my husband did was throw in a pot roast, a handful of baby carrots, chopped onion, peeled and chopped potatoes, and an envelope of onion soup mix with the appropriate amount of water. It was a great one pot meal...meat, veggies, and carbs.


To round out our dinner, I cut up some fruit and dinner was served.


Another family favorite is to throw several boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot with a packet of taco seasoning and some salsa. I don't measure, instead throwing in a few heaping spoonfuls of salsa. Once the chicken has cooked and is falling apart you just use a fork to shred it. We also enjoy adding a can of black beans to the chicken. With or without the beans, you can use this shredded chicken for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taco salad or whatever else you choose.

Last week, I was hunting through my freezer trying to find something to make for dinner, and all I could find was a pork roast, but I wasn't sure what I should do with it. I ended up throwing it in the crockpot and it turned out to be delicious and the whole family enjoyed it! I simply chopped about half of an onion, added several cups of bone broth that I had in the freezer, minced carrots, two cups of dried beans (I think they were Northern beans), a dash of cumin, and salt and pepper. I just let the roast cook on low all day and by dinner time, the meat was shredded and the beans were perfectly cooked. It ended up being a really good bean soup, especially when I made corn bread to go along with it. Both of my kids , especially my son, LOVED this. My little guy even took some to school the next day in his thermos!

I haven't made it yet this year, but another family favorite is to peel and core several apples and literally just throw them into the crockpot on low for several hours. I usually just add a dash of apple pie spice, but not always--this makes a yummy applesauce with or without the apple pie spice! This has to be the easiest, no fuss way to make applesauce that I've ever found. Instead of buying prepackaged applesauce cups, I bought a set of THESE or THESE single serve, reusable containers and use them to portion the applesauce out and then pop them in the refrigerator. My kids love having single serving foods and something easy enough to open themselves is always useful. Plus, you know the applesauce is not full of sugar and other junk!

{{Note from Malea: I STILL use the same little plastic containers for snacks for myself and my son! They are great for single portions of nuts, dips, hummus, salad dressings, and so on!}}

Well there you have it--a few of my go-to crock pot recipes!

I'm going to challenge myself to use my crockpot several days a week this winter to free up some time for myself. I'm planning on trying several new recipes and will come back and share the good ones! I'm in love with Pinterest right now and may be going a little "pin" crazy! I've also noticed that there are several planning sites that suggest you precut and measure all of your ingredients and put them into freezer bags, so all you have to do is pull it out and throw it in your crockpot. That may be a meal planning day for me in the future!

{{Note from Malea: My favorite cookbook for crockpot recipes is THIS one! It has crockpot recipes, soups and stews, and casseroles. We especially love the spiced lemon chicken!}}

Please share your tips and recipes you have for your crockpot. I'm looking forward to expanding my go to recipes!

And, while you are at it, consider a meal plan--make it a lot easier with this set of colorful weekly menu planning worksheets from our Etsy shop:
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