Category: CrockPot


I’ve been fighting a cold, and with Thanksgiving coming up, don’t want to wear myself down with meals requiring a lot of prep.  This meal definitely fits the bill of a meal that practically makes itself!

I was watching the television show Sunday Morning yesterday, and there happened to be an interview with the daughter of the man who invented the crock pot!  He was named Irving Naxon and he invented it in 1936, perfecting it to a “Beanery” by 1940, for the purpose of cooking a Jewish bean stew called cholent.   In the days before Naxon’s invention, they would heat the oven and place a dutch oven in it, so that they could turn off the oven during the Sabbath and have a meal ready to go that had cooked in the residual heat of the oven.  Rival bought the rights to his invention in the early 70’s.  Thank you Irving Naxon for making our lives easier!

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8 Skinless bone in chicken thighs

1/2 bottle Italian dressing (I used Drew’s – lower sodium and less sugar than most)

1 can low sodium Cannelloni Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Package frozen Swiss chard (I used Cascadian Farms)

1/2 c. seasoned Panko bread crumbs

Rice cooked in the rice cooker.

I pour the dressing over the chicken as soon as I get it from the market.  Sometimes I refrigerate it.  Sometimes I freeze it and then thaw it in the refrigerator (which takes longer than you think, depending on how you pack it in the tupperware).  This batch was laid out in a single layer, so it took about a day and a half to defrost in the fridge.  This way the marinade really flavors it well.

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Put chicken in the crock pot on low for 7-8 hours, until it’s literally falling off the bones.  Remove the bones using tongs, being sure to pick out those pesky knuckles too.  Shredding up the meat as you go along.  It’s a good idea to have a count on how many pieces there are, so you don’t miss any of the bones.

At this point, put on the rice cooker with rice of choice.  I had some yellow rice on hand, so I used it, and it was delicious with this.

Back to the crock pot – add in beans, and chard.  cook on high for about 10 minutes.  Add in bread crumbs to thicken, and place a paper towel under the crock pot lit to help absorb some of the moisture from the frozen chard, and cook until rice is done.

When the rice was done, not everyone was ready to eat, so I pulled the chicken aside in my crock and put the rice in with it, and set it to warm.  That way everyone could decide on their own rice/chicken ratio and eat at their own leisure.

Obviously, the variations are as voluminous as there are bottled dressings on the shelf!  Also, black beans and garbanzos work well.  Kale in the place of chard?  Add ins of onion, mushrooms, carrots, squash, etc.  You get the idea!  Great use of leftovers.  Eat it over noodles or quinoa instead of rice.  The list of what can be made this way is endless.

I’m thinking of trying a ginger miso inspired version of this and stir fry veggies for an Asian flair!

 

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Although my pictures leave something to be desired, the tomato soup and grilled cheese dinner was a huge hit!  The soup cooks in the crockpot all day.  Once home from work, assemble and toss the grilled cheese in the oven.  Easy as can be!  Comfort food at its best.

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I make a double batch and freeze half for the next time!  This is the recipe for a double batch:

4 cans tomatoes (I use 3 petite diced no salt added and one with basil, onion and garlic)

1 container broth (I like Tuscany seasoned chicken broth, but often use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)

1 onion, finely chopped

Place in crockpot on low all day.

When you get home, add in a block (8 oz) of cream cheese, cubed up and cook for about 30 more minutes until the cream cheese melts.  Use an immersion blender and whirr it up leaving some chunks of tomato and onion for texture.  Store half for next time.

Add ins:

Frozen broccoli

Barilla “Ready Pasta” or leftover cooked pasta

Cannellini beans

I made grilled cheese using a delicious buttery cheese from Aldi called Butterkase, some Havarti, and a little muenster.  Yum.  I spread butter on the outside of the assembled sandwiches and bake between two baking sheets.  I love it because I can make so many at once without standing over a hot stove – never fun in Florida.

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1 pork shoulder roast

1 packet fajita seasoning mix

There’s nothing easier than pulled pork in the crock pot!  I wanted to season it with a Mexican flair as I planned to serve it over rice with tostones (I had some in the freezer that I’ve been meaning to cook up).

Rub roast with seasoning mix.

Place in crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours.   Shred.  Add in seasoned bread crumbs to thicken juices, if needed.

 

I didn’t actually get a picture of this one, but instead put pictures of two previously posted “Empty the Fridge Chowders”  Making a chowder or chili is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers.

4-5 c. leftover meat and starch (I had about 4 or 5 cups of some delicious boneless lemon pepper chicken thighs and brown rice and black beans that weren’t getting eaten fast enough.  I chopped the chicken up into smaller pieces)

1 bag Dole Chopped salad (I save the salad toppings and dressings from the chopped salad for future use).  Broccoli slaw would also work well as the fresh add-in.

 

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Combine the leftovers with the greens from the Chopped salad, and place in crock pot.

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Add in:

1 jar salsa (I used Muir Glen organic that was on sale)

3 Tbsp. bacon jam

1 Tbsp. dehydrated minced onion

2 C. chicken broth

Any leftover meat and starch will do.  I sometime even freeze leftovers I know will work well in a chowder or chili.  Make sure you label them, though.  They are often unrecognizable when you look at them in a container in the freezer.

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To the chicken, rice, bean, and chop salad mixture, I then added salsa, bacon jam, dehydrated minced onion, and chicken broth.

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Cook on low in the crock pot for 8 hours.

Optional toppings:  Shredded cheese, nuts, sour cream, crushed chips, etc.

Optional add-ins:  Any leftover veggies or starches.

 

 

3 lb. ground turkey

1 package Chop Salad (any kind – keep the dressing and toppings for another time)

1 package frozen seasoning vegetables (onions, peppers, celery, and parsley)

1 can black beans

1 can white corn

2 pouches Frontera Lime Cilantro sauce – this is our favorite Rick Bayless sauce – all natural ingredients you can pronounce!

2 pouches Minute Multi-grain medley (uncooked)

Optional toppings:  Lettuce, tomato, avocado, red pepper, shredded cheese, black bean dip, etc.!

Brown meat.  Add veggies chop salad and seasoning and cook until softened.  Add sauce and cook in the crock pot 6-8 hours on low.  About 30 minutes before serving, turn crock pot to high and add in multi-grain.  It will absorb the extra liquid.  Heat tortillas and let everyone make their own burritos!

Since I made this the first time a couple of years ago, this easy spinach dip is my go to for large gatherings!

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2 bags spinach, chopped
2 c. shredded cheese (I used 6 Italian)
2 blocks cream cheese, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

Artichoke hearts and chopped cooked bacon – optional

Place spinach in crock pot and chop with kitchen shears.

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Combine/toss remaining ingredients in crock pot with spinach. The mixture will be dry and salad like.

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Cover and cook on low 1 1/2 hours. Stir to combine.

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Cook another 1 to 2 hours.

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8 eggs

3 Tbsp. sour cream

1 can golden mushroom soup (or other cream soup – leftover homemade is ideal)

1 package fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles

2 cups leftover roasted potatoes

1 onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. shredded cheese

Combine eggs and sour cream.  Soft scramble in a skillet sprayed with olive oil or coconut spray.  Mix in soup.  Set aside.

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Heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat.  Cook onions until softened.  Add potatoes and increase the heat to create crisp brown edges.

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Spray crockpot with spray or wipe down with oil.

Pour half of egg/soup mixture into crockpot.

Layer sausage crumbles next.

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Layer potatoes and onions next.

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Layer remaining egg/soup mixture next.

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Top with cheese.

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Cook on low for 30 minutes.  Reduce to “keep warm” setting.  Everyone can eat at their leisure as they get up.  I keep spreading the remaining casserole around in the crock pot to keep it from getting dried out at an edge from a spoon.

 

 

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1 c. green lentils

1 c. quinoa

4 c. water or broth

2 Tbsp. butter

Cook in rice cooker according to brown rice directions.

2-3 lb. hot Italian sausage, casing removed, and broken up into bite size pieces

2 packages frozen Trader Joe’s grilled peppers and onions

1 package frozen Trader Joe’s mushrooms in garlic sauce

2 cans coconut milk

3 Tbsp. green curry paste

1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning

1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs

Combine sausage, one package of peppers and onions, mushrooms, coconut milk and curry paste in crock pot. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Add remaining package of grilled peppers and onions about 30 minutes before serving.

Add bread crumbs to thicken, if necessary.

This was delicious!  Another no leftovers meal.  I decided to try the quinoa/lentil mixture I’ve been reading so much about.  The kids loved it.

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3-4 lb. London Broil

1 c. barbecue sauce (homemade or bottle – I used Sweet Baby Rays)

1/2 sweet onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 green pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 yellow pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 red pepper, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp. garlic

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can cannelloni beans

1/2 c. leftover corn and black bean salad from yesterday’s Little Big Meal

1/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs

Toppings:

Finely chopped sweet onion and green onion

Defrosted frozen peas

Shredded cheese

Hot sauce

Sour cream

Marinade meat in barbecue sauce mixed with peppers, onions, and garlic at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Place in crockpot on low and cook 8-10 hours.  The meat will shred easily.

Add in beans, leftover corn and black bean salad and bread crumbs.  Continue to cook until the rice is done.

I am sold on using a rice cooker now.  So easy.  I added in butter and garlic in tonight’s rice.  I also toasted up some garlic toast.

My kids said if they had this in a restaurant, they would go back there!

 

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1 1/2 lb. smoked sausage, cubed

1 package fajita style veggies (onions and peppers)

4 medium sweet potatoes cubed

1/2 c. apple juice or chicken broth

Eggs

Avocado

Green onions

Spray crock pot with cooking spray.  Layer sweet potatoes, then veggies, then sausage.

Pour juice or broth over.

Cook on high 4 hours or until potatoes are tender.

When serving, cook an egg and place on top with avocado and green onions.

I made a second batch with russet potatoes for the kids who are not fans of sweet potatoes.

I will make this again, but I think it would be better with fresh sausage that is cooked and crumbled.

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