Category Archives: Crock pot

These are recipes which can or should be made in a crock pot

Crock pot: pork chops & veggie rice casserole

I openly praise slow cookers all the time for their many qualities. Here is yet another perfect example of a recipe that took me a matter of minutes to prep, then the machine did all the work for me throughout the day so that I came home to a lovely smelling house and a hot meal.

Ingredients:
2 large pork chops (or a small roast)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 cup rice
1 cup frozen or fresh chopped veggies of your choice
2 tbsp garlic powder

I also made asparagus on the side. Just put 1 tbsp oil, 2tbsp lemon juice & some sea salt in a pan, and heat over medium until the asparagus starts to blacken and is soft yet firm.

 Step 1: As you can see, I like just taking out pre-frozen meat to use in the crock pot. I took out 2 pork chops I’d bought and frozen weeks earlier. Put the bouillon, corn starch and spices in the crock pot. Add the water and mix well.

 Step 2: Add the rice and veggies and mix into the watery spice mix. Place pork chops on top and cover. Cook on high 4 hours or low 6-8. Give it a good stir once if you can midday.

 The pork chops got so tender the meat literally just fell off the bone. So the small chunks of pork just got mixed into the rice for a casserole.

Since you know what ingredients you put in and can control what/how much vegetables go into this casserole, it is quite healthy. You could make it vegetarian or vegan easily too. Use tofu, add beans, etc. I might try brown rice next time too. Maybe throw in some tomato sauce too. Go crazy.

Slow cooker chili con carne with beans

I love my Slow Cooker. Not that I’ve ever tried to keep that a secret, I just wanted to put it out there. Slow cookers are amazing for so many reasons: it’s super easy, takes little to no time/work on your part, and makes meals so much cheaper. You just prep, throw all the ingredients in, then go do whatever you want. You can buy cheap ingredients in bulk and turn them into a zillion different types of meals. If ever I meet the inventor of the Crock Pot I will hug them.

I know, some of you are thinking, but wait it’s August in Colorado, why are you making winter food? While it is true the Rocky Mountain blizzards haven’t yet begun (and thank god for that! stay away as long as possible please…) it has been rainy/overcast here. Weird, right? Isn’t Colorado basically a really high-up desert? That’s what I was told. Someone lied to me, because we’ve had some serious torrential downpours recently. It’s far too late to save my porch plants, but at least maybe they’ll lift the fire ban and allow fireworks again soon…

Anyhow, so I was craving some chili. After an in-depth discussion with my boyfriend, who is from Texas, arguing the general attitudes of some people towards the many different types of chili (with beans, never beans, meat types, heat level, sweetness, over noodles, etc) I decided on a thicker, meatier kind of chili with minimal fuss, not sweet and with beans.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef (as you can see, I popped mine right in there from the freezer)
1 can pinto beans
1/2 onion, diced small
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 small can V8 or tomato sauce
Garlic salt
Coriander
Chili powder

 Step 1: Put meat in crock pot, add all canned ingredients. Dice up the onion, add that and spices to taste. I don’t measure, as a general rule. I like garlic salt, so that’s probably about 3 tbsp worth, coriander comes out slow so maybe 1-2 tbsp, chili powder is kinda key so I’d say I used maybe 1/4 cup worth.

 Step 2: Put that sucker on low overnight. In the morning, break up the meat chunk into smaller bite size pieces. Leave on low all day too. You can taste it to see if it needs more spice of any kind, and add extra liquid (tomato sauce/juice is best) if it needs it.

 Coming home from work to the knock-your-socks-off smell of chili just can’t be beat on a cold, rainy day!

I made some corn bread muffins to go with it, (I totally cheated and used a 50 cent Jiffy mix, no judgment) as well as serving it with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. It was amaaaaaaaaazing. And makes plenty for several servings and leftovers too.

Leftover chili is great on its own, or over hot dogs as chili cheese dogs, over cooked pasta, or on a baked potato with extra cheese, sour cream and or avocado. I’ve even seen it as pizza! (Which I will need to try making someday soon).

Enjoy!

Garlic pot roast & winter veggies

Since it’s been cold here in Colorado lately, I’ve been craving your typical cold-weather, stick to your ribs type foods. So I got a nice 1.5 pound beef roast to slow cook all day. It’s a perfect lazy, cold, Sunday meal.

Ingredients:
1.5 pound roast
Garlic cloves
3 large carrots, peeled and cut up
1 large potato, rinsed and diced
1 celery stalk
1 cup beef broth
1/2 onion, cut into quarters or eighths
Salt & pepper (or Nature’s Seasons)

Step 1: Brown the roast on all sides in a frying pan over high heat. It only takes a few minutes per side. It will be nicely browned. Place in the crock pot.

 Step 2: Peel several cloves of garlic. (Don’t do this part if you don’t like garlic, obviously.)

 Step 3: Cut small slits in the roast and stick the cloves inside. Season the roast all over with Nature’s Seasoning or salt & pepper.

 Step 4: Cut up veggies and add to the roast. Pour in beef broth.

 Step 5: Cook on high for at least 4 hours, up to 7 hours. The roast should be cooked through, and fall-apart tender.

 I cut 1/2 inch slabs of beef and a big spoonful of the veggies. Delicious with a piece of bread & Country Crock and a glass of milk. It really hits the spot and makes your tummy happy!

My boyfriend came up with another way to eat this, by taking a piece of buttered bread and topping it with a thick slice of beef and some veggies, then adding a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top. Also a great way to enjoy this fall favorite!

Crock Pot Indian Yellow Chicken Curry

Over the weekend we went to an Indian restaurant downtown and the food was absolutely excellent! This inspired me to try my hand at Indian cooking, because it is generally healthy and uses spices which are great for you. The spices were by far the biggest investment, but I can use them many many times, so the cost per use is not too bad. As long as you’re willing to invest in good spices and cook Indian food several times, it is worth it! The original recipe I found here, and there are tons of great Crock Pot recipes if you’re pressed for time during the day and looking for ideas. I of course altered it to fit what I had, and the results were pretty darn good. This makes about 5 servings of curry, and 2 of rice. But I would recommend making fresh rice when you eat the leftover curry anyways.
Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
SAUCE
2 tbsp cream of coconut (I was supposed to use 1 can of coconut milk. Couldn’t find it at King Sooper, so I figured cream of coconut would be the same. False, it is thick like syrup and WAY sweet! So I omitted the sugar from the original recipe, and added a lot less of this, hoping the coconut flavor would still be there.)
1 cup skim milk  (Since I didn’t have enough liquid from the lack of coconut milk.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can tomato sauce
SPICES
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp cumin (mine was not ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red Thai spice (for a bit of a kick. Can use Tabasco or omit for no ‘bite’)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
VEGGIES
1/2 can garbanzo beans
1/2 vidalia onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, diced small
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 cup rice (basmati or jasmine is best)
1 1/2 cup water to boil rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 Step 1: Whisk the tomato sauce, milk, sour cream, and coconut. Add all your spices and set Crock Pot to heat up.

 Step 2: Dice up all your veggies, chicken, garlic, etc.

 Step 3: Add the chicken and mix to coat with sauce. Add the veggies on top. You could choose not to mix them in, they will steam as the Crock Pot cooks.

 Step 4: Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low 7-8. Mix once or twice. It smells divine after an hour or 2!

 Step 5: Cook rice according to directions. Add in chopped cilantro when finished, fluff with a fork.

Step 6: Serve curry over rice, and enjoy! The chicken is so tender and flavorful, the potatoes and chickpeas add a nutty, soft texture, and the green beans are cooked perfectly. You could certainly omit the chicken and maybe add extra veggies like eggplant or mushrooms to make this a hearty vegetarian dish. I will definitely make this again, especially since I have all the spices now. I will remember to get coconut milk next time though!

Slow Cooker Cheddar Broccoli Rice

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This is a super easy side dish, requiring only a few hours in a crock pot. It goes well with most anything. The end result is creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
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Ingredients:
1 cup rice
2 cups broccoli
1 full bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup water

Step 1: Pour 1 cup rice into crock pot. Add 1 1/2 cups water.
Step 2: Add as much broccoli as you want, I put in about 2 cups pieces.
Step 3: Cover with shredded cheese.
Step 4: Cook on high 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until rice is fully cooked and cheese is melted.

Makes about 5 cups, enough for 3-6 sides depending on what else is in the meal. You can cut down the amount of cheese here for less fat, or add in a can of cream of chicken soup for extra creaminess.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice Casserole

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Slow cookers are amazing, because you just put dinner in, go off to work or class, and come home to a fresh hot meal. I had a busy day planned, so I decided to use up some freezer food and make dinner a snap: I would make chicken casserole in the Crock Pot.
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Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Seasonings (Nature’s, black pepper and garlic)
Step 1: Put the chicken on the bottom of the sprayed pot.
Step 2: Mix rice & water, pour in.
Step 3: Cover with cream of chicken soup.
Step 4: Add the frozen veggies.
Then just cover tightly and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through before serving. Makes about 4 servings. Simple, cheap, quick. Enjoy!

Stuffed pepper casserole

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If you’ve been following along, you know I love stuffed pepper. You also know I love my crock pot. Stuffed peppers in the crock pot tend to come out a little mushy, so I decided to try making a casserole instead of leaving the peppers whole. They get cut into tiny pieces when you eat it anyways right?
Ingredients:
4 large red bell peppers
1.5 lb ground beef
1.5 cups rice
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce
Garlic, italian spices, pepper, salt
Step 1: First cut the peppers into small chunks and line the crock pot.

Step 2: Then add the chicken broth to the rice and cook, following directions for the type of rice you use… the chicken broth just gives it more flavor, if you’re watching your sodium you can omit it.

Step 3: While that’s cooking, brown the ground beef.

Step 4: Then mix the rice, sauce and beef together. Pour over the peppers. I actually added 1/2 a chopped onion to the beef to give it more flavor. Season with whatever spices you like.

Step 5: Cook on low for 1 -2 hours and enjoy!

Crock Pot miracles – Stuffed Peppers & Strawberry Apple Crisp

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Crock Pots are miracle workers for students, busy moms, professionals, anyone who is pressed for time but still wants a healthy, home-cooked meal at the end of the day. As a full-time graduate student writing her thesis, with 2 other jobs and several PhD interviews to prepare for, I have been running a pretty hectic schedule lately.
It goes something like this:
7am – wake up, go to lab, begin an experiment.
8 am – rec, run or elliptical.
9 am – home, shower, breakfast, maybe an hour of free time.
10/11 – meetings.
12-2 find time for lunch.
Afternoon – classes and more experiments.
4 – 9: work or write, depending on the day.
So, in the one hour of free time I had the other morning, I realized I had 3 red bell peppers, minute rice, and ground beef. Plus two old apples and baking supplies I hadn’t used in ages. Therefore…

Crock pot stuffed peppers:
3 red bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice
1 can tomato sauce
Spices to taste (garlic, italian, black pepper)
Step 1: Brown the ground beef and cook the rice.Step 2: Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice and beef and 1 can tomato sauce, plus any spices. Stuff each pepper with mixture.
Step 3: Put in Crock Pot on LOW for 2-4 hours.
Dinner and dessert, will be ready and waiting when I get home.
The pepper, exploded on my plate. =)

 

Dessert went from plain apple crisp to strawberry apple crisp because I couldn’t find any plain oatmeal. So I made do with what I had. And I’m glad I did!

Crock Pot Strawberry Apple Crisp:
2 apples, 1 red & 1 green
1 packet strawberries & cream oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter/margerine
Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract

Step 1: Dice the apples and mix in a bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put apples into a sprayed slow cooker.

Step 2: Mix the sugars, oatmeal, flour, butter, 1 tbsp. vanilla and another sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl.

Step 3: Sprinkle a tbsp sugar over the spiced apples in the crock pot, and cover with crumble mixture. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours. The sugars carmelize, the apples are soft and tangy, it tastes like heaven warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!!

This is so completely fabulous I can’t even describe it!

Cheap and easy comfort food for a crazy week

Between fighting a persistent cough all week, taking the GRE, two jobs, a birthday party and a baby shower, this week and weekend were bound to be hectic. I knew I wanted to make chicken soup to boost my immune system and as comfort food. But for the times when I was not home, I also needed something which traveled and reheated well with minimum expense and fuss.

With the holidays just around the corner, the belt-tightening has intensified in anticipation of gift buying (as well as graduate school application fees!). Therefore, the most logical choice seemed to be pasta. As cheap, tasty and comforting as it gets. So midweek I prepared one large batch of each.

Chicken soup for one: to ward off a cold in a week or less.
2 medium potatoes
2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks celery
1 medium onion
6-10 cups chicken stock or water plus bouillon cubes
1-3 pieces chicken (I used 1 leg quarter)
If you have them or desire them, add sliced fresh mushrooms as well
Optional seasonings: salt, pepper, italian seasons, bay leaf

Dice up the potato and carrot, leave the celery and onion whole. Throw all the ingredients into a crock pot on high for at least 5 hours (to ensure chicken is thoroughly cooked). Spoon solids into a colander. Remove the onion, celery, and any bay leaves if added and throw away.

Separate the chicken from the skin, fat and bones and add meat back to the pot. Add carrots and potatoes back to pot. Boil pasta noodles of your choice to serve with the soup. Enjoy the warm, homey taste and smell.

 

The next day I made a large batch of pasta so that I can pack it in tupperware to take to work. This will last quite a while for me, and may allow a frozen meal or two.
Wheat linguini noodles
1 bag frozen Italian style veggies
1 large can sauce (I used mushroom, which I bought on sale a few weeks ago for 50 cents a can!)

Boil a huge pot of water with a bit of oil and salt added. Toss in the pasta once it is at a rolling boil. Cook the pasta for 8-12 minutes (because wheat needs cooked longer than non-wheat) or until al dente. Add the veggies during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and veggies and return to the pot. Open the sauce and pour over, mix well. Enjoy!

These both were made with things I had lying about in my cupboards and the freezer. Total, it cost me approximately $2.50 for the pasta, and maybe $2.50 for the soup. So for around $5, I have a full crock pot of healthy homemade chicken soup and a fridge full of about 10 pasta lunches. Not too bad.