Monday, January 05, 2009

The Year of the Crockpot

Here we go, folks. It's a new year. It's a fresh start. It's...afternoon church. One to 4 pm every Sunday. Somehow that seems like a longer three hours than 9 to 12. Especially in the winter when it gets dark so early. And especially on fast Sunday. With my free time in the morning now instead of in the afternoon on Sunday I'll be doing whatever prep I can so we can eat dinner on time, or as soon as possible after church. And that means using the slow cooker! Aw, twist my arm.
Yesterday I cleaned a whole roaster chicken, and filled the cavity with chopped onions and a pierced clementine (would've done a lemon but I didn't have one.) Drizzled it with olive oil, slid some smashed garlic cloves under the skin, and rubbed it with lots of grill seasoning and Italian seasoning. Put it in the crockpot on HIGH for 6 hours, though I'm sure 4 would have done it. Then I did all the chopping prep work for a cold edamame & radish salad, and if I wasn't on the Core plan I would have thrown some stuff into my bread machine as well. Good thing I didn't because I would have eaten the entire loaf, slathered with melting butter, the minute I stepped in the door. As it was, we were at the table eating dinner 15 minutes after getting home. Love that!

Slow Cooker Week in October was awesome - one recipe a day for a week. Then in December we had a goody recipe a day for a month. Well I don't dare commit to 365 days of crockpot recipes, or even 52, one each Sunday. Some weeks I'm sure we'll have spaghetti, leftovers or cold cereal after church. I'm also a fan of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals, though we all know they take longer than that. But it's hard to beat the ease of a slow cooker, and the warm welcome of cooking smells when you come home. So I'm yet again on the hunt for good recipes. I have about 5 or 6 in the lineup to try, and welcoming more. And of course I'll share the love by posting my keepers. Who knows, I'm so addicted to digital bookmaking, maybe we will have another cookbook by the end of the year.


Lindsay said...

Yay! I'm excited to see what you cook up!

cherry said...

Yum!Yum! maybe i can ask Alan to give me a slow cooker for my birthday,eh?

tona said...

yes! yes! My old one busted and I got that very one for Christmas and I am looking forward to breaking it in later this week with lamb stew. I'm SO with you on this one! Working full time + late afternoon carpooling = crockpot saves my day

tona said...

I don't guess that BLTs are in the Core Plan, but they sure made a good quick supper when we came home hungry from church on Fast Sunday yesterday. We are shopping 1x a month at Costco and loving their big pkg of precooked bacon.

Disco Mom said...

Ton, assume I am a blathering idiot and give me step-by-step directions for lamb stew in the crockpot. (congrats on getting a new one!) Seriously, I've made stew like once or twice in my life and never in the slow cooker so tell me (us) everything. It sounds sooooooo good. For next Sunday I have planned BBQ spare ribs - I saw Robin Miller (Food Network, "Quick Fix Meals") do it on TV while I was at the gym last week and I thought I might fall off my treadmill trying to eat the TV. I'll post it if it's good.

Cherry - yes! That's a no brainer. If I was still in NY I could plant the bug in Alan's ear for you.

Lindsay - you're no lamo in the kitchen either. If you've got winners, I want them!

The LDSMommy said...

Our ward also goes 1-4 this year. That's the worst time slot ever, especially when there are little kids in the family! Two of my fav slow cooker recipes are sweet & sour meatballs, and sweet & sour baked beans ( you sense a theme here?). If you'd like the recipes, I'll happily share.

Disco Mom said...

yes, mysterious lds mommy, i want them both!

The LDSMommy said...

Sorry! I should have identified myself...this is Heidi Lott Page. Okay, here goes:

8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I slice my bacon before cooking, when it is slightly frozen)
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cider vinegar
** two 18oz cans lima beans drained
one 18oz cans red kidney beans drained
one 18oz can pinto beans drained
one 18oz can baked beans, NOT drained

1. Combine onions, brown sugar, dry mustard, garlic powder, ginger, salt, and vinegar in saucepan and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
2. Combine beans in 3 quart casserole (crock pot).
3. Pour simmered mixture over beans
4. Top with bacon
5. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour; crock pot until bubbling hot.
Serves 6.
**Any type of beans may be substituted as long as the baked beans remain, and beans total approximately 80 ounces.

I'll post the meatball recipe separately...

The LDSMommy said...


2-3 slices bread, broken
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
pinch of parsley
2 dashes garlic
1 tsp parmesan cheese
3 lb ground beef (or can do ground turkey, or any combination of ground meat that you'd like)

3/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup water
2 cups tomato juice
1 small can crushed pineapple (undrained)
2 tbsp flour

Sauce Directions: Mix all ingredients together and set aside
in large bowl.

Meatballs: mix bread, egg, salt, pepper, parsley, garlic and cheese. Gently add ground beef to mixture. Form into balls and place into baking pan (you can cram them in; they will shrink some). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drain off fat. Place into crock pot. Stir sauce and pour it over the meat balls. Heat in crock pot on medium for at least 4 hours.
(if you want to finish these off in the oven, keep the meatballs in the baking dish, pour sauce, and put back in oven for 45 minutes)

Serve over rice as a main dish (brown rice is my fav), or make smaller balls for a hot appetizer.

The meatballs can be made ahead of time, baked for the initial 30 minutes and then frozen for when you want to put them in the crock pot with the sauce. If you put them in the crock pot still frozen, allow more time (or put on high setting). You want the sauce bubbly, and everything heated through. I have also cheated and used ready-made frozen meatballs. Also, even if you leave this in the crock pot for longer, it won't hurt anything. This is something that keeps in the crock pot well, and is a big hit with anyone who has had it. It is my standard dish to bring to a family with a new baby!

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