Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crockpot Saves the Day

Thursday was supposed to be a day of surprises.  I suppose you could say it really was...just not the kind I was anticipating.  My husband's birthday is coming up, so to surprise him, his longtime-friend flew up for a quick visit, and so did his mom.  Kevin had no idea.  Unfortunately, a boy's night out, as I had imagined it would be, didn't happen because we spent most of the late hours in the Emergency Room!  It turns out metal bleachers and pool water just don't mix well with a wiggly three-year-old who still struggles to find her balance at times.  A quick slip and a slice on the head, and we were off to the ER for stitches.  Grace was a trooper, and I am so proud of how brave she was.

I was so happy I had thought ahead that morning (though never could have foreseen this!) and had dinner simmering in the crockpot.  By the time we got home, we were starving.  And as anybody with food allergies knows, a quick drive-thru at any fast food joint just isn't an option.  Lucky for us, we came home to the heavenly scent of chili and cornbread.  Grace and I had also whipped up a French Yogurt Cake that afternoon (this time instead of vanilla extract we used lemon extract, and sprinkled the zest of one lemon on top). Oh happy day.

I love my crockpot, and I probably use it at least once a week.  Here are my three favorite recipes.  Nothing more simple and basic than these!

Crockpot Chili
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 32-oz can spaghetti sauce (I like the chunky versions because of the extra veggies)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chili powder
dash of hot sauce
Sometimes I add frozen corn, diced zucchini, and/or diced onion

1.  Brown the meat and transfer to a crockpot (low 8 hours)

2.  Combine all the other ingredients in the crockpot.  Sit back and let the aroma take over your house.  Serve with cornbread (I use Bob's Red Mill mix)

Crockpot Chicken & Rice Soup

Leftover chicken pieces or 1 lb of chicken meat (breast, thigh, your choice.  It does not need to be cooked)
2 14.5-oz cans chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
3-5 carrots, chopped
5 baby potatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked rice
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 cloves crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine all ingredients except the rice in a crockpot set on low 8 hours

2.  An hour or so before you plan to eat, shred the chicken using two forks.

3.  10 minutes or so before serving, add the rice and stir thoroughly.  Remove bay leaves.

Crockpot Beef Stew
1 lb beef stew meat
1 can beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
5 baby potatoes, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine all ingredients in a crockpot set on low for 8 hours.

2.  Eat and enjoy!

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