Today on the Quiltcast, Amy and I talked about how we balance our mom jobs and our day jobs–and one of the tools we mentioned is our slow cooker! Both of us love to use our crock pot to get dinner done–in fact, mine is going upstairs right now (See below, Kathy’s White Bean and Chicken Chili). Using a crock-pot, of course, gives me a little more time for this:
For me, it is important when I am feeding my family that the meal not only be fast and not too fussy, but that it be nutritious, real food too. And, as we discussed on the Quiltcast, I have a pretty bad time with MSG and preservatives, so that’s just another reason I don’t like to add canned soups, etc, to our meals.
Without further ado, these are 5 Crock Pot meals that I use on a regular basis in my home. Because we’re all busy, but we all want to be healthy. Throw one in your slow cooker tomorrow morning, and have dinner done before breakfast is over!
These are so good! We get crusty rolls and broil some cheese and italian spices on top before making our sandwiches. Yum! I use the recipe here to make my own Onion Soup Mix without bouillon or MSG.
This is a perfect comfort food, and a great way to use leftover ham. Even better, my kids love it! If you have fussy children who don’t like texture, you may want to leave the ham out until the veggies are all cooked, remove the bay leaf, and puree the soup in a high speed blender before adding the ham.
Harvest Ham and Root Veggies:
This is such a simple recipe, I can’t even find a link for it. Here goes: Use a 1 to 1 1/2 pound boneless ham, 6 carrots, and 3 medium sweet potatoes. Peel potatoes and carrots, and quarter or cut into bite size pieces. Place carrots and potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot. Place ham on top of vegetables. Pour 1 cup of pure maple syrup (not extract, and not waffle syrup) over ham and vegetables. Cover, cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. (Original recipe found in Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Best-Loved Recipes.)
Kathy’s White Bean and Chicken Chili:
This is one of those “Throw it all in and forget about it” kind of crock pot meals. Just the kind I like. On the beans, I have usually done this with canned beans, but it’s so much more delicious with dried beans. See the link below if you haven’t ever used dried beans.
Place 3 chicken breasts, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of great northern beans, 2 cups of salsa, 1 cup of diced tomatoes, and 2 tsp of cumin in greased crock pot. Cook on low heat 6-9 hours. Break chicken into bite sized pieces with two forks before serving.
I confess, I really love me a meatless meal. The nice part about this recipe is that with a little tweak or two, you can change a pot of beans from a side into a soup. So, if you prefer some meat with your beans, use this as a side recipe. If, like me, you’d like to make these beans the star of the show, well, follow the soup recipe or use them as a topping for some rice. These recipes are both stovetop variety, but can easily be put in a crock pot as well for a few hours, and has the advantage of being a little faster than a large cut of meat that needs to cook all the way through. I use organic beef broth if I’m making the soup, and use dried beans, instead of canned beans. Here’s a great link on using dried beans.
You may have noticed these little pictures of mine on Instagram (amrosenthal, if you want to be friends!) over the Thanksgiving holiday, chronicling my breakfast preparations. For the record, they’re delightful, delicious, and really, really, easy to make. A few people asked for the recipe, and of course I’m more than happy to share so that I’m not the only one eating breakfast for lunch (and dinner, ahem) around here.
As a side note, I don’t really do measurements on recipes, people. I’ll do my best to estimate, but this one is pretty much foolproof. You’ve got this.
Here’s what you need:
- A mini muffin tin
- Olive oil
- Wontons (24 dumpling size, or 6 egg roll size, cut in quarters)
- 5 eggs, beaten (with salt and pepper if desired)
- Sharp cheddar cheese
Coat the cups in the muffin tin lightly with olive oil. Have a munchkin (or other person) put the wonton wrappers in each cup, being careful not to break them press the dough against the sides of the cup, folding a little if necessary.
Dice the ham into small (1/2″) pieces. I use organic deli slices (honey smoked) and it’s delicious. Saute the ham in a pan with the butter until browned. Pour several tablespoons of water in the pan when the the button on the bottom of the pan is starting to brown. Simmer until the water has evaporated. Remove from heat.
Put a pinch of ham in each cup. Pour beaten egg in each cup to just below the top. Sprinkle the top with sharp cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Make repeatedly until your family has no idea there are other foods in the world.
As a side note, this same thing can be done with a leftover pie crust. Same thing with the egg, cheese, ham, etc. I added 1 shredded potato to it, cooked it for about 23 minutes. It was divine.
In case you needed more excuses to eat breakfast for every meal.
Because really, what’s a party without cake, right?
I made this on Sunday afternoon because hey, everyone needs something pumpkin-y on the first weekend in October. I think it’s a requirement or something. Anyway, it was really yummy, and had this great unexpected lemon glaze that was just perfect. Trust me, this one’s a keeper. Original recipe found in Real Simple Magazine, November 2010.
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
1 cup butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1½ cups pumpkin puree (approximately 15 oz.)
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup molasses
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Heat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together on high until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, pumpkin, milk, and molasses one at a time. (And hey, if you must know, I TOTALLY forgot the milk. Still turned out delicious, if a bit dense.)
Turn down your mixer and add in the dry ingredients, just till everything is combined. Don’t overdo it.
Pour into prepared pan, bake 55-65 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 30 minutes, then turn out of the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
Wisk together lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the cake. Let it set.
edit: In the original post, I omitted ¼ cup molasses by mistake. Sorry!! It’s been added in now.
What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? Please share!
Don’t forget, any comment you make on posts this week gives you an additional chance to win one of the great giveaways. Make sure you’ve commented on the original giveaway post to be eligible.
Plus, be sure to check out Konda’s Quilt Uber-fest block today!
Remember how I said I was going to have too many raspberries? The time has come. In fact, I think there are still some out on the bushes now, probably drying up. Honestly, I picked as many as I could without evaporating. It’s HOT out there.
Anyway, I got a LOT.
And I had just learned how to make freezer jam from a house party my sister threw. It was easy. And yummy.
So easy in fact, that I decided it would be the perfect “activity” for my kids to do.
Turns out making freezer jam utilizes several skills that come quite naturally to three-year-olds.
Mashing things, for example.
Stirring something for only 3 minutes. (Even they have that long of an attention span).
Sneaking tastes on the side.
And smearing it on any piece of bread that will stand still long enough. Even if it is a hot dog bun.
And all I had to do was pour it in the jars.
They even put the lids on and took them out to the freezer for me. (This was one of several batches.)
Raspberry Freezer Jam
2 T Ball Realfruit instant pectin
2/3 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups mashed raspberries
Mix the sugar and pectin thoroughly.
Add in the mashed berries.
Stir for 3 minutes.
Put in clean jars.
Put the lid on.
Doesn’t get easier.