Archive for the ‘Crock Pot’ Category

The Verdict is Out on the Beans and Greens Recipe

February 8, 2010

As planned, we tried out the Crock Bean Soup with Kale for our weekly church potluck, yesterday. First of all, it smelled so fabulous all during church that my mouth was watering. Sometimes a dish smells a lot better than it tastes, but that was not the case yesterday. Those beans and greens were YUMMY!

One reason that I decided to try the recipe for the first time at potluck was that I knew that I had a lot of adults willing to give it a try just in case it wasn’t an especially kid-friendly meal. But, you know, I loved it so much that I don’t really mind if, when I make it next at home, we have a lot of leftovers. More for me!

Also, it was very simple to put together. I just soaked the beans overnight and Joey threw everything in the crock pot when he got up early. The beans were perfectly done by 12:30pm. Yum.

So, if you haven’t already, give this recipe a try!

P.S. Hmm…now that I’m looking at it, I think maybe my title should mention that the verdict is in. In or out, this stuff is good.

Flylady and the Grocery Budget

February 2, 2010

Have you read Leanne’s Food for Thought: 10 Food Budget Ideas? I was so excited to see that we consistently practice 9 of them. The only tip that I haven’t used regularly is to eat beans and greens one night a week. And wouldn’t you know, Leanne provided that Crock Bean Soup with Kale recipe. So…I think I’ll pick up some kale and try out the new recipe for church potluck this week.

This Month’s Habit: Menu Planning

November 11, 2009

Thankfully, menu-planning is a habit that Joey and I have had since we were first married. It is difficult for me to imagine functioning for any real length of time without a menu. I am absolutely horrible at cooking on the fly with whatever ingredients we happen to have on hand. Even though Joey is much better at spontaneous meal creation than I am, it’s still too stressful to try to attempt with the size of our crew.

But our menu-planning habit has varied during different seasons of our lives. When it was just the two of us and we lived in a city, we planned a weekly menu and went shopping once a week. When we had a few small children and lived about 30 minutes from a grocery store, I planned a monthly menu and shopped once a month. (That was also when I attempted once-a-month cooking for about a year before Joey finally confessed that he did not like frozen and re-heated food. Oops!)

Then we started buying a lot of our food in bulk from the food co-op and we still lived quite a distance from a grocery store, so I made a “seasonal” monthly menu that would last us through, for example, the fall, repeating the same monthly menu for, obviously, three months in a row. At that time, Amelia began doing a lot of the lunchtime cooking. She was fabulous at it and seemed to enjoy it much more than I ever did. Clara soon joined in with making breakfasts. Oh, what joy!

But, that didn’t last forever. Big girls grow up and move away and, last fall, I found myself facing the fact that I was now back in charge of all meal preparation. Because she is very sweet, Amelia made me a month-long, crock pot-based menu before she and Clara went off to school. She even made master grocery lists for each week of lunches and suppers. I can’t tell you how much these menus and grocery lists saved my sanity over this last year. They are flexible enough to provide variety so we don’t feel like we’re eating the same thing all of the time. They’re extremely economical, based on the meat that we have in our freezers from our own animals. And I have heard very few complaints from anyone about the meals.

And, because, ala Flylady, these menus have become so routine, when we ran out of pork chops last week, I could easily think, “Ah, yes, Monday evening is pork night, but there’s no need to panic. I will just switch gears and make some ground pork meatballs on Mondays until we process another pig.” Yea! for menu-planning!

Pineapple and the Crock Pot

September 15, 2009

Part of our Monday morning routine, in addition to math, spelling, music practice, language arts and Bible study, is baking.  I consider this an “optional” part of our routine which means that if Bible study or music practice goes long, we don’t get much baking done.  So, I haven’t done any baking for about a month, now.

But, yesterday, I glanced at the 6-1/2 lb. industrial-sized cans of pineapple chunks that we have left over from Amelia’s wedding and decided that I wanted to use them on the crock pot pork chops for Monday evening.  Monday supper always involves home-grown pork chops in the crock pot (thanks to Amelia’s fabulous crock pot-based master menu that she made for me on our ride up to Cornerstone Bible Institute when we were taking her back to school last fall).  Of course, I couldn’t use 6-1/2 lbs. of pineapple on 20 pork chops, so I decided to make these Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes from Family Fun magazine.

I sextupled (that’s not a word I use very often) the recipe and made 4 dozen cupcakes and a 9 X 13 cake.  I haven’t baked anything that sweet in a long, long time.  The kids seemed to like them, though.  Of course, cupcakes are not exactly acceptable fare on the South Beach Diet, so I didn’t try one.

For that matter, pineapple and raisins are to be avoided on the South Beach Diet, but I decided that I could scrape them off of my serving of the pork chops, so this is what I concocted for the Pineapple Crock Pot Pork Chops:

2- 20-oz. cans of pineapple, including juice (and you already know that I just used the equivalent of that from my huge can)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 cup dried onions

1/2 cup raisins

20 pork chops

First, I mixed the spices in with the pineapple juice.  I put the pork chops in the crock pot and poured the spiced juice over them.  Then I dumped the pineapple chunks and onions and raisins on top of the chops and turned the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Let’s just say that there were no leftovers.

Crock Pot Conversions

September 9, 2009

Oh, oh, oh!  I was so excited to see the crock pot cooking time conversions that Leanne sent out the other day! If I can figure out a source for linking them, I will.  (I figured it out!  Check out this link.)  The reason that I was so excited is that I use the crock pot at least 5 times a week, usually more.  Sometimes, things go awry in our routine and I still want to use the crock pot recipe that I had planned, but I don’t have the crock-pot-time to do it.  Enter the crock pot conversion guidelines to save the day!

Take yesterday, for example.  I took an unscheduled trip to the doctor for Charlotte’s pinkeye issue.  I had a crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe on the menu for lunch, but was unable to get it all in the crock pot before we had to be out the door for the doctor’s appointment.  Now, Clara was home, so I just asked her to concoct another, oven-baked macaroni and cheese recipe.  BUT, if she hadn’t been available, I could have just waltzed home from the appointment, glanced at the handy conversion guidelines and gone ahead with the original crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe, baking it in the oven.

And, um, I’m using the doctor’s appointment as an excuse for not getting the kitchen cupboards wiped off yesterday.  But, hey, the week isn’t over, yet!