Friday, October 24, 2008

The Crockpot Is My Friend

Stephanie over at "A Year of Crockpotting" has made it her goal to use the crockpot every single day in 2008:

http://www.crockpot365.blogspot.com/

I'm not up to that level of dedication, but I do love the crockpot -- its round self has saved my patootie more than once during the past few months of roofing. And there's nothing like coming in the house, cold and hungry, and smelling beef stew waiting for you. Right. Now.

Bliss.

Not only that, but crockpots use way less energy than your stove. Even your microwave. You do tend to cook in larger quantities-- occasionally a problem, now there's just Husband and yours truly -- but the stuff freezes nicely. Or we have it for lunch/supper again during the week.

Stephanie just gave an extremely nice recipe for Chocolate Fondue:

--1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, milk, or white. Your choice.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in a Small Dipper crockpot -- or put in an ovenproof bowl or glass casserole dish inside your larger crockpot. Don't add water. (I don't know why the stuff doesn't burn, but it doesn't.) Cook on low until it's melted -- about 1-2 hours. Dip in marshmallows, apple or orange slices, bananas, whatever. Enjoy.

There are a ton of other recipes on Stephanie's website, but you can find about any dish on Allrecipes.com, as well.

Here are some of my favorites:

MEXICAN PORK

1 pork roast (cut off the most obvious fat)
1 envelope taco mix

That's it! Cook 4-8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Don't add water -- the meat juices will give this a nice soupy mix. Tender, delicious --use for barbecue, enchiladas, tacos and such.

This is also good for beef, though I may substitute an envelope (or two tablespoons) of onion soup mix and 1/2 cup of wine.

CROCKPOT CHILI
(got us through a snowy, blustery day this week)

1 pound ground beef or pork
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 quart jar home-canned tomatoes. Or 1 large can tomatoes)
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons dried garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
1 small can green chilies (optional, but very Coloradoan to use)
2 cups dried pinto beans

Rinse the beans and dump them into the crockpot; cover with water (about 1/3 of the pot). Dump everything else in -- do not brown the meat! (This way, the good juices go directly into the chili, rather than being wasted in the frying pan. The bouillon just boosts the meaty taste.) Rinse out tomato and/or chili cans -- add that water, as well. Cook on low 6-10 hours, or high 6-8 hours. Feeds 4-6 gorillas, especially when served with 'cheese guys' (cheese melted on corn tortillas in 450 degree oven approx. 5 min.). Stretch your meat further by doubling everything else --it's still delicious.

CHICKEN-BROCCOLI SOUP

1/2 pound raw chicken breast, chunked (1-2 cups cooked leftovers are good, too)
1 pound broccoli -- frozen package or approx. 2 cups chopped raw
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon marjoram or basil
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 large can (or two small cans) cream of chicken, celery or mushroom condensed soup
approx. 2 cups milk
-----stop here -------------
1 teaspoon sour cream per bowl (optional, but good - yogurt works, too)
1/2-1 cup grated cheese

Here we go. Dump everything, from chicken through the condensed soup, into the crockpot -- fill the empty cans with milk to rinse, and dump that in, too. Add 1-2 cups water if mixture looks too thick. Cook on low 4-6 hours, or high 2-3 hours. Serve each bowl topped with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkled with cheese. Feeds 4-6.

Enjoy. And invite us over to dinner!

2 comments:

notesfromthefrugaltrenches.com said...

I'd love a crockpot! Those sound sooo yummy!

Cindy Brick said...

Well, hi there!! I just found your blog, thanks to frugalbabe, and was looking forward to getting to know you! I'll be stopping by...
thanks for stopping here.
Cindy

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