Sunday, January 4, 2009

Do You Crock-Pot?

A few months ago, one of my blogger friends (I think it was Karyn, it was Karyn or Becky for sure!!) was asking about easier ways to cook. I have been thinking about trying to eat healthier/better this year- and even more about things to cook when Little T finally arrives (sometime, anytime, hopefully soon!!!). This is NOT a full blown resolution -- I rarely succeed at those. But for those of you that were/are single for a period of time OR regularly eat alone due to schedules, etc. you probably know how difficult it is to cook for just one.

My tip to Karyn (I'm almost sure that it was Kar, but I am too lazy today to go searching through the archives... horrible I know) was my good friend, the crock-pot. I realized that I should probably take my own advice and maybe use the crock-pot more. It's great for clean-up, (especially when you use crock-pot liners!!) and it also helps me with my age old problem -- not planning ahead for dinner and then suddenly having to come up with something at the last minute, which typically turns out not so healthy.

While checking facebook this morning for my suddenly quiet friend Sarah, I came across this message for a blog of a lady who apparently cooked in her crock-pot EVERYDAY in 2008. So while, I am a little late to her party, I'll gladly snoop around and post this for everyone. I read a little here and there, she tries to cook gluten free as much as possible -- but it really looks like she uses "normal" ingredients for the most part. She apparently also made it on the Rachel Ray Show, who I love, but can't stand her voice and mannerisms, so I never watch. (I know, doesn't make sense) Enjoy!

Keeping with Karyn's question (and I'll feel really dumb if it was Becky and NOT Karyn!) - what do you do to cook everyday? Martha Stewart answer are NOT accepted :)


Sherrie said...

I have been thinking about cooking healthier in 2009, too. We are going to have 3 children, instead of 1, and I have been practicing my cooking and making bigger meals. It will be a huge adjustment for me, I think. We are used to going out to eat (too much) and we won't be able to do that NEAR as often with 5 people! Not that I'm complaining, lol. Oh, and I chuckled at the Rachel Ray comment, ha, ha - I so agree.

Amy Deffenbaugh said...

LOVE my crockpot!!

BTW - a friend started a website of quick, easy, healthy recipes:

Becky and Keith said...

Hehehe... it was MEEEEE!!! :-) Your post cracked me up. Anyhow, what I have learned thus far is that you have to have a plan. The crockpot is a WONDERFUL thing, but it's no good if you don't have a plan. The weeks I do best is when I write down (and hold myself accountable) for the meals I say I'm going to make. Of course, sitting down and planning doesn't happen too often so our dinner time is still a disaster. :-) As a matter of fact, we've eaten out every night since Wednesday. BAD BECKY! :-) I'd love some of your favorite crockpot recipes so send them my way!

Lindsay said...

If you can get them, try Annabel Karmel's books for baby/toddler food. I especially recommend her "Family Meal Planner" book, because I can eat the same as Hannah from it, and most of the receipes will freeze, so one cooking session does us several meals over the next couple of weeks.

I was a total beginner cook before Hannah came home, and being able to give her a balanced, healthy diet was a serious worry for me (I'm the Queen of Junk Food). Now I can cook - and enjoy it. Try some of the receipes before your daughter comes home too - it can make a big difference!

Also go for things you can freeze, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once it's frozen, transfer it to freezer bags (remember to label what it is) and you will easily be able to make up toddler size portions of soup, potatoes, veg, bolgnaise etc really quickly. Since I went back to work this has been a life saver!

Pamela said...

In law school, I used my crock pot alot. I set it to a timer that would kick on during the afternoon so that I had warm food when I walked in the door. The apt. never smelled so good. A crock pot can be a wonderful thing!

This year, I have decided to eat less processed foods. So, it's cooking from scratch. I was inspired because I feed my dogs homemade food from scratch, and because I am paying more attention to the nutrients in their food, I have naturally done the same with mine. I'm sure you'll start eating healthier when feeding Tatiana better quality food.

BTW, I have the same reaction to Rachel Ray.

findingourdaughter said...

I crock-pot, but I am soooo tired tonight, I'll have to email you some of my "faves"....just remind me. LOL
I probably don't crock pot as much as I should though; I'll have to check out that blog/websites.
My issue: not having all the ingredients on hand....running to the store last minute with kids is NO fun at all.

Troy and Rachel said...

I have the crock pot blog in my reader and have been following it for some time! The only thing is that some of her receipes take so many ingrediants. Who has time for that!!?? One of the easiest things in the crockpot is a roast (beef or pork). I simply cut onions in the bottom put in half a cup to one cup on water and lay the meat down. it can cook all day and tastes great. I don't do potatos and such - I think they taste soggy after all day! Since bringing home a little one I save all the leftovers - even the smallest leftover can make a lunch for alittle one by adding goldfish or something of the like - just a little hint!!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the crock pot! In fact the one that I have is from the 70s!!! It's orange with some type of vegetables growing around the side. In fact, I refuse to get a new one because this one is so trusty!!

I cook entire stuffed chickens in there. For the note on soggy stuff, I do a few things different. For example, I do chicken noodle soup in the crock put all day, sans the noodles. I boil the noodles when I get home and just pour the soup over the noodles. This is also how I freeze the leftovers--without the noodles. This also allows the options of substituting rice or dumplings instead of noodles.

My suggestion on the potatoes would be to leave them out and microwave them when you get home. Then, cut them up and drop them in. They won't have sucked up the broth as much, but they won't be soggy either.

My next big recipe is for my venison loin! I'm planning to wrap marinate it in soy sauce and wrap it in bacon. Then I"ll leave it in the crock pot all day with a dash of garlic (key ingrediant to ALL food), onions and carrots.

Oh, my other trick is to dump in a can of cream of mushroom soup for pork or meats that I think will dry out. Cream of mushroom soup makes everything better. Use Cream of celery or chicken if you don't like mushrooms.