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Six Great Crockpot Recipes Tested in My Kitchen

"There is no spectacle on earth more appealing 
than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves."
Thomas Wolfe

The Results Are In....Crockpots Work!!

Yesterday was a simply gorgeous day! The weather was just perfect, so our whole family spent the afternoon out working in the yard together. Tim mowed the pastures, Jacob cleaned the gutters, Rebekah weeded the flower beds and I raked all the leaves out of my bushes making room for transplanting tulip and daffodil bulbs while Christian carted off the leaves to the burn pile.  What a lot of work we all got done!

For a wonderfully pleasant change, I got to work outside WITH the family instead of inside by myself. Why? Because I already had dinner in the crock pot!  I threw together a hashbrown casserole right after we got home from church. By the time we all got in from our yard work—hot, sweaty, and ready to relax, dinner was ready. I’ve always dreaded cooking dinner on Sunday nights because we cook a big church dinner every Sunday morning. But today was so different! I felt like such a GOOD MOMMY because I made a real dinner not just grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

Here's my favorite book on crockpot recipes--a gift from my sister in law, Kristi - Fix-It and Forget-It Revised and Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes

Fix it and Forget it Slow Cooker Cookbook

 As I mentioned a few weeks ago, up until recently, I haven’t used my crockpot much except for meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, beef stew, and roast..or maybe roast chicken. It had seemed to me that most of the recipes I’ve tried didn’t sound that good or didn’t turn out the way I expected.  But I’m here to tell you that after experimenting and working a lot more with my crockpot..I’m a believer!! Yes--I’m officially a ‘crock-pot’ addict.

  A Crock pot is to Cooking what a Serger is to sewing..but it’s WAY easier! 

I’m now convinced that you can pretty much throw anything in a crock pot for a few hours and it will come out yummy. Slow cooking has got to be the best way to cook anything—except maybe a rump roast or a fish fillet. :o) 
 

Why use a crock pot—especially if you are going to be home all day?
 Because you get most of the work done EARLY in the day.

No matter what happens or what goes wrong with your plans, you can at least have dinner ready. You can run errands till 5:30pm, walk in the door and serve supper. Your kids can be driving all over town, husband at a meeting, and everyone return home on their own timetable and still find something hot and ready to eat. This saves a lot of money! No more expensive pizza nights! 

I’m now cooking not only my main dish, but my rice or potatoes in a second pot. And you can cook your veges in a crockpot too! Dinner is served when you are ready and you don’t have to have a big clean up at the end of a long day. It’s so nice do the cooking and the cleaning up of preparing a meal early in the day while you still have plenty of energy.

stir all together and top with cheese


I use my crock pot almost daily. I have hardly been able to find something that I used to cook in the oven that I can’t now cook in my crock pot. It’s been fun experimenting with my family’s favorite dishes. We do macaroni and cheese, rigatoni casserole, baked potatoes, roast beef, roast chicken, enchilada meat, stew, hamburger-corn bake, spaghetti, meatloaf, bbq beef, chicken and wild-rice casserole and even chicken noodle and cream of potato soups…all in the crock pot! 

 Crock-pot cooking is a homemaker’s best friend! 

Save your fancy cooking for the weekend. :o) Spend more time playing with the kids, pursuing your interests, or just visiting with hubby at the end of the day without being completely exhausted.  It’s almost like having a live-in cook! You get to sit down to a delicous meal at the end of the day, without having just finished an hour of cooking and cleaning. It’s simply lovely. :o)

Rebekah, my daughter, and I learned a few tricks along the way before I introduce this last month’s recipes and I wanted to share them with you today.
 REbekah

Slow Cooker Tips
1. Spray the bowl with Pam!! It makes clean up vastly easier!
2. Cook the food LONG enough! If you don’t give your food enough time to cook, it will come out runny. If you cook it long enough, it will come out great.
3. You can take the lid off for the last 30 minutes or so to thicken the recipe or dry out the top (helpful for casseroles).
4. Any casserole can be pre-cooked, then put in the pot on the day needed (like Sunday morning), and cooked in three-four hours.
5. If you need a casserole to be done in 2 hours, then microwave the ingredients and get them hot first. That will give your casserole a head start.
6. Be sure to use enough liquid for rice. Rice cooks beautifully in a crock pot! (As does potatoes.)
7. Sauté your meat to ‘sear’ it before cooking. Keeps the meat tender.
8. Casseroles cook fast. Keep an eye on them. 2-3 hours is usual.
DSC05456



# 1 Deluxe Spicy Chicken Spaghetti
(Not easy..but worthy of company!)
I got this recipe for a ministry weekend lunch and our family loved it. It cooks beautifully in a crockpot. Tastes fantastic!

DSC05413
Ingredients:
    • 1 lg. onion chopped
    • 1 stick butter
    • 3 boneless/skinless chicken breast and 3 boneless thighs
    • 1 cn. cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 can rotel tomatoes (unless you want it spicier)
    • 1 cn. (12 oz) evaporated milk
    • 1/2 pound Velveeta cheese cubed
    • 1 cn. sliced black olives in it or on top (opt.)
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese
    • 16 oz. angel hair pasta
    • 3-4 cans chicken broth (I use the broth I cooked the chicken in.)
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • salt/pepper/garlic powder/onion powder
    DSC05426 DSC05424 
        DSC05434DSC05455
Directions:
  1. Cook chicken in about 6 cups canned chicken broth seasoned with the 2 bouillon cubes and spices. (Save broth.)
  2. Cut chicken in to bite size pieces. Set Aside.
 Meanwhile:
  1. Saute’ the chopped onion in the butter.
  2. Add Soup, Rotel, milk, velveeta, chicken and sliced black olives. Set aside.
  3. Heat left over chicken broth to boiling. You need about 6 cups. Add water to make six cups if needed. Boil Angel hair pasta in broth for about 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain pasta.
  4. Add hot pasta to mixture, stir and pour into greased (or sprayed with Pam) crockpot.Cook on low for four hours. (If you make this ahead and it’s chilled, then you can cook on low for four hours.) Top with cheese the last 15 minutes to make a melted topping.
DSC05616

#2 Do-Ahead Baked Ziti Casserole

Super easy! We make this regularly at our house. Now I can make this and even freeze it. Defrost it before cooking. This is a great one to make the night before and take to church supper the next morning. Just put it in the crock pot for an hour when you get up, then take it to church and plug it in. It’ll be ready by lunchtime. :o)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ziti or Rigatoni Noodles
  • 1 28oz. can Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (browned)
  • 1/2 lb. Grated Mozzarella cheese
  • salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese
    DSC05618 DSC05619 
 DSC05622DSC05624
Steps:
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions but don’t overcook.
  2. Brown ground beef
  3. Grate Cheese.
  4. Could also saute bell pepper and onion and add to taste if you like.
  5. Mix everything in a bowl. Spoon mixture into a gallon ziplock back.
  6. Either freeze and cook later. Or simply refrigerate until ready to serve (if soon).
  7. On the day you cook the casserole, pour the defrosted mixture into a crockpot.
  8. Cook for three-four hours on low.


 # 3 Cheesy Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Amanda, my DIL, and I made this casserole for supper last week and the whole family LOVED the taste! Honestly, we don't eat ham very often. A ham is just plain expensive. And I'm always a bit squeamish about the thought of all the salt and preservatives in it. By itself, ham is just a little too intense for my family. But in this recipe--it shines!

We bought ham slices from the store instead of a whole ham, which was much more economical..and time friendly. I have to admit that our potatoes were already baked from the night before, so we didn't have to cook our casserole more than two hours on high. It tasted delicious!  The mixture of onions, ham, potatoes and cheese was perfect after a long day at the park.  We gave this recipe 5 stars for flavor and texture.

RECIPE from Fix it and Forget It Cookbook
Ingredients:
  • 6-8 slices ham
  • 8-10 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar or American cheese
  • 10 3/4 oz can cream of celery or mushroom soup
  • paprika
Directions:
1. Put half of ham, potatoes, and onions in slow cooker.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Repeat Layers.
2. Spoon soup over top. Sprinkle with paprika.
3. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4 hours.
 Cranberry Roasted Pork

#4 Cranberry Roast Pork  (And left over BBQ Sandwiches)

Our family isn’t crazy about pork but this did come out tangy and tender.
We removed all the fat, shredded the meat added BBQ sauce and heated it the next day for BBQ Beef sandwiches. Yummy!
Ingredients:
  • Pork Roast
  • Cranberry Sauce (canned or homemade) (or chopped fresh cranberries mixed w 1/4 cup honey)
  • Grated Orange Zest
  • Salt and Pepper

DSC05494
    Directions
    1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker.
    2. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over roast.
    3. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours. 
    Tater tot layers
    (Check out the layers! I almost didn’t get a photo before everyone had scooped it up!)

    #5 Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole

    Never in a million years, would I have guessed that you could make tater-tot casserole in a crockpot. It turned out great. It doesn’t take long to cook though, so be careful. This is not one of those 8 hour recipes!  Remember to take the lid off the last 20 minutes or so so that the tater tots can dry out and be a little crispy..rather than soft and mushy on the top. :o)

    DSC05496

    Ingredients
      • 32 oz. bag frozen tater tots
      • 1 lb. ground beef, browned
      • 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper
      • 2 14 1/2 oz cans greenbeans
      • 1 10oz can cream of mushroom soup
      • 1 Tbsp. dried onions
      • 1/4 c. milk
       DSC05500 DSC05498
    Directions:
    1. Line slow cooker with frozen tater tots.
    2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over potatoes.
    3. (I topped my casserole with tater tots too!)
    4. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours.
    Note: sprinkle individual servings with cheese of your choice.
    My note: I took the lid off the last 15 minutes and the tots went from very moist to dry on top. (More like traditional tater tot casserole would be.) Then I topped it with grated cheese.
    Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Frozen Chicken

    #6 Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole 
    using frozen chicken breasts
    p.173 of Fix it and Forget it Cookbook
    Ingredients
      • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
      • 2 cups hot water
      • 1/2 cup butter melted
      • 6 oz Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice
      • 4 1/2 oz. jar sliced mushrooms
      • 10 oz cooked chicken
    Rice Chicken Soup layered

    Directions
    1. Dissolve bouillon in hot water.
    2. Combine all ingredients, including rice seasoning packet, in slow cooker.
    3. Cover. Cook on high 2 hours or until rice is tender.
    4. Note: We doubled this recipe and used frozen chicken breasts and cooked longer (i.e. four hours)

    Next week, I’ll be trying some of the recipes that you, my readers, suggested and I’ll be aiming for healthier recipes with less processed foods in them. But I have to say that Tim and the kids are loving my meals lately!  We’re in crock pot heaven around here! LoL!  How about you? What’s your VERY FAVORITE—tested and tried recipe. Perhaps I’ll feature yours next week. :o)

    The next time your kids say they’re hungry.. just tell them..Dinner’s in the pot!

    Linking with
    BTNOP Masterpiece Monday
    Raising Homemakers' Wednesday Link Up

    Sneak peeks for this week's posts...


    • Tuesday Tea..Taking Care of You!
    • Photo Shoot of Daughter in a Civil War Ball Dress Sewn By Me
    • Yard Work..Country Style
    • My Friend’s Best EVER Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
    • A Visit with the Grandkids..in Seattle!
    •  


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    10 comments:

    emma said...

    This is SO great, I got a crockpot for Christmas but could only come up with "stew" as how to use it! Thanks so much :)

    Lorraine said...

    looking good..we call crock pots slow cookers over here and I have got a carribbean beef stew cooking at the moment but I cheated and just chucked in the beef, ready bought sauce and a load of frozen veggies..easy peasy..will have a go at your chicken recipe though

    mickey said...

    I'll probably be trying that ham & cheese dish soon! Love the crock pot; I really should invest in a second one.

    Trudy Callan said...

    Thank you, Donna, for sharing your kitchen-tested crockpot recipes with us. Can't wait to give them a try.

    Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

    What a nice blog you have! I have this same cookbook, but haven't tried the recipe you have. Thanks for testing for us--I love crockpot cooking as I'm always "fresher" in the a.m. Hugs, Kim

    Maria Killam said...

    it is so miserable and rainy out right now (and a monday of all things) that we really need one of those pots in our kitchen right now!
    Looks so yummy and I love the way you photographed them!!
    x
    maria

    Donna said...

    These are yummy Maria--and perfect for a cold rainy day. It's cooling here..but no rain yet. Praying for some!

    Lorraine, that sounds yummy. Mickey two pots is a great idea! I want a third one..lol!

    Trudy..you know this post is 50% for you personally. :o) You inspire me so much!

    Kim I love your blog too. Everyone should visit it-It's super!

    Christi L. said...

    My crock pot is my mainstay when I have a new baby. LIFE SAVER! Soooo, since I"ll be in that boat again in Sept, keep the reviews coming please!

    Flower Photography said...

    YUM they all look so nice. I need to use my slow cooker more - I always say it!

    Hillary Holler said...

    Question about the Chicken and Wild Rice recipe? I see in the picture it looks like their is Cream of Chicken Soup, but I didn't see that on the ingredient list??

    “There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster
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