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Yes, you can cook delicious, flavorful food in a crock pot

I love to cook and, before kids, I loved spending a couple hours sipping a glass of wine, listening to beautiful music, and making dinner.  Now I have two children, times have changed, and by the end of the day, I am pooped

I still have the desire to spend all that time lovingly chopping various pieces of produce and leisurely planning a menu, but the reality is with two small kids, I’ve had to either change my plan of attack or eat out of a can.  So while I’ve used my crock pot over the years, it has been working overtime the last few months.  I sometimes make things even easier by prepping the food the night before, after the kids are asleep, so in the morning, I can just put it in the crock pot and turn it on!

My family likes flavorful food using flavors from around the world and sometimes the world of crock pots… well, can be bland.  Since we have eaten our fair share of bland food, I thought I would share some of my favorite crock pot recipes.

Many of these dishes are served over rice, but I’ve started serving them over organic quinoa or buckwheat groats (both complete proteins).  Both are tasty grains that are as easy as rice to make.  Per the suggestion of the ever brilliant Wardeh, I’ve started making a big pot of grains at the beginning of the week and then they are easily incorporated into meals.  That is a huge time saver.  I also chop a few onions when I can and put them in the fridge so I can just measure and add to recipes.

New to the world of grains?  Read Wardeh’s Grain Primer where you can learn a bit about various grains as well as how to cook them.

Also check out nutritiondata.com where you can get the most comprehensive nutritional data I’ve ever seen, complete with charts and graphs (I so love charts and graphs!!) on buckwheat groats, quinoa, and anything else you can ever imagine.

I like to buy meat in bulk and then freeze it so that I can easily make any one of the meals below without having to go to the store.  I simply put the meat in the fridge a day or so before to thaw and then in the crock pot to cook!  Very, very easy.

I buy the following items from CostCo and stock my freezer:

  • Shortribs
  • Frozen or fresh chicken thighs and breasts
  • Chuck roast
  • Ground organic beef
  • Whole organic chickens

I also buy organic peeled baby carrots, broccoli, and organic mixed greens or romaine lettuce from CostCo.  We snack on the veggies throughout the week and then I steam them for a quick dinner side dish.  Also, you can take extra broccoli (it is like a 5 lb bag), and freeze it as-is in a ziplock.  I’m all for tricks that enable me to go longer between grocery shopping trips.

With those few basics, you can make so much very easily.

Here are my favorites…

From Cooking Light

From Mable Hoffman’s Complete Crockery CookeryMany of these recipes, I couldn’t find on the internet, so support Mable and buy her book(And you can support this site by clicking through that link to buy her book.)

  • Beef Burritos – Buy some tortillas, sour cream, and a block of cheese from CostCo and you have dinner!

  • Spaghetti Meat Sauce – I’m making a double batch of this tomorrow and then plan on freezing it in dinner-size portions.  Will be the perfect fix for those evenings when I just don’t want to cook.

  • Shortcut Chuck Roast with Mushroom Sauce

  • Glazed Corned Beef – One of my favorite things… I make thousand island dressing, my husband makes the best sauerkraut… swiss cheese… toasted rye bread… YUM!

  • Corned Beef

  • Spicy Brisket Over Noodles

  • Teriyaki Steak

  • German Short Ribs

  • Indonesian Pork

  • Plum Glazed Chicken

  • Cranberry-Orange Turkey Roll – Instead of a turkey roll, I used chicken thighs which I cooked in the crock pot for 4 hours

  • Baked Beans with Canadian Bacon

  • Spicy Pintos on Tortillas – This makes so much that we have enough for lunchtime bean and cheese burritos and quesadillas for days.

  • Lentil Casserole – I made it in a saucepan in 20 minutes.  I love the earthy taste of lentils.

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