Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Marinara

Place 8-9 boneless, skinless chicken breast into the crock pot

In blender, blend marinara sauce:

2 14oz cans of drained, cut tomatoes
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp minced garlic or 3-4 garlic cloves
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp basil
1/2 TBSP honey

Pour sauce over the chicken and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

30-45 minutes prior to dinner, remove the chicken breasts leaving the marinara sauce in the pot. Put setting onto HIGH and add 3 cups or 16oz of dry pasta. (Stir every 10 minutes until the pasta is soft.)

Put chicken onto a shallow baking pan and top with parmesan cheese or mozarella cheese or both. Broil for a few minutes to melt and brown the cheese. Serve with the pasta.

*A kid pleaser, except for my 8 year old that doesn't believe that macaroni pasta tastes the same as spaghetti noodles...they're just different shapes. OH MY HECK, anyway!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Asian Sesame Chicken

Place 6-7 boneless skinless chicken breasts into the crock pot

Mix together 1 recipe of Asian Sesame Salad Dressing and pour over the chicken:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp garlic or 1-2 minced cloves
1 TBSP sugar or 1/2 TBSP of honey
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

We scoop out the chicken to cool and serve on top of green salad along with:

toasted slivered almonds
toasted sesame seeds
mandarin oranges or pineapple
Asian Sesame Salad Dressing (recipe is above for this)

My boys ate the chicken with rice and used the sauce in the crock pot to pour over the chicken and rice.

*OK, wow...this was GOOD. And the Asian Sesame Dressing we will be using for salads often. Yum. (It was a tiny bit salty, so I'll just use low sodium soy sauce next time.) I must have really loved this one because I dreamed about it last night. Ha! I loved how this meal pleased those of us that wanted salad AND the younger ones that wanted chicken and rice without salad.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baked Potatoes

So, you don't really need a recipe for this...but it's so cool!

Scrub enough potatoes to fill your crock pot.

Poke holes in them and wrap them in foil.
(the foil may not be necessary, experiment)

Cook on LOW all day or HIGH all afternoon.

Serve however you like them...

Taco toppings, Fajita toppings...or go with the reliable cheese, sour cream and bacon bits.

*So many potatoes and slow cooking them made them taste so yummy. I think I figured out why restaurant baked potatoes taste so good, I think they slow cook them like this! This pleased EVERYONE in my family.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indonesian Chicken

In the bottom of the crock pot:

2/3 cup peanut butter

Turn the pot on HIGH to start to melt/soften the peanut butter


4 TBSP soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TBSP lime juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for some kick)

Stir together then add about six or seven 5oz chicken breast pieces and stir the sauce with the chicken. Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours (stir again after the first hour) or LOW for 6-8 hours.

Serve over rice. Garnish with lime wedges and/or toasted sesame seeds.

*We liked this one, a very different flavor. Similar to the Indonesian Chicken Spaghetti recipe that we've made. Everyone liked it, so we'll be repeating it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

Cook 16oz or 4 cups of dry macaroni noodles
Drain and stir in approx 1 TBSP olive/veg oil

Add to the noodles and stir together:

optional: diced ham or sliced hot dogs
4 cups shredded cheese
1 tsp salt
1 12oz can evaporated milk and 2 cups regular milk


2 12oz cans of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup regular milk

Melt 1/2 cup of butter and pour into the bottom of the crock pot
Add the noodle mixture over the top and stir

Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours, Stir every hour and at the end every half hour, If you have a warm setting, switch to warm when it's cooked until you serve it.

*This is very similar to my mac and cheese recipe that we cook in the microwave, but the crock pot cooked taste was so much better. I don't use the butter in my recipe and may experiment with this by making it without the butter. Not sure that the added fat is necessary. This isn't your typical crock pot recipe where you can just add it and leave it, but I liked making it this way better than how I usually make it...It seemed to take less of MY time. And by the way...I don't think I have to say it, but it was a MEGA hit with the kids. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Meat Sauce:

Brown 1 lb of hamburger or Italian sausage on the stove
Add to the meat: Two 26.5oz cans of Spaghetti Sauce or make your own

In a separate mixing bowl combine cheeses:

1 15oz container of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
(I used ricotta)
1 egg
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried parsley

Put 1/4 of the meat sauce into the bottom of the crock pot (3 ladles)
Top with 5 uncooked lasagna noodles, break into pieces as needed
Cover noodles with 1/2 of the cheese mixture
Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
Put 1/4 of the meat sauce over the layers
Repeat the noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella and meat mixture

Top with one more layer of 5 noodles and cover the top with the last of the meat mixture. I used oven ready noodles, but I think it would work with regular lasagna noodles too. It took one 12oz package. Each layer of meat sauce is 1/4 of the total. I used a soup ladle...3 ladles was 1/4. You'll have to experiment with your own measurements at home...or just eyeball it.

Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, mine was done in 4 hours. A crock pot liner would be great for this, but isn't necessary.

15 minutes before serving, top with mozzarella cheese, let it melt and serve.

*Home-cooked lasagna without turning on the oven?! I can't tell you how happy this makes me! We LOVED this. I'm sure you can use any favorite lasagna recipe and this will work in the crock pot. Easy, easy, easy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Candy Chicken

Place in crock pot in the following order:

10-12 5oz chicken portions (I used boneless, skinless and frozen)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
5 cloves garlic
4 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup lemon/lime soda

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 (I recommend LOW)

Serve chicken over steamed rice and ladle the sauce over the top.

*This was YUMMY chicken, the whole family loved it. The sauce is runny, but good. If you don't want rice you could have this chicken with potatoes or even sesame noodles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ham and Beans

Boil 4 cups of white beans for 5 minutes on the stove. Drain and Rinse.

Put beans into the crock pot with 6-8 cups of water...leaving about 1-2 inches to the top of the pot. Add shredded carrots and diced celery if you like. Cook all day on LOW about 7-8 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours, until your beans are soft. About halfway through your cooking time:

Add your ham bone from a spiral ham or whatever you have. There should be some meat on it still. Finish cooking. Just before serving, remove the bone, pick off the meat and put the meat back in with the beans.

Add salt and/or onion powder to taste and serve.

*It can't get any more simple than this one. My favorite thing to do with a leftover bone after we have ham. Perfect with cheddar biscuits.

Meatballs and Easy Gravy

Using about 1-2 lbs of hamburger, make your favorite meatball recipe OR use mine:

Mix 2lbs of hamburger with 2-4 slices of bread, broken into small pieces
Milk to moisten
2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 tsp onion powder or 3 TBSP fresh minced onion

Shape into golf ball sized meatballs and brown in a skillet, no need to cook all the way. I suppose you could use frozen meatballs from the store...that would be easy!

Place meatballs into the crock pot and mix the following in a separate bowl, then pour over the meatballs:

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup ketchup
4 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours or until your meatballs are fully cooked.

About 30 minutes before eating, add 1 cup milk to the gravy.

*This is soooo good served over mashed potatoes or rice. It would even be good over cooked grean beans, but my kids won't really go for that, so we have the green beans on the side.

Wild Rice Soup

Add to the crock pot:

2-3 chicken frozen, boneless skinless chicken breasts OR leftover turkey
2 small boxes of COOKED wild rice (herb and butter flavor)
2 cans chicken broth or 3-4 cups water
2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
1 tsp onion powder
2 cups mashed potatoes
Bacon bits (optional)

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours or until your chicken is cooked. Shred or dice the chicken and return it to the soup.

Add 4 cups of milk about 30 minutes prior to serving.

*A family favorite. We have this soup made with our Thanksgiving leftovers every year. If you make it with chicken, you can enjoy it the rest of the year! I suppose you could make this with canned chicken or turkey, but I wouldn't...ha!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stacked Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Brown 1 lb of ground beef with 1 taco seasoning packet
Mix in 2 14oz cans of refried beans (3-4 cups)

In separate bowl, make Enchilada Sauce:

1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 enchilada sauce packets
2 cups water

Layer in the crock pot:

Corn Tortillas (3-4)
Meat/Bean Mixture
Shredded cheese

Repeat until you run out of ingredients...I think I had about 5 layers.

Make sure the TOP layer is tortillas, sauce, cheese

Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours

Scoop out and serve with sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce?

*This will look like a mess, I even hesitated to put it on here, BUT...my boys totally loved it! They happily scooped it up with tortilla chips and said, "You HAVE to make this again." So, I probably will.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vegetable Garden Soup

Add to the crock pot:

2 15oz cans red kidney beans, undrained
2 14oz cans cut tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 carrots, sliced or shredded (my kids prefer shredded)
2-4 small potatoes, diced (I leave the skin on)
2 small zucchini, diced
2 small yellow squash, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced - no seeds (optional)
1/2 cup dry lentils (optional)
4 TBSP parsley
10 shakes of paprika
4 shakes cayenne pepper (red pepper)
4-6 TBSP Au Jus Gravy powder or 2-3 1oz packets

Pour over the top: 4 cups boiling water
Cover and cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours, or until your veggies are tender.

During the last hour, add:

1 cup frozen peas and/or 1 cup frozen corn
(We prefer the frozen corn)

*My pickiest eaters will not touch this with a ten foot pole. However, I HAD to include it. It's one of my most favorite vegetable soups on earth, and sooooo easy to do in the crock pot. All your chopping and dicing is done and cleaned up well before dinner time, you know I LOVE that! This soup just speaks "summer garden" and makes me feel so healthy...haha! Just make sure you cook it long enough to get all of your veggies tender. It's a FULL pot. You could cut the recipe in half and still have tons of soup.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Creamy Italian Chicken Spaghetti

Cover and cook in the crock pot:

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 14oz can of chicken broth + 2 Italian dressing packets -OR- 1 cup Italian dressing

HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-7 hours

About 30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken, dice it and return it to the sauce. Add:

8 oz cream cheese

Cook on LOW for another 30 minutes, stir a few times to incorporate the cream cheese into the sauce.

Separately cook 16-22oz dry spaghetti. Drain and add to the sauce in the crock pot. Stir together and serve right away. If you don't like to pre-mix the pasta and the sauce, serve separately. With my clan, it's easier to mix all together before we eat.

*This can be spaghetti, or you can be really fancy by changing your pasta shape...ha! I don't have to tell you that this is a crowd pleaser, especially a crowd of kids. They LOVED it here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Berry Cobbler

Dump into the crock pot and stir together:

2/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
6 cups mixed berries, frozen or fresh
(I did fresh blackberries and frozen strawberries)

Cover and Cook on LOW 4 hours or until bubbly.

Separate bowl, mix for topping:

2 cups flour
4 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cut in 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) - it will be crumbly

Stir in, just until moistened:

1/2 cup milk (I was out and used canned milk)
2 beaten eggs

Drop TBSP size mounds on top of the hot fruit mixture - single layer, evenly spaced. Cover and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes. It will not brown, but will be cooked.

Scoop out and serve with ice cream if you like.

*Hold onto your hat...this one rocks!!! Cobbler in the summer without turning on the oven, we're in heaven! YUM. We even kept it on the warm setting and enjoyed it later in the evening. The biscuit topping in this recipe isn't super sweet, I prefer it that way. It would be good even WITHOUT the ice cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beef Brisket

Marinate a 4-6 lb beef brisket, trimmed if you like for 12-24 hours in the fridge. (I just put mine in the marinade the night before.)


1 can beef broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP liquid smoke

The next morning, place the beef brisket into the crock pot with about half of the marinade liquid. (Discard the rest of the marinade.) Cook on LOW at least 8 hours, ALL DAY. Cooking on LOW is the key. Shred with forks, it should just fall apart. Drain the liquid if you like, I left mine in to keep the meat from drying out and just used a fork to serve it without the liquid.

Serve with steamed rice, potatoes or our favorite: Sesame Noodles from Tasty Kitchen.

*Ok, so this one will take a bit of planning ahead, but oh my heck...sooooo good!!! We loved this. It's summer time, so I loved that it didn't heat the house up. The sesame noodles were perfect with it. Leftovers, yay! It was a big hit, a definite repeat recipe.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Dumplings

Add to the crock pot:

4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cans of chicken broth (about 8 cups)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
3 peeled and diced potatoes
1-2 cups frozen, fresh or canned veggies
diced onion or onion powder

Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours, dice the chicken and then return it to the soup.

In separate bowl for the dumplings:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1/2 tsp favorite herb (thyme, sage, etc...optional)

Combine and then slowly add 1/2 cup COLD water, mixing gently
Drop small balls of dough, approx 1/2 TBSP into the soup.

Cook another 1-2 hours on HIGH.

*This was completely GONE tonight...I think everyone was hungry and it was a big hit. My 9 year old said it was better than macaroni and cheese and he could eat it every two weeks. I'd say that makes it a hit. This could easily be modified to suit your tastes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Easy Shredded Pork

Add to crock pot:

One LARGE pork roast or shoulder with or without bone. I honestly don't know how big mine was, but it filled my 6 quart pot.

Cook on LOW for 12+ hours. Start the night before or early in the morning. Slow cooking is important to get the meat really tender.

When it's done cooking, drain the liquid. Shred the meat with a fork and then add:

Approx 1/2 cup of soy sauce
3-6 TBSP liquid smoke...to desired taste.

Stir liquids into the meat.

Serve over steamed rice with your favorite Asian sauce. We used Mandarin Sauce by Panda Express. (No MSG)

My good friend, Teri, made this for us last week...we had to make it! It was a hit. Everyone went back for more, including my 9 year old. It was EASY...and tasted great with a green salad.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ultimate Chicken Burritos

In the crock pot:

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 14oz can undrained diced tomatos
1 4oz can undrained diced green chiles
1 14oz can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp sugar

Cook on HIGH 5 hours or LOW 7 hours. Before serving, shred the chicken...dish up with a slotted spoon, unless you like runny burritos. The sauce could be poured over the burrito after you assemble it.

Just before it's time to eat, Cook a batch of Cilantro Lime Rice (a la Cafe Rio) I tripled this recipe for my family. Since I cooked it in the rice cooker...I omitted the water and used all chicken broth for the liquid: (3 cups raw rice and 3 1/2 cups chicken broth - or 2 15oz cans)

In warm tortilla, layer the rice, shredded chicken from the crock pot and any toppings you like. We added shredded lettuce, avocado, grated cheese and sour cream.

WOW...if you love a chicken burrito at Cafe Rio...you will be in heaven with this. Oh my heck...we LOVED THEM!!! I can't wait to make them again. I'm sure that the leftovers won't last long.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pineapple Chicken

Add to the crock pot:

5-6 boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts
2 20oz cans of pineapple chunks and juice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes if you like some kick (YES!)

Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours. 1 hour before it's done cooking, remove the chicken to dice into pieces and then return the pieces to the sauce.

Combine in shaker bottle:

1/4 cup water
5 Tbsp cornstarch

Add to the sauce in the crock pot to thicken the sauce during the last hour of cooking, be sure to stir it in.

Serve over rice, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if you like.

Oh yum...we loved this one. A definite repeat recipe. It made a large batch of sauce, you'll want to cook at least 3 cups of raw rice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken

Into the crock pot:

7-8 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In mixing bowl:

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp ground ginger

Mix well and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or High 4-5 hours. An hour before eating, remove chicken to dice it and then add it back to the crock pot.

In shaker: 4 1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 5 tsp cold water

Shake it up and add to the sauce and chicken, stir well. Cook one more hour and serve over rice.

*This is not a thick teriyaki sauce, but it tasted fantastic. Perhaps it would thicken up with more cornstarch, but it's not really a concern for us...because we loved this. My 13 year old rated it a 10 and my 9 year old gobbled it up. A definite hit. We will be having this again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

White Chili

In large pot on the stove:
Boil 4-5 cups dry great northern beans (white) for 5 minutes

Drain, rinse and put into the crockpot with:

8-10 cups chicken broth

Cover, cook on LOW for at least 6 hours, then add:

2 cups shredded/diced chicken
1-2 7oz cans chopped green chilies (I used one)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes - if you like some kick to it

Cook on LOW 1-2 more hours, switch to HIGH if beans are not soft yet. When it's done, switch to warm or turn the pot off and add 1 pint cream (abt 2 cups) just before serving. It's great as is, or you can top it with shredded monterey jack and/or a dollop of sour cream.

If you don't want to cook your beans - use 8 cans, drained and rinsed...your cooking time will be shorter.

*I have been looking for a GREAT white chili recipe and the search is over. This is FABULOUS! It makes a HUGE amount, and is very filling. I'm excited to have leftovers available for lunches over the weekend to feed my hungry clan.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheesy Pasta and Meatballs

Ready for something SIMPLE?

Dump into the crockpot:

3 cups spaghetti sauce (1 can HUNTS)
16 oz DRY pasta, your choice (I used Rotini spirals)
1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese (I had a few slices of Provolone that I used up too)
1 - 2 dozen 1oz meatballs (You can make these yourself, or do what I did, grab them from the bag of frozen meatballs from Sam's Club. Just be sure to precook/brown if you do homemade)

Last ingredient: 3 cups water

Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, LOW for 5? Just check it and stir near the end.

If you want: Serve with shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the top of the plate.

*Easy, a crowd pleaser, great with garlic bread. My non-meat eater could easily pick out the meatballs. You could cook this with approximately 1 lb browned hamburger if you don't want to make meatballs. WE LOVED IT!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ginger Oriental Rice

In VitaMix Blender:

1 cup soy sauce
1-2 large peeled carrots (I used one - this Blender method keeps the kids from complaining about the veggies - sneaky!)

OR...chop your carrot OR use frozen veggies (about 1-2 cups)

Dump into the crockpot and add:

8 cups cooked rice (4 cups raw)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground ginger
1 melted stick of butter or 1/2 cup oil
1-2 cups shredded or chopped chicken (I had leftovers from Sunday dinner)
1 cup diced ham or diced, cooked bacon
1 diced yellow onion - don't make me laugh! hahaha (I didn't add this)

Stir all ingredients, cover and cook on LOW 4-5 hours or HIGH 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to make sure you don't burn it (like once an hour)

Everything is precooked, so you're just warming it all the way through, and drying it out somewhat. It will be kind of a fried rice consistency.

*A childhood favorite for me. My kids LOVED it. I'm sure they will be asking for this one again which makes it a winner in my book. It's a great way to use leftover ham/chicken/turkey, etc. You may wonder why I make this dish in the crockpot when it could be done in the skillet and take less cooking time. Imagine this: I get it all put together and have NO DISHWASHER...so...I can get all of the dishes done, clean up the kitchen and even get some laundry folded BEFORE we actually eat dinner because it's sitting safely in the crockpot...cooking at a slower rate while I get things done. Ah, the amazing crockpot.

African Peanut Soup

Blend well in VitaMix Blender:

1 14oz can cut tomatoes with juice
2 red bell peppers - no seeds
4 cups chicken broth

Pour into the crockpot and then add:

1 yellow onion - chopped (um, onion powder for us!)
2 green onions - chopped (again, not for us)
4 cloves minced garlic
4 more cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 more 14oz can cut tomatoes with juice (this can be blended at the beginning with the other can if your kids will NOT go for a few tomato chunks in the soup)
2 cups diced or shredded chicken, optional (I had leftovers from Sunday dinner)

Cook on LOW 5-6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.

20-30 minutes before dinner, add 1 CUP PEANUT BUTTER (I used creamy)

Once it's incorporated into the soup...it's time to eat. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a small dash of Tobasco Sauce if you like. (We liked it this way.)

*This was REALLY GOOD! I was nervous all day that the flavors would be too strange, (peppers and peanut butter?!) but we liked it! The rice disappeared and just thickened the soup. It would have been perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. With the chicken in it, it was a great little meal. The youngest...no go, he had peanut butter and jelly again. *sigh* He wouldn't even TRY it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hot Fudge Cake

Not to be confused with:
Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cake

In mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Then stir in:

2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the crockpot.

Back in the empty mixing bowl:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup boiling water

Stir until sugar and powder are dissolved and then pour over the mixture in the crockpot. DO NOT STIR!

Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or until a toothpick, inserted into the cake, comes out clean. Like magic, you have cake AND fudge sauce to scoop out and serve warm over vanilla ice cream. It only took 2 hours in my 6 quart pot.

*My kids liked this better than the peanut butter recipe I mentioned at the top of this one, ME? I like the peanut butter one better - but this way, you can decide for YOU! In either case, they hit the spot when your sweet tooth cries out for hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. Also, I think that the next time I make it, I'm going to try to make it with white sugar instead of brown sugar. I'll let you know if it works.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chili - BASIC

On the stove, in a large pan, cover 4 cups of dry, small red beans or pinto beans with water. (I use red)

Boil for 5 minutes. (This breaks the seal and releases the GAS - no beano needed!...at least that's what my Mom told me.)

Drain the beans and rinse in a colander.

Put the beans into your crockpot (6 quart) and fill to 1 1/2" from the top with hot water.

Cook ALL DAY on HIGH until your beans are tender. This can be started the night before on LOW if you don't like to get up early and make beans...my usual method. Just check it the next day to make sure you don't need to add more water, just enough to cover the beans.

Once the beans are tender, at least 2 hours before eating add:

1 lb hamburger. If you're lazy like me, just crumble the raw hamburger into the hot beans and water and stir it in. Your meat will be so tender this way. If that bugs you, brown it on the stove first.

If your family is not as picky as mine, add:

onion, jalapeno, diced bell pepper, diced anaheim pepper, etc. when you add the meat. Obviously, we don't add any of these.

About 1 hour before dinner, after the meat is cooked, add:

1 small can tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
onion powder, cayenne? (how hot do you like it?)
1-2 packages of taco seasoning OR Chili seasoning from Sam's
1 Tbsp salt - taste to see how much you need
1 TBSP of sugar if your taco seasoning doesn't have enough (this cuts the acidity)
2 14oz can cut tomatoes, puree in blender if you need to for picky kids - use tomatoes with chilies if you like some kick. (I've used two 10oz cans and that's been enough.)

We top this with shredded cheese, some of us also top it with diced, fresh tomoatoes and sour cream. We like to make "chili nachos" out of ours by putting tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl. It's also yummy over a baked potato.

*A great way to use my big buckets of beans in my food storage. This is our traditional meal on Halloween night. We enjoy this chili year round. I know, it's as plain as plain gets...but remember, I have picky kids. This one pleases all but the youngest, he can have plain cheese nachos. It's the perfect meal on a cold, snowy or rainy day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Condensed Cream Soup Substitute 2

In a skillet on the stovetop, make a roux:

1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour

Then whisk in the following ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

This is equal to ONE can of condensed cream soup.

*Just like the other condensed soup substitute, I haven't made this because opening a can is so much easier. However, it IS nice to have the ability to sub if I'm out. Of course, it IS the healthier option.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sausage Rice

Brown in skillet: 1 lb sausage

Add it to the crockpot with:

2 apples, diced - no need to peel
1 yellow onion, chopped - yah right, I did onion powder
1 carrot, shredded or chopped
6 cups already cooked long-grain rice (3 cups raw)
1/2 cup raisins or Craisins (I used Craisins)
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes (I was out)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth or water (I used water - I put it in the VitaMix Blender to help chop up my carrot)

Stir everything up, cover and cook on LOW 5-6 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours, it will be the consistency of fried rice.

*I KNOW that these ingredients sound so strange together, but this was absolutely YUMMY! I will tell you that it wasn't a hit with everyone in my family, but they will have to learn to love it. I'm going to be making it again...and again! By the way, can you believe that I was out of parsley? I better get it onto my grocery list.

Monday, February 15, 2010

French Toast Casserole

Generously butter sides and bottom of crockpot - abt 1 Tbsp butter

Add slices of dry bread with cream cheese spread onto the bread, placing the cream cheese side down:

I had made a loaf of bread in my breadmaker and left it in the machine for a few days. I used the whole loaf except for the heels. It's a round pan, 5" wide and 6" tall.

Sprinkle over the bread: 1 1/2 cups blueberries (optional) I didn't have any, bummer!

In mixing bowl, combine:

8 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Pour over the bread/berries in the crockpot. Gently press the bread down into the egg mixture, let it sit for ten minutes, pressing down occasionally into the egg mixture. Sprinkle with a little bit more cinnamon and cover.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours. It will be slightly browned on the edges when it's done.

Scoop out and drizzle with maple syrup, your favorite fruit sauce and/or powdered sugar.

*WOW! My 7 year old (the pickiest of us all) gobbled this one up! I'm pretty excited about that. In Michael's words, "This is GOOD french toast!" I'm thinking that it will make the perfect brunch or breakfast for dinner. It was great for lunch today. YUM!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lemon Chicken - Chinese

Normally, I don't like a recipe where I have to thaw my chicken first, but this one is worth it!

Cut 8-10 raw boneless/skinless chicken breasts into chunks or strips

Dredge in bowl with 1 cup flour and 1 TBSP salt combined

Shake off the excess flour and brown the chicken pieces in a hot skillet with a small amount of Canola or Olive oil. The chicken doesn't need to be cooked all the way, just browned a bit.

Place the browned chicken pieces into the crockpot.

In mixing bowl, stir to combine:

1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp ketchup
--1 cup lemon juice
--3/4 cup white sugar
(the lemon juice and white sugar can be replaced with a 6oz can lemonade concentrate - thawed, this makes me think that OJ concentrate will make orange chicken with this same recipe, I'll let you know if I try it)

Pour the mixture over the chicken pieces. Cover the meat and sauce with a piece of foil if it doesn't fill your crockpot to 2/3 full.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, if you need to speed it up: Cook on LOW for 1 hour and then LOW for 2-3 hours.

Do NOT overcook this. If it burns, it will get bitter. During the last hour, keep an eye on it. This is not a meal that can stay in the crockpot on LOW until it's time to eat. When it's done cooking, if you're not ready to eat, put it on WARM if you have that setting.

Serve sauce and chicken over rice.

*So when we say "chinese food" to our kids, they think of lemon chicken. To them, it is the only chinese food that exists, at least it was the first chinese food they were willing to TRY. I was thrilled to find this recipe and even more thrilled that it worked. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taco Soup

Brown approx 1 lb of hamburger and put into the crockpot, then add:

All undrained, 14oz cans...

2 cans kidney beans
2 cans black beans or pinto beans
2 cans garbanzo beans
2 cans cut tomatoes
1-2 cans corn - I used frozen
1 can chopped olives - we didn't have any
2 packets of taco seasoning (or your favorite homemade taco seasoning)

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-4 hours

Top with shredded cheese and tortilla or corn chips.

*I had this when visiting my friend Nikki in Oregon, I had forgotten how good it was. We had this last night, YUM-O! My favorite part is that I made granola yesterday (2 hours) and it still wasn't too late to start this soup for dinner when I looked at the clock and it was 2:00 in the afternoon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indonesian Chicken Spaghetti

Put into crockpot:

5-6 chicken breasts (about 30 oz) boneless/skinless
2 LARGE carrots or 4 small carrots - peeled and shredded
2 onions chopped (not us, we did onion powder)

In mixing bowl:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (I didn't have any, so I added 1 Tbsp hot chili oil and a few shakes of cayenne pepper)

Stir together well and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on LOW 6-7 hours of High 4-5 hours

Halfway through the cooking time, remove the chicken and dice it, then return it to the sauce in the crockpot.

When the sauce is done, separately cook 16-22oz of spaghetti noodles based on your preference of noodles to sauce. Drain and then pour noodles into the crockpot. Stir to cover the noodles with the sauce and turn off the crockpot. Serve right away.

If desired sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro.

*A great twist on spaghetti. I wasn't sure about this one, it didn't look very appetizing after it was done cooking, but it really was good! I don't know if you're supposed to top Indonesian food with cilantro, but I had some on hand and I liked how it tasted.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Mix all the dry ingredients into a LARGE crockpot:

10 cups oats
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
1-2 TBSP of wheat germ, rolled wheat or flax seeds (optional - I didn't)

1/2 to 1 cup each of your favorite granola ingredients to equal abt 3 cups:

--unsweetened coconut
--nuts (slivered almonds, chopped peanuts, cashews or pecans, etc.)
--seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, etc.)
--dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apples, etc.)

In microwave bowl:

2 tsp vanilla
1 cup olive oil OR melted butter
1 cup pure maple syrup OR honey

Warm in the microwave, stir well, then pour over the dry mixture in the crockpot. Stir together, all of the dry ingredients should be wet. Prop a wooden spoon or chopstick in between the lid and the crockpot to create a vent OR just cook this with the lid off.

Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Stir every 30 minutes, perhaps more often during the last hour to keep it from burning and getting bitter. When it's done, you can cool it out on parchment paper or you can be lazy like me and lift the ceramic pot out of the cooker and cool it in that, stirring a few more times while cooling. When cool, store in airtight containers or ziploc bags. Serve as cereal or on your favorite yogurt...or plain! Granola freezes well.

*So cool to get a large batch of granola without much effort! You will obviously want to make this when you will be home for three hours and can stir occasionally. My guess is that it's not as crunchy or clumpy as cooking in the oven, but we're OK with that in my house. It's yummy. For lots of tips, you can click here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Curry Soup

Place in crockpot:

4-5 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless/frozen (abt 25oz)
8 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, diced (onion powder for my family!)
2 granny smith tart apples, peeled and chopped
4 medium potatos, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp lime juice
1 cup uncooked rice

Peel 2 large carrots and chop in VitaMix Blender with 2 more cups of chicken broth, then add to the crockpot.

Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-7 hours

Remove chicken breasts, dice into bite size pieces and then return them to the crockpot. Just before serving add:

1 cup cream, fresh chopped cilantro, serve with lime wedge if you're feelin' fancy.

*I know I said I would only post the ones that the family liked, HALF of us liked this one. Most importantly...I liked this one! I am going to play around with some of the ingredients. I wasn't so sure about the potatoes. If I make any changes, I'll fix it. I think you have to like curry to like this one. If you don't like curry...skip it. (I like curry!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken - Cantonese Style

Put into the crockpot:

2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless/skinless - I used frozen of course (about 6)
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced (I didn't have this, so just did the 1 green pepper)
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced - oh hahahaha, not in my family - I left this out
1 20oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits - save the juice in mixing bowl

In mixing bowl, combine:

the saved pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt - 1tsp if you use low sodium soy sauce

Pour sauce over the chicken, veggies and pineapple

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 5-6 hours

Before serving, remove chicken breasts and cut into bite size pieces, return them to the sauce and veggies in the crockpot. Serve over cooked rice. (we made 8 cups, 4 cups raw)

*For a thicker sauce, mix 1/4 cup water and 3 TBSP cornstarch and add to the sauce about 30 minutes before serving.*

Optional garnishes: slivered almonds, green onion, chowmein noodles

*I know that this recipe calls for 2 bell peppers, but one was plenty for my picky eaters. I did sprinkle some onion powder over the chicken since I didn't add the onion. Also, the recipe called for 1/4 cup water, but it was too watered down, so I left it out of the recipe. I might add a bit of lemon juice next time. Overall...this was yummy, and we gobbled it up. I didn't have any garnishes, maybe next time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mock Pot Pie

For Pot Pie filling, add to the crockpot:

3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless - yes, I usually use frozen
OR...you CAN use 1-2 cups precooked chicken

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
1 14oz can chicken broth (2 cups)
4 potatoes, peeled and diced into approx 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced (or chopped fine in VitaMix Blender for picky eaters)
1-2 cups frozen vegetables: corn, peas...if you use frozen carrots, skip the fresh carrots

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours - until veggies/potatoes are soft.

During the last 30-60 minutes, add 3TBSP of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water to the crock pot to thicken the sauce.

Serve the hot filling over biscuits.

*Since I can make biscuits way faster than pie crusts...this is a much more appealing way to have chicken pot pie! You CAN make this with leftover diced/shredded TURKEY or a few cans of drained TUNA if you don't have chicken on hand.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Roast Beef and Gravy

2-4 lbs roast beef chunks for stew
2 cans cream of mushroom soup on top
1/4 cup water
1 packet Au Jus Gravy Mix

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 5-6 hours - just watch your meat, don't burn it...don't undercook it. The meat will be VERY tender.

Serve beef chunks and gravy over mashed potatoes.

*I know that most people would just make a stew with this meat, but then my kids wouldn't eat it. Sad, but true. When I do the carrots on the side and do MASHED potatoes separately, it gets gobbled up. Watch the meat dept at your grocery store for the packs of roast beef chunks for stew, so much easier than cutting the meat up yourself. Always a hit for Sunday dinner...and easy too. You know that's how I like it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tamale Pie

In skillet brown 1 lb hamburger and then add:

chili seasonings of choice OR 4 TBSP of pre-mixed chili seasonings
(I get this from Sam's Club)
1 14 oz can cut/diced tomatoes (with green chilies if you like)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 cups frozen corn
1 onion, chopped - (NO WAY was this going in it at my house, add it if you like)
1 drained can black beans (optional)

Let meat mixture simmer. In separate mixing bowl, stir together:

4 TBSP oil
2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs - beaten
3 cups milk

Put meat mixture into the crockpot. Top with 1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese and then pour the cornmeal mixture on top.

Cook on HIGH 1 hour and then LOW for 4-5 hours. OR Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Just before serving, top with cheese if you want, let it melt and then serve.

*The directions said to put half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom and the other half on top, but it burned on the bottom. The next time I make this, the cornmeal mix will go just on top. The top layer didn't burn and became a yummy cornbread type of topping. FYI, update: Place all the meat mixture on the bottom and all the cornmeal mixture on TOP...it works much better this way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Easy Yams

Peel and dice several yams or sweet potatoes (both work) to fill the crockpot to about 3/4 full.

Add 1-2 cans of pineapple chunks WITH the juice (I suppose peaches might work too)
Top with brown sugar and butter (whatever amount you're comfortable with)

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 5-6 hours. The yams will be soft when it's done.

*I love that this gives me a way to get the yams done for Thanksgiving without occupying the oven. We DO enjoy yams and sweet potatoes all year now, this is a great way to complete any meal. We've had this with just about every kind of meat for dinner.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Easy BBQ Chicken

Add to crockpot:

5-6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless - and yes, I use frozen
1/4 cup water

Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 5-6 hours, until chicken is cooked

After the chicken is cooked, shred the chicken with forks and add:

Bottled BBQ Sauce or your favorite homemade BBQ Sauce. It will take a couple of cups to get the desired amount of BBQ Sauce on the chicken. Let sit in crockpot on LOW for another 15-30 minutes to heat up the Sauce. Serve.

*We eat this over cheesy mashed potatoes or on hamburger buns with a slice of cheese. Easy and yummy...just the way I like it!

Potato Chowder

Fill the crockpot 3/4 full of peeled, diced potatoes. Add water, just enough to cover all the potatoes - leaving at least an inch to the top of the crockpot.

Sprinkle with salt.

Cook all day on LOW or all afternoon on HIGH.

About 1 hour before dinner:

Add 1-2 14oz cans evaporated milk (I usually use 2 cans)
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
onion powder
parsley (optional)
Meat of your choosing: diced ham, bacon bits, ground sausage

(I don't even bother to cook the sausage ahead of time sometimes, I just crumble it in to the hot potatoes and stir. The sausage cooks quickly.)

Cook one more hour and serve (taste to see if you need more salt)

*A very inexpensive dinner, we have it often. Usually with homemade bread or cornbread. We call this chowder, not soup, at our house because my husband likes it thick with LOTS of potatoes. You could make it more like a soup with less potatoes and more broth if you like that better.

Beef Enchiladas - Stacked

Brown in skillet:

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onions (I did NOT add these, I used onion powder)
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped - no seeds (optional, I think next time I'll blend them and add them to the meat mixture that way - for the kids)

When peppers are soft, add:

1 14oz can drained kidney beans
2 14oz cans drained black beans
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
2/3 cup water
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

In slow cooker:

Layer the meat mixture with 6-8 flour tortillas and about 2 cups of cheese. Layers:

1 cup meat, 1 tortilla, abt 1/3 cup shredded cheese, 1 cup meat, 1 tortilla, abt 1/3 cup shredded cheese...and so on. Top layer should be last of the meat, sprinkled with cheese.

Cook on LOW 5-7 hours, or until heated through. To serve, reach to the bottom with each spoonful to get all the layers. Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole.

*Holy moly this was good! It was spicy, so if you don't like that - cut down on the chili powder and use regular cut tomatoes. It seemed like a lot of work when I looked at the recipe, but it wasn't too bad. Getting all the work done at lunchtime made dinner a snap.

Condensed Cream Soup Substitute

Some people don't like to cook with canned condensed soups. Here's an alternative equal to two 10oz cans:

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt or more to taste
2 cups milk (less for a thicker soup)
12 fresh mushrooms, chopped - for mushroom soup

Heat butter and oil in skillet, then add flour and salt - stirring to make a roux. If doing mushroom, add them and cook about a minute, just to soften, add milk and stir until thickened.

To make this cream of chicken: omit the mushrooms, add 1 tsp chicken base or bouillon and substitute half the milk with chicken broth.

*I will be honest, I've never gone to the trouble of making this myself. It's too easy to use the cans of soup from the store, but I thought it would be good to post this for future reference or for somebody that might need it due to an allergy to MSG. It's certainly a more healthy alternative.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Add to crockpot:

4-5 chicken breasts (I use boneless, skinless and usually still frozen)
2 14oz cans green enchilada sauce or 1 large can
1-2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Cook on LOW 6-7 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours then:

Shred chicken with forks and Add torn corn tortillas until the consistency is like a casserole. (At least 2 dozen, maybe 3 dozen)

Let it cook for about 1 more hour on LOW. Add sour cream if it's too thick.
Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce if you like.

*Everybody likes this one served with taco chips and salsa too. Remember, you can fancy this up if you want to, but WE are NOT fancy here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

In mixing bowl combine:

8 bread slices, torn into pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
diced ham or cooked and crumbled bacon

Put into buttered crockpot.

Again, in mixing bowl:

6 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard

Stir, then pour over bread mixture in the crockpot. DO NOT STIR
Sprinkle some cheese over the top then cook on LOW 4 hours OR
Cook on HIGH 1-2 hours then low for 1 hour.

*This was yummy. I cooked it on LOW for 4 hours and the sides burned a little. (I think I forgot to butter the crockpot.) A liner would have been a good idea. It made a great "breakfast for dinner" and the leftovers were perfect for breakfast the next day.

Hot Applesauce

Add to the crockpot:

8 apples, peeled and sliced
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup water

Cook on LOW 4-6 hours, then mash or blend in VitaMix blender.

*My pickiest eater (the 7 yr old) ate this one. I blended it so it wasn't too chunky for him. A definite hit and the perfect afternoon snack on a cold winter day.

Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cake

Combine in a mixing bowl:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix until smooth and then stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter.

Add mixture to crockpot.

In empty mixing bowl (I used the same one without cleaning it out):

1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

Add 1 cup boiling water to the sugar and cocoa powder, stir until dissolved. Pour over first mixture in the crockpot. DO NOT STIR

Cook on HIGH 2-3 hours or until toothpick comes out clean.

*I doubled this one the first time...too much! I have two kids that don't prefer chocolate. We served this HOT over vanilla ice cream. Sooooo good!

Dutch Oven Potatoes

Fill crockpot to 3/4 full with peeled potatoes, diced into bite size pieces


2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 lb of hamburger, browned
salt, pepper, onion powder to taste
1/4 cup water
bacon or bacon bits (optional)
frozen corn or carrots (optional)

Stir all ingredients and cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.

*This is excellent with a side of green beans. Some people might choose to add the green beans into the crockpot at the beginning, but I have a few that are too picky for that.

Corn Chowder

In VitaMix Blender:

1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 red bell pepper, no seeds
1 peeled carrot
1 16oz bag frozen corn
2-3 med potatoes, peeled if you like

If you don't have a VitaMix blender, just chop your veggies by hand.
When chopped, pour mixture into the crockpot and add:

1 more quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 more 16oz bag frozen corn
1 TBSP Sugar or honey
salt, pepper, onion powder to taste
1-2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional - I DID add this, I had leftover chicken from Sunday dinner)

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, then add 1 15oz can evaporated milk and cook 1 more hour.

*Sweet, salty, yummy corn. We had this with cheddar cheese biscuits. It was a hit.

Easy Spaghetti


Dump into the crockpot and mix:

5-6 cups spaghetti sauce (I used 2 cans of Hunts Spaghetti Sauce)
6 cups water
2 6oz cans tomato paste
1 lb hamburger (mine was still frozen, so I put it in frozen and pulled it apart with a fork when it was defrosted)

Cook on LOW 6-9 hours or HIGH 2-3 hours

About 30 minutes before dinner, add 1 lb of dry spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds. Stir the noodles when they look done and let sit for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

*My boys said this is better than the "old" way you make it. We had it with some toasted garlic bread. YUM.

Apple Oatmeal

Peel and slice 4 large granny smith apples.

Mix the apples with:

2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar

Generously butter the bottom and sides of your crockpot or use a slow cooker liner.

Dump in the apple mixture.

Top apples with:

4 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
dash of salt
8-9 cups of water DO NOT STIR

Cook on LOW overnight (about 7-8 hours)

*This is done after about 5-6 hours, but doesn't seem to overcook when done overnight, as long as you do the batch this big. My 12 year old son cannot get enough of this, he loves it! It makes a great afternoon snack when started in the morning too.

Italian Sausage Soup

Brown in skillet:

2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 to 1 lb of sausage (I used Jimmy Dean's regular sausage roll)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (I did NOT add onions, I used onion powder instead)

In VitaMix Blender, mix just enough to create small carrot chunks:

2 large peeled carrots
1 14oz can cut tomatoes, undrained
1 14 oz can of chicken broth (2 cups)

Put all in the crockpot and add:

2 stalks celery, chopped (I did NOT add this, I was out)
1 chopped garlic clove
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried sage
4-6 more cups chicken broth
1 14oz can kidney beans, undrained
1 more 14oz can cut tomatoes, undrained

Cook on LOW 5-6 hours. About 30 minutes before dinner, add 1 uncooked cup of elbow macaroni or pasta of your choice.

*This got rave reviews and the leftovers didn't last very long. I started the breadmaker at the same time, a great accompaniment to the soup! Just so you know, the 1 cup of dry pasta is enough, if you do more, it will take over the soup...you've been warned...