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 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've been warned...