|Please note that the photos above are all property of their respective owners, and are correctly linked on my Pinterest page!:)|
Some of my friends and I were discussing the virtues of our crock pots this morning at church. I have to apologize to my mother: she tried to convince me that it was the most marvelous piece of kitchen equipment and I ignored her excellent advice for the first 7 years of my marriage. I have now seen the error of my ways!
I approach crock pots recipes a little differently than normal ones. A huge reason I use my crock pot is to save time. If I have to cook a lot of things, or the recipe has more than a few steps, I just skip it. I do have a couple of recipes that I like that I have to cook one extra component (rice, ground beef) but for the most part I want my crock pot to *cook* not just heat!:)
I also categorize those recipes differently on Pinterest. I have a board dedicated entirely to crock pot recipes, because usually rather than wanting a specific meal, I want to use my crock pot! So, I thought if you felt the same way, maybe you would appreciate it if I shared some of my best loved recipes with you. You can find all my crock pot pins on my "Crockpot Goodness" Pinterest board!
1. CrockPot Chicken Tortilla Soup This is my favorite tortilla soup recipe. It is soooo easy! I love that it calls for all "pantry" ingredients-that is a recipe that doesn't call for fresh ingredients, only frozen or shelf stable. I usually have all the ingredients on hand, so it is quick and easy to throw together. I have discovered that if I put my substitutions/recommendations in the comments of my pins, it makes them easier to keep track of, and then if I have a friend I want to send the recipe to, all the changes are attached! You can see my subs for this recipe on my pin. This recipes makes a ton, it would easily serve 8, so I always freeze half of it, and then heat it on the stove top. Two meals from one crock pot recipe? Yes, please!
2. Crockpot Baked Potatoes This is one of those that you probably think: isn't that easier to just do in the microwave or oven? Well, it is probably the same amount of work any of the three ways, but the skin is just delicious this way, and it is handy for me because I buy *gigantic* Costco potatoes, and they fit better in my crock pot than in the microwave! It is also nice to get started on this part of dinner earlier in the day. We usually have entree potatoes by adding ham and cheese, or chili on top. It also gives me a lot more flexibility about when dinner is ready!
3. Crock Pot Beef Stew This link leads to 8 crock pot meals that you can prep and put in your freezer. I am just not that organized so the ones I have made I just prepared the day of and put everything straight in the crock pot. (I have also made the taco soup and it is yummy, my notes about that are on the pin, too.) This beef stew is just amazing! It was so tender, definitely better than my attempts on stove top and so much less time consuming. Please notice that I recommend to wait until the end to add the peas, or they will be mushy and also unappealing in color.:)
4. Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice I learned the trick about adding the peas at the end of a crock pot recipe by reading the comments on this recipe. (I add peas to this to give it a little more nutritional value, about 1 and 1/2 cups cooked frozen peas.) It is a really tasty spin on chicken and rice, and I skip the part where she says cook the corn at the end and add it, and just put frozen corn in at the beginning when I put the chicken in. You do need to cook the rice separately, and I am never on point enough to do it the day before like she suggests, but for some reason it is just easier for me to think about dinner before lunch, so I just make the rice then. Another reason I love my crock pot!
5. Honey Sauced Chicken I make a lot of chicken dishes, and so that is probably why 3 out of 5 of these recipes are for chicken. This honey sauced chicken is really easy, however, if you have more than 2 adults and two small children, you will want to double this recipe. For some reason, I use about a pound (the recipes calls for 3/4 lb.) and it still doesn't seem like quite enough. But that could also be because Joel loves it! I serve it with rice and stir fry veggies.
I have tried several other recipes on my board, too, but I don't want to spoil all the fun! If you are looking for some inspiration, take a look around. May your crock pot be as useful to you as mine is to me!