True Confession: When Hubs and I got married, I didn’t know how to cook. Toast and grilled cheese were my “specialties.” In fact, I toyed with the idea of adding “I promise to do all the cooking” to Hubs’ wedding vows:) We received a really nice crock pot as a wedding gift. For months, it sat in the unopened box in the hall closet. The first time I used it, I made chili. Actually, I made the chili on the stove and just used the crock pot to keep the soup warm! Slowly, I learned to cook…a roast here, a meatloaf there. Hubs bought me a subscription to Fine Cooking and the techniques laid out on those pages took my budding skills to a new level. I discovered that I loved cooking!
It took a few years and a few babies for me to discover the handiness of the crock pot. The first few recipes I tried were…bleh. Crocks full of mushy, flavorless goo. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but definitely not winners. A friend gave me a crock pot recipe for BBQ chicken that worked beautifully for a family get together. From there, I began searching for more recipes, more ideas. Now, our crock pot gets used once a week, usually on our busiest nights. After a lot of trial and error, these are a few recipes that are “winners” for us…one is a new gem from my Mom. Delicious! Let’s start with that one…I don’t know what the original name is, but we call it:
Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms (or ‘that delicious thing Mimi made’)
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 onions, chopped (we use one large, or 2 small)
- 1 lb thick cut fresh mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 C flour
- 1 C chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish
Place chicken in bottom of crock pot and top with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours, high 4-6 hours. Garnish with basil. We serve this with rice and a nice, big salad. I even put the chicken in frozen! I know, I live on the edge…
Crock Pot Swiss Steak
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4-6 cube steaks
- 1/2 C flour
- 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 carrots, sliced into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Coat the cube steaks with flour and brown in the oil. Remove steaks from skillet and drain. Place the potatoes, carrots and onion in the bottom of the crock pot. Place meat on top of veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour tomatoes and tomato sauce over meat. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. We serve this with egg noodles and a big, green salad, though it would be fine without the noodles. This is a great way to make cube steak (a very affordable cut of beef) flavorful and tender.
Asian Lemon Chicken
- 12-16 boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into strips)
- 1/2 C flour
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- olive oil for browning chicken
Dredge chicken strips in flour and brown in olive oil. You aren’t trying to cook the chicken, just give it a nice outside color and crisp coating. Place chicken in crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, low 6-8 hours. Serve with rice. We have also substituted orange juice concentrate and it is equally delicious. Just cut back to 1 Tbsp of brown sugar. Our kids LOVE this dish:)
and last, but not least, this great little recipe for BBQ chicken. You can make double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd.
Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce (your favorite flavor and brand)
Place chicken in crock pot. Pour BBQ sauce over chicken. Cook on high 4-6 hours, low 7-8 hours. Before serving, take 2 forks and shred the chicken. I mean, can you get any easier?!? Such a great little recipe for a backyard party, family reunion, church picnic…you name it! I love this recipe for summer…warm chicken sandwiches without heating up the kitchen!
So, what are your favorite crock pot recipes? Wanna share any winners??
Next Sunday, we’ll talk about stress-free entertaining. Really, you CAN have folks over with a house full of kids and enjoy it!
**For help with menu planning, read last week’s Feeding the Frenzy post on menus.**