Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday #17 - Crockpot recipes

One of my biggest struggles is always dealing with what to feed my family for dinner. This is complicated by a few things - kids who don't all like the same things, an extremely picky husband, and the fact that said husband is rarely home for dinner, and I never know from one day to the next if he'll be eating with us or not. Add in the fact that I often have only a half hour or 45 minutes to make dinner, get everyone fed and get everything cleaned up, and you can see why my kids end up eating sandwiches, hot dogs or frozen waffles way more than I like. I do try to pair those with healthy side dishes like yogurt, applesauce or fruit, but I know that it's not the best solution.

One of my goals for 2008 is to try and get my family eating healthier. And I'd also like to try and get my kids to eat something other than the same 6 things every week for dinner. Last week I unearthed my crock pot and attempted a recipe that I have made in the past, slightly modified this time to decrease the time taken to prepare a side dish. Basically, we had chicken breasts and I added chopped potatoes to the crock pot instead of having to make mashed potatoes separately like we've done before. You see, my kids will eat mashed potatoes, but they do not like them chopped and cooked in the crock pot along with the chicken. But they will at least eat the chicken (usually), so they'll just have to (eventually) get used to the potatoes. But what I realized when I made this dish last week is that the crock pot idea worked wonderfully. It took just a little bit of preparation in the morning, then we had a hot dinner ready to go onto the table the moment we walked into the house that night. Plus, I could keep dinner warm until Ron got home so that he had a hot meal ready for him as well. I loved it!

So, I'm on the lookout for more recipes that we can use since I know that chicken and potatoes will get old real fast (especially if Ron and I are the only ones eating the potatoes). Keep in mind that I probably have one of the pickiest families around, and you'll understand why I have yet to find any other crock pot recipes out there that anyone other than I will actually eat. We're talking very basic here, people - no fancy ingredients or spices. Just keep it simple, quick and easy. Here's a few things to consider as well.

  • The only vegetable that Hannah will put into her mouth is corn, and even then under great (and vocal) protest.

  • Abby likes raw carrots but turns her nose up at anything resembling a cooked one.

  • Ron will not eat anything with onions in it, or that has one spice in it that overshadows the others - yes, I know, he's weird. And he won't eat pot roast or any other 'stringy' meat.

  • I've tried beef stew before but nobody except for me will eat any of it.

  • Ron is a pretty strict 'meat and potatoes' kind of a guy - he won't eat much of anything else. He can't even stand rice.

  • Abby likes rice, but Hannah will not eat more than a grain or two. Yes, that's a grain or two, not a bite or two... Sigh.

  • We recently tried a new (non crock pot) recipe that I got from Karen's blog - a Parmesan chicken and noodle recipe that was great in theory, but which (no surprise here) nobody ate. I do think I may have screwed something up when I made it though, so I might have to try that one again. I definitely know that I made way too many noodles for the amount of chicken that I had.
So, does anyone have any quick and simple crock pot recipes that I can try to use to feed my strange, picky family? I would be extremely grateful! :)

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14 wonderful people said...:

Kelly said...

Have you ever tried Chicken Curry? You cook it in a crock pot all day and you can serve it over rice but we prefer potatoes. It's very yummy.
My husband quit eating meat a year and a half ago due to getting sick on some kind of meat. He eats basically what our son and I do but without the meat. No trouble cooking in our home but I must admit I hate cooking. I'd rather bake all day long.

Amy said...

I use my crockpot 2-4x per week, so I should be able to come up with something for you! :) Check out my cooking blog, too!

OK, how about...

ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE (leave out onions)


MEATBALL SUBS: (one of our favorites- can make & freeze meatballs ahead for easy prep)


I hope that helps! :)

Anonymous said...

Easy Beef Stroganoff
Serves 6-8

*Low fat or fat-free sour cream can be used
*Fat free cream of mushroom soup can be used

2 lbs. beef cubes (stew meat)
8 oz. canned mushrooms (drained)
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
Egg noodles or rice- cooked

Place beef, mushrooms, onion soup mix, and mushroom soup in crock pot (in that order).
Cook for one hour on high. Switch to low temperature and cook another 6-8 hours until done. Stir in sour cream just before serving. Serve over hot egg noodles or rice.

Anonymous said...

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

NOTE: Yes, it’s easy and yummy!
1 Reynolds slow cooker liner 1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 pound ground beef 2 cups (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 box (16 oz) ziti noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jars (aprx. 25 oz. each) pasta sauce
Open slow cooker liner and place it inside a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker bowl. Fit liner snugly against the bottom and sides of bowl; pull top of liner over rim of bowl.
Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink. Stir in seasonings to evenly coat meat; stir in pasta sauce. Set aside.
Mix 1 cup mozzarella, the ricotta and parmesan in a medium bowl. Spoon 2 cups of meat sauce into the lined cooker; top with 2 cups ziti. Drop half of the cheese mixture, by rounded tablespoons, over ziti; carefully spread over ziti using back of spoon. Layer with 2 cups meat sauce, the remaining ziti and remaining cheese. Add remaining meat sauce, completely covering all the ziti and cheese. Place lid on slow cooker.
Cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are tender.
Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle food with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella; let stand 10 minutes until melted. Serve directly from lined cooker. Do not lift or transport liner with food inside. Cool slow cooker completely; remove liner and toss.

MomOf3 said...

I have picky eaters over here too. Here is one I tried just the other day.

Place 2-3 chicken breasts on the slow cooker. Poor 2-3 cans of chicken broth over them (they should be fully immersed). Let this simmer for several hours. About an hour before you eat, add about a half cup of water if there is not a lot of liquid left. Put another half cup of cold water in a measuring cup and add 2-3 tablespoons of flour. Whisk the flour and water until there are no lumps and add it to the chicken. Stir this every so often - the flour will thicken the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is great over mashed potatoes, toast, or biscuits. You can also add any frozen veggies that your family will eat. :)

MomOf3 said...

Oops! I almost forgot! You have been tagged over at my place if you want to play!

Christine said...

I'll think of one and post it for my T13!

Linette said...

I like to take chicken breasts and cook them with 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (you can use all of one or the other if you like) add 1 to 1 1/2 cans of water, slow cook for several hours until the chicken is done. You can use the soup as a gravy over mashed potatoes, or biscuits. I also do this with cube steak (and just use 3 cans of cream of mushroom).

I also like to make corn chowder, with one bag of corn, a couple cups diced potatoes, milk (to cover), a little butter and velveeta cheese (cubed). Throw it all in the crock pot and let it cook a couple hours. I also add onion, but you wouldn't have to.
(Thanks for stopping by The Kid's Birthday Fun Review, BTW:)

The Wade's said...

Easy schmeazy Crockpot Minestrone Soup

4 cans of Progresso Minestrone soup
1 lb ground beef drained
1 can rotel
2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained.

Add to crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

It is so simple, and their is really no way to mess it up. You can always add something to it that your family really loves

Good luck!

Tammy said...

When I make a stew I have to place everything seperate on the plates for my kids. I even ave to mush the potatoes up so that they look like they are mashed.

Jamie said...

Cheesy Chicken:

4 chicken breasts
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup

Place breasts (chicken breasts that is) in crockpot. Mix the cans of soup together, pour over chicken. Cook on low 6 hours. I serve this over egg noodles or rice, with a vegetable on the side.
This is actually a weight watchers recipe that I got a few years ago. Kids love it!

Kielbasa hashbrown thing:

1 package of kielbasa
1 bag of hashbrown shredded potatoes, or those little shoestring fries
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
1 soup can full of milk

Cut up kielbasa, place hashbrown potatoes (frozen) into crockpot, put kielbasa on top. Mix soup with milk, pour over top. Cook 6 or 7 hours on low. I serve this with applesauce and a veggie if I am feeling like it.

Queen Mommy said...

These are GREAT ideas. But I fall down in the execution of said great ideas. My kids are picky eaters too, but as long as they eat veggies and fruit they can have waffles every night. I need a personal chef. Oh and a million dollar a year raise.

The Correspondent said...

I love my crockpot and have posted a number of recipes at

Beth said...

I never use my crock pot, but I should because it could make some pretty low-hassle meals. Some of you left some recipes that I think I'll give a try. Thanks!