Crock Pot Woes

Sunday, January 3, 2010
One of my goals for this year has to do with food. I want to save money {and calories} by cooking at home. My "baby steps" in accomplishing this task will be:
  • to have a weekly menu planned out (which I started doing in November and has worked wonderfully.)
  • learning to use my crock pot
  • learning to use my food storage (which will put to use the awesome wheat grinder my in-laws gave us for Christmas.)
  • realizing that life gets in the way and even the best laid plans will go awry and it's perfectly ok to have pizza on speed dial!
On a recent trip to BAM (Books a Million) I found a real gem of a cook book.

This cook book has almost 200 crock pot recipes and so far I haven't seen a single one that calls for "cream of anything." That in itself sold me on the book! It does have some other awesome qualities too; pictures of every recipe, it comes in a 3 ring binder so you can add or take out recipes while you cook {not so great if you happen to buy the only copy that some "nice" person stole 50+ pages from!} recipes for everything including breads, desserts, soups, dips, main courses etc. Oh yeah and it was only $10.

Well the first recipe we tried out was "Smokey Chipotle Cassoulet" and it was awesome! Mine turned out a little more soupy than what was pictured in the book. It was pretty much like a southwestern/Mexican chili. If you decide to try this out WATCH OUT! One large chipotle will do you in. I recommend half, or less if you want your kids to eat it! We toned down the spiciness with sour cream, cheese and some Doritos (on the second day.) My kids were troopers and had 2 bites before I gave them some cereal for dinner instead!

Well tonight we tried out "Pesto Rice and Beans"

While the taste was there it sure wasn't going to win any prizes in the looks department! {Yeah... it looks nothing like the picture in the book.} My problems started after it had been cooking 2 hours and the rice didn't even look remotely cooked. I guess my crock pot takes a really long time to heat up on "low" so I cranked it up to high for 30 minutes, checked it and decided it was finally hot enough to cook the rice, added a bit more water and let it cook for another hour on low. Well the rice on the bottom cooked well, the rice towards the top was still a little bit crunchy, and once you mixed in the pesto it just turned to mush! This recipe was in the section labeled "creative cooking" {what's that supposed to mean?} so I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a main dish or what {I'm thinking it's more of a side dish.} I think this recipe would have given me less trouble had I cooked it in a regular pot! Oh well, live and learn!

Here is a similar recipe if you want to try it out. {And hey! hers looks like mush too!}


Sabrina said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Crock Pot meals. Such a time and money saver. I often use recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens Slow Cooker Recipe book. Great ideas and I think you can get most of them of the BHG website. My fave in the slow cooker is pulled pork. Hoping to post on that soon! Best of luck with your savvy 2010 plan!

SandyQuilts said...

Check out
a year of crock cooking.


One of our favorites
1 pork loin (thawed)
1 can cream of mushroom
cook on high 1hr
cook on low 4hr

delicous we think.

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