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Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Earlier this week Heather Boyd wrote about her love of books and settling in for an enjoyable read, which sometimes translated into a quick dinner, or supper as some folks call the evening meal. That got me thinking about how difficult it can be sometimes for writers to break away from their work to make a meal. What I'll often do is toss something in the crock-pot to cook all day so that dinner is ready when my family is ready to eat.

Today I thought it would be a nice thing to exchange some ideas for carefree dinners, and I'll share my easiest crock-pot recipes. Buy the slow-cookers liners and you don't have a mess to clean up either. My kids will eat all of these recipes, but I must admit I had to serve some of them several times before my picky eater learned to like them. Funny what familiarity teamed with hunger will do.

Southwest Chicken (Recipe given to me by my friend Janice)

4 boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts (no need to thaw)
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained (I've used frozen too)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small jar of salsa or picante
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Place chicken in the bottom of the crock-pot. Cover with corn, beans and salsa and cook on medium all day. Once the chicken is cooked through, I turn down to low. Right before serving, I shred the chicken a little with a fork, and then sprinkle with the seasoning salt and cheese. Replace cover until cheese melts then serve. I usually serve it with some type of bread and fresh fruit. Grapes are a favorite in our house.

Roast Beef with Carrots and Potatoes

2 pound roast (can be bigger if you have a bigger family)
1 can diced tomatoes, no added seasonings (makes the meat tender)
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Garlic and Herb (use both for a bigger roast)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (I'll use the stuff in the jar if I'm in a hurry. Adjust to your tastes.)
2-4 beef bouillon cubes
baby carrots
small red potatoes
onion, quarted (optional)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Lawry's Seasoning Salt

Place roast in the crock-pot first then dump everything on top. Seriously, this is a very simple meal. I choose baby carrots and small red potatoes so I don't have to chop, and I usually omit the onion. Drizzle the veggies with the olive oil then cook all day on medium. Season before serving. My hubby loves Lawry's so this is what I use, but you can use whatever your family likes best. I guessed at the amounts of garlic and olive oil, because I don't cook from recipes often.

Rotisseri Chicken

1 whole hen, thawed and rinsed
McCormick Rotiserri Chicken seasoning

Place hen in crock-pot, sprinkle with seasoning to your taste and cook all day on medium. That's it! If you want potatoes, toss some in to cook with it. Serve with a bag of salad. Antoher option for sides: This week I wrapped whole sweet potatoes in paper towels, microwaved until they were squishy, scraped out the insides then mixed in margarine and a little bit of brown sugar. And I served frozen green beans drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with Kosher salt and baked until tender.

What quick meals do you make? We'd love to hear your recipes.


  1. I just recently tried those slow cooker liners for the first time, and I doubt I'll ever use my crock pot without them again. I use mine most often for a roast, when some of my friends or family are going to be over for a meal. I did an Italian-style pot roast recently that was FABULOUS.

    3-5 lb lean pot roast (trim excess fat)
    2 6-oz cans tomato paste
    1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasonings
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 head garlic, roasted
    1 med onion, chopped and roasted
    1/2 to 1 cup water

    Roast onion and garlic (yes, a whole onion, and an entire head of garlic) in oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, then combine with the tomato paste and seasonings. Sear the roast in a hot skillet on all sides. Spread some of the tomato paste mixture over one side of the roast and place that side down in the crock pot. Smear the rest over the remainder of the roast. Add water and cook on low for at least 8 hours (longer is fine - the roast will just become even more tender as it continues to cook). An hour before serving, scrape some of the remaining tomato paste mixture off and mix it with the water to make a lovely sauce. You can also slice the roast into large chunks at that point, to allow the sauce to cover more of the meat.

    It would be great with mushrooms in it, too. If I added those, I'd roast them with the onion and garlic. But honestly, it was fabulous without them.

  2. Mmmmm. Salivating. The easiest recipe I have is this:
    Chicken breasts or Pork Shoulder(I prefer Chicken)
    BBQ sauce

    Cook on low all day. Shred chicken with fork when tender and place on bun. Yum.

  3. Catherine,
    That sounds great. I'm going to add it to my collection.

    How easy! And it sounds delish. I'm putting it on my list for next week.

    I'm using my crockpot again today for beef and veggie soup per my hubby's request.

  4. I can't think of any myself at the moment. It seems I have lately only used the crock pot for Chili Cheese dip or melting chocolate when making candy. But, I am printing these because my soon to be married daughter receiveda crock-pot as a wedding gift and I am sure she will want all the recipes she can find.

  5. Amy,
    We received a crockpot for our wedding too. I've had it for almost 14 years, and it has been used repeatedly. One of the best gifts I ever received.

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new crockpot! It is SO fun to use, and I love discovering new (easy) recipes! I got Catherine's Italian pot roast a couple weeks ago and I'm excited to try it...I just have to figure out how to shop for roast! LOL!

    And your SW Chicken sounds YUMMY!!

    My favorites are as follows...

    Cheesy Chicken and Rice:
    Chicken Breasts (2-3...4 was too much chicken for us)
    1 can cheddar cheese soup
    1 can chicken broccoli soup
    1 large package frozen California Vegetables

    Pour soups in the crock pot (I like to mix them up a bit) and add chicken. Cook on high for 4 hours. Add veggies after 2 hours. I always break up the chicken a bit when it's done. Serve with rice. Yum-O!

    Chicken Tacos:
    Put a little water in the bottom of crockpot. Season chicken breasts with taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 hours. Shred chicken. Put out lettuce, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream and whole grain taco shells for a Build-Your-Own-Taco night! Or mix them all in a bowl for a taco salad :)

    Great post, Samantha!

  7. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing these.

  8. Jerrica,

    Both sound yummy and easy. I love chicken tacos!

  9. Wow. What a great collection of recipes. I'll have to try them. I haven't thought of one yet, but I'll come back later if I do.