8 Back to School - Crock Pot Meals to the Rescue!
Now that school is back in session - your crock pot may just be a time & money saver!
My advice to you - find meals your family will actually enjoy. I've seen posts touting "so many meals in so many minutes" and right now, I am not sure where they came up with their timing.
I found it much, much easier to collect the various recipes that I wanted to try, and compile my shopping list. I say, start with 5-8 crock-pot/slow-cooker recipes and see how it all goes. Figure out if it's worth the time and effort in advance for your family. I lucked out and there were sales at my local Safeway on every meat item I needed to purchase!
Some Hints: have lots of measuring cups and measuring spoons ready to go. I had a set for dry measuring and a set for liquid measuring which sped things up. I had a nice big trash can at my side too - you will appreciate this advice because, once you get going you will quickly realize how much you toss away, in scraps, peels and packaging. I also wrote down on the face of each freezer gallon bag in sharpie permanent marker - the date, the contents and cooking instructions. All my meals will work best of taken from the freezer the night before and placed in the fridge overnight to 'thaw'. The Best hint/tip I can offer is to use a meatloaf pan in the packaging process!! I placed my gallon baggies IN the pan which then supported the contents going in without tipping over the bag - worked like a charm! (photos below) and of course, slow cooker liners make for easy cleanup when you are ready to cook your meals - if you don't want to use those - make sure to coat your slow-cooker with olive oil - which will also aide in quick cleanup.
Here are Eight Recipes my family loves
prepared in under 2 hours for freezer to crockpot) :
Honey Soy Chicken adapted from Allrecipes
French Dip from Canning and Cooking at Home
Pork Green Chile (leftovers can be pressure canned!) from Canning and Cooking at Home
Ranch Chicken Tacos from Who Needs a Cape?
Chicken Cacciatore from Southern Living
Mongolian Beef from Once a Month Meals
Applesauce BBQ Chicken from Taste of Home
Mushroom & Beef Tips from All things Food - Cooking with Mary & Friends
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
I really like this recipe because not only is it quick and easy to make but, its less fat then frying the fish in oil and doesn't use mayonnaise to coat the fish like some other recipes I have seen. The key is the olive oil cooking spray - it provides a nice crunchy crust on the panko.
Panko Crusted Oven Baked Cod
2 lbs Cod (you can cut into larger 'square/cubes' or leave as whole long filets)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional - if you want a little "kick"
cooking spray (I use olive oil spray)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Recipe & Photo by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
Shrimp scampi is pretty easy to make, I always have all my "shrimp mix" ingredients ready to go so that when the pasta finishes, I am done cooking the shrimp. You can cook up any pasta you prefer - it all works! Just remember that you want to cook just about 3/4 lbs of dried pasta so that there is enough 'sauce' to coat everything. Some folks are not huge fans of garlic so, you can back off on that a bit if you prefer. As well, if you do not like adding in red pepper flakes or hot chili oil - you can always add in a splash of white wine instead. I serve this dish with a simple side salad and my Homemade One Hour French Bread for a complete meal. Enjoy!~Diane
Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
1 Tablespoon kosher salt, added to pasta water
3/4 pound linguine pasta
1 Tablespoon butter, melted, added to cooked pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on your taste)
1 pound large raw shrimp (about 18 shrimp), peeled and de-veined
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon zest, grated
freshly squeezed lemon juice from one large lemon
pinch of red pepper flakes, or dash of red chili oil (optional)
Prepare and cook pasta for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Mix in the 1 Tbs of melted butter to cooked pasta once drained, Set aside, covered until ready for shrimp. (try to time it so that the pasta is ready when you are done cooking the shrimp.)
Prepare the shrimp mix in a large, heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan. Melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic. Saute quickly for just about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper and saute until the shrimp just turn pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat to low, Add in the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. Remove from heat.
Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, to the cooked pasta, toss well, and serve.
Recipe and Photo by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
My favorite Ice cream? Coffee. Always. I have an affinity for Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream but, not anymore!! I can make my own that rivals theirs any day! I've searched many recipes that use brewed cold coffee, or espresso beans...nope - not the taste I was looking for - I found a recipe that we just fell in love with - and it uses Folgers Instant Coffee crystals! This is decadent tasting, smooth and creamy - I dare you to make some!! All you need is your stand mixer with a whisk, a cold metal bowl to start and freezer safe container! ~Enjoy! Diane
No Churn Coffee Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (I usually only use about 10-12 oz)
5 tsp instant coffee + 2 1/2 tsp warm water (I used Folgers instant coffee)
2 tsp vanilla bean extract or paste (I use vanilla bean paste as it has a stronger flavor)
In a large cold metal bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. (this can take 7+minutes, the cold metal bowl should help a bit in the timing.
In a separate bowl, dissolve instant coffee granules in warm water and stir. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract, and stir until combined.
Combine coffee mixture into well whipped heavy cream just until incorporated.
Pour ice cream mixture into an airtight container and freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight.
Adapted from: Sprinkle Some Sugar
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home