Last week I asked each of you to give ‘Family Dinner’ a try. I’m sure for some of you, this idea seemed a tad overwhelming. How many of us have time to cook 7 nights a week? Today, a quick idea to help with this challenge. An idea that helped this Mom keep her sanity… And her grocery budget in check!
Get a Crock pot!!
If you don’t already own one, get one. It doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive one. Consider the size of your family and purchase one that suits the your needs. Quick tip: Smaller crock pots sometimes mean less cooking time. You may want to be home for the first couple of uses, to get to know your new appliance. After that… Drop your ingredients in, turn it on and go about your day. At dinner time, it is ready and waiting! There is nothing like returning from a long day to a delicious meal waiting!
Our crock pot was my saving grace when I challenged myself to family dinners. I use it at least once or twice per week. Better still, what I toss in, is often found in our pantry and freezer. They require little or no prep work!
Are you simply adding in more Plant-based foods? A strict Vegan? A Vegetarian? Are you still eating meat once in a while? A crock pot can work in ALL of your homes. There are so many amazing (and cost-effective) meals you can create in them! The only extra cost involved are crock pot liners. I personally don’t mind cleaning my crock pot. However, there is nothing worse than trying to get cooked barbecue sauce off the sides of a crock pot! Any meal requiring barbecue sauce gets a liner!
Plug in those crock pots and give our family favorites a try!!
Black Bean & Corn Soup
2 cans black beans (drained & rinsed)
2 cans diced tomatoes (Mexican flavored)
2 cups frozen corn
4 green onions, sliced (optional, I’ve also used regular diced onion from the freezer)
2-3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp dried minced garlic.
Combine all ingredients, cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours. If it is too thick, add a little broth. You may also add in any vegetables you have on hand. I’ve tossed in diced peppers, celery and carrots before. Eat as is, or spoon over your favorite grain!
Chunk-Style Applesauce (YES! Desserts too!!)
8-10 large cooking apples (peeled, cored & cut into chunks)
½ cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar (optional)
Combine all ingredients, cover & cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Once apples are soft, mash with a potato masher. Serve warm or cold. Oh, AND it freezes beautifully! I used to load our chest freezer every fall after a trip to my Uncle’s apple farm. We’d have applesauce all year long!!
Load up those crock pots friends! I’d love to hear what you create!!
If you need more inspiration, ANY Whitney’s Kitchen Nosh pot can easily be prepped in a crock pot! The scent of this one cooking (I think the secret is in the liquid smoke!) always gets our taste-buds dancing!