Crock Pot Love Recipe #9

You’ll notice, I don’t cook a lot of meat in my crock pot. That’s because I personally don’t eat a lot of it. But with that being said, I do have a crock pot exclusively for making meat dishes for my husband and daughter (if she chooses to actually eat them…she’s not big on meat but knows the doctors orders are necessary).

Today’s recipe is all about the family favourite everyone requests how to cook from me. The pot roast! That big honking piece of beef that most families grew up having on Sunday’s! So, I am going to make it super simple for you. Easy to put together, so you have a delicious beef roast dinner any night of the week with such little work, it’s ridiculous!

Now, let me start by saying, when working with ANY large chunk of meat, LOW AND SLOW is the BEST thing you can do for it. So, keep that in mind when you are planning to cook your roast. You want it to cook at low for a long period of time so it literally falls apart when your fork touches it and it melts in your mouth. There’s no rushing a great roast!

Sunday Beef Pot Roast Any day of the Week!

1-2lbs of baby potatoes (you can use regular potatoes but I find baby potatoes just work better and look better when you present your plates to your family)
4-6 large carrots chopped into large chunks (close in size to the baby potatoes but no bigger)
2 large onions quartered and than halved
1 bunch of celery chopped into large chunks
1 cup of liquid (beef broth, water, vegetable broth, whatever you choose)
Beef Roast (thawed works best but if you need to cook from frozen you can)
Seasonings/Herbs of choice (rosemary works great for meat, dill is another good one, garlic is a most)

Rub the herbs and seasonings you choose all over your Beef Roast, and let sit while you prepare your crock pot. Put the potatoes, carrots, onions & celery in the bottom with additional garlic if you choose to. Add in the liquid, lay the beef roast on top of the vegetables. Put on LOW for 6-10 hours, depending on the size of your roast. Usually takes 8-10 hours for an average sized family roast.

When you remove the roast at the end of cooking, let it sit on the cutting board for 10-15 minutes to rest BEFORE carving it. You want to keep all the juices in it.
Once you remove all the vegetables, use the liquid that is left, to make gravy for the roast! You can literally make it right there IN the crock pot and than serve it all.

***TIP TIME*** Go slow on your cooking time, otherwise your meat will be tough. You can add additional veggies to your roast based on your preferences. Don’t be afraid to add extra liquid if you need to when it’s cooking!

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Winter storm

As I sit in my dining room, I keep glancing out the large picture windows in the front of our house and thinking, it just LOOKS cold out. I had to go out this morning to put gas in the tank, because by the time hubby got home from work last night, we were gas light just about on. I don’t like to get to that point, especially in the winter. I always try to keep it at a half tank, especially in the winter. But this week was his first week back to work and we’ve been living without a paycheck so it’s been TOUGH!

Today, I went out for gas and it was -11, -22 with the windchill. My daughter wanted to come with me, because I was also stopping at the grocery store to grab some produce and water. So, we bundled up and headed out. Warmed up the car, cleaned off the dusting of snow that had built up since he got home at 1am and headed to get gas first.

Even having the heat cranked in the car and the seat warmers on, we were chilled to the bone. It was so brutal. At the gas station, I got out to fill the tank and we have a small gas tank and a fuel efficient car, so it doesn’t take much to fill the tank. But in the little time it took me to put my cards in and fill the tank, I was numb and shaking uncontrollably.

This winter storm is so far not too bad, granted, I haven’t seen a car on my road in hours. We’re staying in, relaxing and I am working around the house, laundry, dishes, cooking and preparing for the week ahead because I have a big cake order due Saturday for 2 cakes and a dozen cupcakes for a birthday party that my daughter is invited to and me being me, I will be photographing the event as well!

I hope you are staying warm and safe inside today. If you aren’t, for whatever reason, make sure you help out anyone you see in need. Be it a blanket, coffee, coat, calling for help (311 in Toronto), helping them to the nearest shelter, a hat and mitts, whatever you can do! Please make sure you do what you can today! Everyone deserves to be warm and safe in this weather and not everyone is fortunate enough!

Crock Pot Love Recipe #8

As I sit in my house with the temperature sitting at -3 with a windchill of -9 outside, I am thankful it’s not as cold as the -22 windchill we had the other day, but BRRRR it’s still cold. Even in fleece lined leggings, a fuzzy warm sweater AND fluffy fleecy socks, I am still cold in the house. Maybe it’s the dread of the -22 temperature coming back this weekend!

When winter rolls around, I always think of one particular crock pot recipe year in and year out. I know many people eat it year round and some times I will make it in the spring and fall but definitely NOT in the summer. For me, at least, it’s mostly a WINTER meal!

Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili

2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1-2 cans of corn (or the equivalent of frozen)
1 can of chick peas (optional my kid loves them so we add them)
1 onion diced small
2 cloves of garlic finely minced
2 carrots finely chopped
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
1 parsnip finely chopped

Cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours

***TIP TIME*** Don’t want to keep it vegetarian? Feel free to add 1lb of ground meat of your choosing to the recipe. You can also add in any other veggies you may want. Cram them all in to hide them from the kids! Dice them up small and toss them in there! They won’t know!

Crock-Pot Love Recipe #7

Let’s face it, we all get to that point close to grocery day, when we have produce that we had EVERY intention of using BUT something came up or we forgot about it. This is why I have this recipe! Sometimes I buy the ingredients on purpose for this recipe and sometimes I just throw it all together with whatever is in the kitchen that NEEDS to be used up!

This is a super easy and fast recipe, there’s no searching for the right ingredients because the right ingredients are WHATEVER you have on hand that needs to be used up. You can’t go wrong, EVERYTHING goes in here! And I do mean EVERYTHING!

I usually start with a select few ingredients that I have on hand ALWAYS and than I add from there. So with this recipe, you will see two lists. List #1 will be the stuff I personally feel are must haves based on my families tastes. List #2 is based on other things I have had on hand in the past that have been added to the recipe to be used up! You have the option to keep this vegan/vegetarian OR to add meat! Totally up to you! Whatever your family prefers! While my husband prefers meat in EVERYTHING, my daughter and I are NOT big fans of it.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup

3-4 Potatoes diced
3-4 Carrots coined
1-2 onions quartered
3 cloves of garlic smashed and finely chopped
1-2 inch piece of ginger grated
Any leftover uncooked squash diced
1-2 can of tomatoes
1 can of chick peas
1 can of black beans
Broth as you prefer (I prefer homemade broth I keep in my freezer)

Now there comes the FUN part, this is where the adventure comes in, this is where all the extra ingredients come into play. In the past I have added some or all of these ingredients: broccoli, cauliflower, apples, Asian pears, tomatoes, spinach, kale, zucchini, eggplant, beets, carrot tops, beet greens, corn, peas, beans, turkey, ground meat, chicken, sausage, broken up burgers, drumsticks, turnip, parsnips, lentils, rice, pastas, egg noodles (need to be added just before serving) and MORE! The list is honestly ENDLESS! Fruits, vegetables, meats, you can add them all in! Gives you so many options for your family. Take what they like and cater to your families likes! Simple as that! Possibilites are limitless and it’s a great way to get in all kinds of protein, veggies, vitamins and minerals in ONE meal!!!

Crock-Pot Love Recipe #6

Since recipe #5 was Spaghetti Squash, I guess #6 should be Spaghetti sauce! It only makes sense! I love spaghetti sauce, it’s a great way to get so much produce into our kids (or picky adults/spouses/friends) without them knowing!

This recipe of spaghetti sauce has been fed to EVERYONE who knows me and eaten at my house. It’s ALWAYS a hit and NO ONE realizes they are properly eating things they swear they hate. I don’t do it to prove any thing to them, this is just the recipe and I stick to my recipe. Unless you have an allergy, I don’t remove items from my recipes, because we already have too many allergies to deal with omitting other foods for picky people! NO ONE is allowed to be picky in my house! I take allergies seriously, I take sensory issues seriously, picky eaters NOPE!

This recipe has changed a bit over the years as I have had to remove things over time that my daughter developed allergies to. But for years now, this has been the full blown recipe. This makes a HUGE batch, because I love having extras in the freezer for quick pasta meal nights as well, pull it out, pop it in a pan while we cook pasta and boom, dinners done with a salad tossed together! So here you go!

My Family’s Favourite Spaghetti Sauce

2 large onions small diced
4 large cloves of garlic minced
2 inch chunk of ginger grated
3 carrots grated
1/2 cup of spinach finely chopped
1/2 cup of kale finely chopped
2 stalks of celery diced super small
2 parsnips grated
1 can of chick peas drained and rinsed
1 jar of strained tomatoes
3-4 cans of diced tomatoes

Let cook on high for 6 hours and than it can sit on warm for several more hours as needed

***TIP TIME***Turn off the crock pot and transfer to a HEAT SAFE bowl or pot if you are going to use an immersion blender. If you are going to blend in a regular blender don’t fill the blender more than half full with the hot liquid and hold the lid down with a towel to avoid explosion. Allow heat to release between pulses. The more greens you add the more chance your sauce will TURN green! So watch out if you don’t want to hear your kids complain about green sauce! My daughter LOVES Kale so I just tell her it’s kale spaghetti sauce and she loves that, when I don’t measure and just toss in WAY too much!

Simple as that you have a pasta sauce for everything! Works for pizza, pasta, dip, whatever your heart desires! It’s awesome! And no you don’t have to puree it if you don’t want to!

Crock Pot Love Recipe #5

Okay, we all know my love of Crock-Pots, it’s hard not to. BUT when I got asked by a friend if you can cook a squash in a crock pot I did think she was a little weird. Now, let me first start by saying the following
*Yes you can
*Yes I have
*I didn’t think she was weird for the question in general but she’s allergic to squash therefore it’s odd for her to be asking me this
*It’s a textural difference so I am being polite and forewarning you all

So today, we are going to cook a WHOLE spaghetti sqaush in the crock pot. Why? Because that in and of itself, with tomato sauce can be a complete meal and if you don’t tell your kids it’s a vegetable, most don’t notice! If you don’t have a spaghetti sauce recipe, don’t you worry, recipe 6 in the series will be a multi purpose spaghetti sauce recipe, so you will covered!

Cooking ANY kind of squash in the crock pot is actually SUPER easy. BUT there are a few things to factor in when doing so.
*Crock pots don’t always cook evenly.
*You MAY want to turn your squash at the halfway mark IF you will be home—not required, but recommended for better even cooking
*YOU NEED TO LET IT SET AFTER COOKING OUTSIDE THE CROCK POT—I CAN’T TELL YOU THIS ENOUGH!!!

Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash

One spaghetti squash (whatever size is best for your family) pricked 10-15 times
1/2 cup to a max of 1-1/2 cups of water (some people actually choose to dry cook it because it does create it’s own moisture however, since the crock-pot relies on moisture, I always put at least enough water to cover the base of the pot)

Cook on High for 3-4 hours

That is literally it for cooking it.

NOW when you are done cooking it. Take it out IMMEDIATELY. Put it on a cutting board and LEAVE IT for a full 30 minutes to cool down. Than cut in lengthwise and seed it. Use your fork to make the spaghetti and you are good to go! Simple as that! A veggie loaded dinner and it took no time at all thanks to your crock-pot! And because spaghetti squash is a very bland squash, it’s easy to hide what it is! My kid and hubby fall for it ALL THE TIME!

Recipe 6 is going to be your sauce…don’t worry I won’t leave you waiting! That post is coming up TODAY! I promise! It’s crock pot or stove top. Freezer friendly and LOADED with veggies, keep it chunky or puree it for the kids!

Crock-Pot Love Recipe 4

So, let’s face it, we love to cook in our crock pots, but sometimes we want something SWEETER! So, why not make DESSERT in your crock-pot? I am not talking cake or anything like that, although yes, you can if you REALLY wanted to. I am talking fruits in your crock-pot! Do you ever end up with fruit about to spoil in your house and NO idea what to do with it? Or do you just toss it? Or do you ever just CRAVE something sweet but you’re wanting to watch your weight? Want to give your kids a treat but you KNOW what sugar does to them? Well, here’s a fun solution! Fruit sauces! You can serve them on their own, with loaf cake, muffin or banana bread, over ice cream, however you choice! They are simple, LIMITLESS on your flavour combinations and HEALTHY because it’s FRUIT & WATER! You can add additional flavour as well if you want but there is NO sugar, no sweetner, NOTHING like that, that adds calories or unhealthy things for your kids! Bonus? THEY FREEZE GREAT!!!

As if that didn’t sound amazing enough, the best thing about it all? If you are pureeing them, you don’t even need to PEEL your fruits. PLUS you can add in veggies if you have picky kids that you struggle to get things into! Even better? Chop or grab frozen, throw it in, add a bit of water, turn it on YOUR DONE!

Today’s recipe is apple pear but you can use LITERALLY any combination of fresh or frozen fruit and following these exact same steps make this exact recipe over and over and over again with different fruits. Bananas don’t work, so avoid those. If you are doing apples, pears, asain pears, etc…things that brown, I suggest adding a bit of cinnamon so that your kids won’t realize. Plus it adds a nice extra bit of flavour and it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and it just tastes AMAZING!

Apple-Pear Sauce

6 apples cored and chopped
6 pears cored and chopped
Just enough water to cover the bottom of the crock pot
a sprinkling of cinnamon (to your preference)

Turn crock pot on low for 2-3 hours, and watch your fruit become a delicious sauce and your house smell amazing! You can add more fruit for a larger batch, this is just what I happen to have on hand and am using today! The more fruit, the longer it takes to cook.

***TIP TIME*** DO NOT COOK ON HIGH!!!! It runs a huge risk of burning, these recipes NEED to be watched so make sure you will be home MOST if not the ENTIRE time you will be making this recipe. You’ll need to stir and watch your liquid levels to prevent burning!