Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner Issues of Late

While we’re doing this garage project I’ve been struggling to get dinner on the table while still helping out outside. What’s been making it worse is that we have limited daylight now, and that will be even worse after this weekend. I like to cook, I like to cook well when I have time, and I like to use good ingredients.

It requires time, planning, etc, to do elaborate meals. We don’t have the time for planning right now, much less cooking. I have been trying to freeze leftovers so we have them in the future. I’ve also been trying to do more crockpot dinners. I have had good and bad luck with the crockpot, and I’m starting a list of meals we definitely liked and meals we definitely didn’t. I’m hoping to start crockpotting at least twice a week, while freezing the leftovers.

Here is a list of what we’ve been doing:

Beef Stroganoff: it uses stew meat, onion, mushrooms, both cream of mushroom and cream of celery soup, black pepper, a packet of onion soup mix, and sour cream (added right before serving). You serve it over noodles. We love this recipe, and it is easy, I just need to remember to have soup on hand. No browning of meat beforehand, no mixing ingredients in a separate bowl, and minimal chopping. Everything just goes in to the pot and gets stirred up.

Stuffed peppers: we did this last week and it was a success. Again, no pre-cooking of anything. Dump a can of whole tomatoes on the bottom of the pot, then place halved peppers on that. Mix onion, the rice from a box of Spanish rice, ground beef, some bread crumbs together and stuff the peppers. Then mix a can of tomato soup, some water, and the seasoning packet from the Spanish rice together and dump it over the peppers. Easy, tasty.

Moist Drumsticks: 3lb drumsticks with skin removed in the pot, then cover with a mix of tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, some garlic. Cook, then take sauce and heat it in a saucepan until boiling and add some cornstarch to thicken it up. Very very good.

I’m trying a new recipe today: Flank steak with pineapple bbq sauce. Sliced or shredded sweet potatoes on the bottom, then the flank steak in cubes. Then, mix up onion, pineapple with juice, bbq sauce, ground ginger, some water, chicken broth and dump it over the meat. We’ll see how it is. (*it was great!)

I have a few others but I can’t remember them right now. I also have a few that were terrible. I tried a recipe called Creamy Swiss Steak once, and I don't remember why but it was inedible. I don’t have good luck with chicken in the crockpot usually, too, they always turn out mealy and icky. I tend to stick with beef a lot.

My all-time favorite crockpot recipe is Apple Pie.

What is your favorite crockpot recipe?


YD, sometimes with Samantha and June said...

I never have any luck with cooking a meal with a crockpot. I only use the crockpot for cooking meatballs and sausages in tomato sauce, french onion soup and cooking the meat for pulled pork.
If you would like the pulled pork(North Carolina style) recipe, please email me at ysdavis at hotmail dot com. I would be glad to send it to you.

Mama Pea said...

Okay, time for everybody to do a double take and let their jaws hang open.

Married 46-1/2 years and I've never used a crock pot. And it's not that I don't cook; we rarely go out to eat and I use very few "convenience" foods.

I even have a nice crock pot. At least I think it's nice; new and never been used.

You have given me the nudge I need. Now all I have to do is find it packed away somewhere.

Angie said...

I usually use a crockpot for keeping soup hot at potlucks, not for cooking.

Jody M said...

I asked my mom once if she would like a crockpot for Christmas. Her upper lip curled slowly back and she said "We don't like *stewed meat*." Well, she does stewed meat in the oven all the time, but I just couldn't reason with her. I still think it is funny, just the way she said it.

On the flip side, I haven't used mine often until recently, but I have a coworker who used hers almost EVERY DAY.

I also have a wonderful tomato, shallot, and green pepper sauce recipe for perogies. I use it with regular pasta (I prefer onions and lots of butter with my perogies).

Mama Pea, if you want more specifics on the recipes I mentioned let me know.

Mama Pea said...

Once I get my crock pot plugged in, I may well have to use you as my mentor for recipes and advice. Thanks for the generous offer.

When you get time, could you post your tomato, shallot, green pepper sauce? I'm always looking for new sauces for pasta as I love it but my husband's not crazy about it so I try to find sauces to entice him.

Or if you don't want to include it in a post you could send it to me via e-mail at Thanks again.