Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Posts tagged ‘crock pot’

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

I’ve been trying to incorporate my new slow cooker into my meal planning at least two days a week. I find it so wonderful to come home to dinner ready but I also find it takes some planning. I don’t always have time in the morning to brown something or chop something. So far some prep the night before seems to be good. From chopping some veggies to putting the whole thing together in the stoneware and refrigerating it over night.

For this soup I did some prep the night before and some in the morning.

Ingredients:

3 oz of Pancetta or bacon, rendered and crumbled (leave it out for a vegetarian)

1 white onion chopped fine

1 big handful of baby carrots chopped

1 celery rib chopped

1 bunch of greens cleaned and chopped (Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale)

3 Cloves of garlic crushed and chopped fine

1 russet potato peeled and chopped

1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with juice

1 14oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

28 oz of stock your choice (I used beef)

1 pack of flavor boost (I used a beef one)

A shake of Italian Herb Mix

black pepper

salt to taste at the end the stock and pancetta may be salty enough

Gear

Cutting board

knife

strainer

frying pan

Slow Cooker

Night before:

-Brown pancetta, chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and greens. Remove the pancetta and saute the onion briefly in the fat. Put everything in a container in the refrigerator. About 15 minutes of work.

In the morning:

-Dump everything you prepped into the stoneware of the slow cooker. Wash peel and chop the potato. Pour in the stock, tomatoes, beans, flavor pack, herbs, and pepper. Stir. Push any pieces of potatoes under the liquid. Set the slow cooker on low for 7 hours. Took about 10 minutes.

– When you get home take a quarter of the soup out and puree it in a blender or with a stick blender. Pour it back in and stir well.

-Serve with crusty bread. I froze about half of the leftovers for lunches or another meal.

Apple Cider Pork Chops

This recipe is for a 3.5 slow cooker with a timer on it.

Ingredients:

6 bone in pork chops about 1/2 inch thick
2 Granny Smith Apples peeled and sliced
1/2 large white onion sliced
12 oz of Apple Cider
garlic powder
poultry seasoning
chicken broth
flour for dredging
vegetable oil

Gear:
Cutting Board
Knife
frying pan
slow cooker

Steps:

1. Wash and prep the apples. Slice the onion. Put half of them in the bottom of the stoneware of your cooker.

2. Pour some oil in the frying pan and set it to medium heat. Coat the pork chops in the flour. Brown them on each side for about a minute.

3. Move the chop straight front he pan to the stoneware. Arrange the chops in layers. Top with the rest of the apples and onion.

4. Measure the apple cider. Add some garlic powder and the herd mix to the liquid and stir. Pour into the stoneware over chops.

5. Add chicken broth until the meat is almost covered. Place the lid on and set the cooker to low for 8 hours.

6. When you get home remove the chops and pour off the liquid into a sauce pan. Reduce it over medium high heat until you have a glossy sauce or thicken with corn starch. Season with salt and pepper. While reducing the sauce boil up some egg noodles.

Can be made the day before and reheated.

Indian Summer

Ah bliss! A week after declaring cool weather it’s going to 80 today. So tonight is a chance to use the grill. Maybe one of the last. I’ve mentioned before my DH doesn’t like fish or seafood. I’m not normally into cooking two meals but for tonight I will grill two different proteins. The effort to do so is minimal. DH will have a steak and I will have salmon or whatever looks good at the fish counter today. I’ll put the steak on a few minutes earlier and just have to watch my timing.

Last week the slower cooker was a huge success. I’m using it twice this week. First I have parent night at school on Tuesday and that will be a life saver. I’m making a beef barley soup and as an easy side frozen rolls or bread that can be baked in the oven. I’m also going to use it for a pork chop dish that has apple cider in it. So even though it’s warm today. The rest of the week I have fall food on my mind.

Monday- Grilled Steak and Fish, Fries, and Green Beans

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup with bread

Wednesday- Orange Chicken, Rice, and Peas

Thursday- Homemade Soup (no school!)

Friday- Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pork Chops over Egg Noodles, Veggies and Dip

Saturday- Away

Sunday- Leftovers or Brinner

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

1lb Stew Meat cut into small cubes

1 onion diced

2 handfuls of baby carrots chopped

2 ribs of celery chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic smashed

1 bay leaf

1 cup of pearled barley

6 cups of liquid (beef or chicken stock, water, some beer)

1 beef stock concentrate or bouillon

salt and pepper

Place everything in the stoneware of your slow cooker. Stir. Set the timer to 8 hours on low.

other items you can add to this soup, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips, hard squash like acorn, worcestershire sauce.

Update:This was so yummy, even better leftover, I served it with sourdough rolls. For the liquid I did 5 cups of chicken broth and one cup of beer. The beer flavor was a bit sharp so next time I’ll use only 1/2 a cup.