Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Asking for some help

Dear bloggy friends,

My schedule this semester is somewhat crazy. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll be out of the house early and coming home during rush hour. Mondays and Wednesdays and all day Fridays, I'll probably be doing work at a community service organization nearby (for my Psychology in the Community class, I have to do 10 hours of service a week.) I've got some food frozen and ready to go, but I'm pretty sure that won't last the whole semester.

So...I need ideas. Do any of you have crockpot recipes that will take no more than 10 - 15 minutes in the morning and can cook all day? Howsabout lunches that don't need refridgeration? Favorite quick-and-easy meals that go beyond hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and mac-and-cheese?

Thank you!


Yankee, Transferred said...

I buy a small-ish organic chicken, rinse it, throw it in the crockpot with a tiny bit of chicken broth, a couple of onions just cut in quarters, and a bay leaf, a little celery salt, turn it on low and voila! Dinner! Add a salad and rice/pasta/egg noodles when you get home. Easy and yummy.
Non refrigerator lunches are harder-I'm a big lover of peanut butter, so I would use that as my default. Sorry, not much help.

DevilMacDawg said...

I'm a huge fan of the rotisserie chicken that you can get from many grocery stores. You can do tons of things with it - eat it as the meat, or make a salad, stir-fry, toss with pasta and sauce/veggies... Tons.

Another easy-peasy fave of mine is to buy chicken breasts, then put them in marinade (I typically make one from 1/4 c. oil, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, 1 clove garlic minced, 1T fresh ginger or 1t powdered ginger) and either refrigerate for no more than 3 days, or even freeze for up to 2 weeks. Set them in the fridge the night before, and they're thawed in time for supper the next night. Grill/bake/chop and stir-fry.

I'm very sorry that I don't know if you eat pork, but in case you do, a pork tenderloin is a) cheap, and b) great roasted with salt and pepper on it.

YT's suggestion about the chicken onion crockpot recipe.... I do the same sort of thing myself, and it's yummy!

In general, when my life was in that place, I did a lot of prep on the weekends. I did the marinade thing above. I chopped veggies. I kinda 'laid out' my meals before I went to bed Sundays, so I could get through to Thursday somehow. Throw in a pizza one night, and let Friday be eat out night!

Sorry so long. I hope this helps.

AAYOR said...

I have a silly little crockpot recipe book with some basics in it, but what I really wanted to say was that I ALWAYS get it ready the night before and then pull it out and start it up in the AM. If I had to actually prep it in the AM? Forget it.

allison said...

My quick and dirty dinner was whole grain pasta (usually penne) with frozen mixed vegetables. Boil the pasta for about 6 minutes, then toss in the veggies. Continue cooking for about 5-6 more minutes (longer than usual for the pasta, because the frozen stuff cools it down) then drain. Toss with sundried tomato pesto and sprinkle with parmesan. You can also add some cooked chicken or sausage as well. Serve with a green salad.

KLee said...

A good crockpot recipe -- I take a package, usually about a pound or so of stew beef and put it in the bottom of my crockpot. Then, I empty an envelope of "beef stew" seasoning over the top, put in about a cup and a half of water and a bag of frozen crinkle cut carrots, and slap that baby on. When I return from work, I can either dump in two cans of sliced or diced potatoes, or if I have the time, peel and dice potatoes myself. If the mix is too thin for my taste, I add an envelope of brown gravy, and it's good to go. Cook on high for five hours, or on low for eight or more, depending on how dense you want it to be. I usually serve over rice.

A quick meal -- I will often buy two cans of the white-meat chicken breast and a packet of soup starter. Follow directions on the packet, and add chicken. Then, I make grilled cheese sandwiches, and dinner's done in about 20 minutes.

Leah said...


This may be in left field but I also go to university. I am married and have 2 kids(3 & 5) and have a huge extended family. I entertain and do everything, as it seems you do....get you bloody husband to help out. I just started making mine help and it saves a lot of headache. They can shop, prepare meals and read the kids books. Honestly why the heck should you have to worry about feeding everyone all the time?

We mothers need to unite. I am tired and I do not see it getting any different for our daughters if we do not start to make a change. My husband is enjoying his new "special" status and my kids like spending more "daddy" time. So maybe its time to delegate.

Leah in Canada

liz said...

Leah, thanks for the comment, but my husband normally does most of the cooking in our house. This year he's also got an insane schedule and won't be home much. However, your sentiment is appreciated!

YT, DMD, Allison, and KLee: Thanks for the recipes!

AAYOR, thank you for telling me I can put it all together the night before, I never thought of that!!

Jenn said...

Hey sweets,
I can vouch for your hubby being a wonderful cook and total rockin co-parent. What a strange thing for someone to imply without knowing you.

My crotch-pot recipies:

Costco stewing beef (easily divided into two) plus a packet of onion soup mix and those pre-peeled baby carrots. Nugget potatoes that only need one cut down the middle. On low. YUM!

Costco tortellini, jar of pasta sauce, packet of veggie ground round (or, I guess, real meat), tin of mushrooms.

Chicken breasts, jar of sweeter/tangy-er barbeque sauce, tin of mushrooms.

Pre-made meatballs (Super Store), sweet and sour sauce, couple scoops apricot jam. All over rice (which you can make on the weekend and then freeze for weeks and weeks to pull out when you need it). Costco big bag o'frozen veggies to give you your broccoli/carrots/cauliflower on the side.

In other news - hey look! That is my Allison commenting here!!

mommy d said...

Barbequed Pork
3lb pork tender loin
1/3 cups oil
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle honey barbeque sauce

Salt and pepper the loin, and place all ingredients in a crock pot on low. Let cook for about 8 hours. Flake pork apart and serve over buns. This is a favorite in our house.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I've got a book of crockpot recipes. I will photocopy some of our favorites and give 'em to you when I see you next!

Camera Obscura said...

If you buy the boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts in the 3-pound bag, they don't have to be thawed before you put them in the Crock-pot!

I do them with some canned chicken broth if we're doing chicken-and-noodles or chicken-and-dumplings, or with cream of chicken soup if we're doing chicken-and-rice. Dumplings will take about 25 minutes when you get home, noodles 15, and minute rice is water-boiling time plus five minutes. (Yeah, I'm a bad peron.)

This is a great bbq beef recipe, but you'll probably want to make the sauce up the night before unless you do well measuring ingredients in a hurry:

3-pound boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. red wine or cider vinegar
2 tbsp. dijon or brown mustard
2 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Put the roast in the crock-pot. Mix up everything else and pour it over it. Cook on Low 8 - 10 hours or High 4 -5 hours.

Remove the roast, shred it. Put it back into the pot and stir it into the sauce.

Serve on buns. Makes (at least) 12 servings.

I've made this w/ a pork roast, too.

Lunches: I forget, is the boy old enough you'd trust him to open a pull-top can? If so, the warehouse stores will usually carry boxes of kits of a single-serving of tuna salad or chicken salad w/ a teeny spoon and six ritz-type crackers.

Mummy/Crit said...

I do an Irish Stew thing, with lamb and vegetables - celery carrot potato - lots of onion, garlic and tinned tomatoes. You can add a bay leaf if you want, or some rosemary. You could probably make it with chicken or beef if you want, but you might need to thicken it a bit. Good luck with your term of chaos!

Chili Pepper said...

I'm trying to learn to love my crockpot. Still learning how to make stuff that tastes good & where the meat isn't tough. I think we might be food snobs too...

Maybe obvious - we're found that the cheaper cuts of meat work best in the crock pot. Really lean meat seems to get tough and chewy after all day in the crock pot.

I bought a crockpot with a timer that automatically switches to "keep warm" after it's done. Very handy.

I second the tip to prep the dish the night before, throw it in the fridge overnight, then start it in the morning. Otherwise I can't find time to do it in the morning.

Here's our favourite recipe so far:
Recipe-Main-Crockpot Tangy BBQ Pork Roast
(Similar to MommyDs above.)
This is always a hit, especially w/garlic mashed potatoes.

This one is pretty good too:
Easiest Crock Pot Beef Roast
especially when you add cut up potatoes, carrots, etc underneath the roast while it's cooking. Makes a lot too, if you like leftovers.

Anyone got a good crockpot cookbook recommendation? I'm found some on-line, but would prefer a (good) cookbook.

Happy crockpotting. (That sounds strange.) Hope your semester goes well - it sounds like you've got lots of good stuff happening.


Chili Pepper said...

Me again.

In case you haven't thought of these, we have a regular rotation of quick dinners that can be prepared w/toddler help, and started when work-outside-the-home mommy & daddy arrive at home with said toddler.

- fresh or dried pasta w/jarred sauce. Throw some pre-washed organic greens in a bowl with a garnish or two.
- perogies w/sour cream
- omlette/eggwiches/scrambled egg wrap
- soup & grilled cheese
- frozen prepared dinners (like a nukeable beef or chicken pot pie).

Non-refrigerated lunches:
Not sure if they're meant for you & Muffin Man:
- crackers & sliced cheese & turkey pepperettes/keilbasa. Like those prepackaged lunchmates, only with less preservative/chemically crap.
- sandwiches (yawn)
- for LC we send leftovers of the previous night's dinner - he doesn't really seem to care whether his food is hot or cold.

That's all my pg brain can come up with right now. Lots of luck this semester!

Anonymous said...

Another easy-peasy fave of mine is to buy chicken breasts, then put them in marinade (I typically make one from 1/4 c. oil, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, 1 clove garlic minced, 1T fresh ginger or 1t powdered ginger) and either refrigerate for no more than 3 days, or even freeze for up to 2 weeks. Set them in the fridge the night before, and they're thawed in time for supper the next night. Grill/bake/chop and stir-fry.

tried it and its great. 5 stars