Four More Slow Cooker Ideas

 

In my quest to get healthy meals made for my family this coming Fall while I am in school, here are some great ideas I’ve come up with using a slow cooker bean recipe I found online.

slowcookerpintobean

 

 

 

 

 

You can find more slow cooker recipes here.  All my slow cooker recipes are tried and true.

Make Ahead Beans

I found the original recipe at www.nourishingdays.com.  This is one of those recipes that can be altered, tweaked and changed to your heart’s delight.

The original recipe:

  • 4 cups pinto beans, sprouted or soaked for 24 hours
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 sliced jalapeno, 5-8 slices of jarred jalapenos, or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • water and/or stock to just barely cover beans
  1. “Rinse beans that have been sprouted or soaked for 24 hours. Dump them in your slow-cooker. Add all other ingredients and cover with enough water and/or homemade stock to cover. I usually use half and half.
  2. Cook on high 6-8 hours, until beans are tender and liquid has thickened to your desired consistency.”

 

I changed it up a little because my family doesn’t like the heat of peppers. So I used some chipotle chili powder along with the cumin. Not much heat, all the smoky flavor.

Another thing I changed: I boil the beans for about 10 minutes before adding them to the Slow Cooker. It just helps the beans get done more consistently.

I also have used black beans and navy beans with this recipe, they work great.
After the beans are cooked, I store them in the frig and use them all week in different recipes.

Recipe 1 –  Refried Beans with Flat Bread

My Flat Bread recipe can be made ahead and warmed.  To make Refried Beans I use my blender and a little water and about 1 Tablespoon melted butter per cup of beans. When they are the right consistency, I heat them on the stove. Sometimes I add more seasonings like what I cooked the beans with, I usually add salt too. Spread some beans on the flat bread, top with shredded cheese and toast. Perfect, filling, simple meal.

Recipe 2 – Beans And Toppings

Simple. Take out however many servings of the slow cooker beans you need, reheat on the stovetop. Prepare any or all of these toppings for the beans:

salsa
cheese
chopped onion, avocado, tomato, green onion, chives
sour cream or yogurt
cooked ground meat
cooked rice, brown or white

Put everything in small bowls and serve with the beans. A piece of homemade cornbread is great with these beans.

Recipe 3 – Use in Soups and Stews
These beans are really good tasting in soups and stew. Chili is great with these beans, doesn’t even need meat but of course you can add meat if you like. Just use your favorite chili recipe, even the one on the back of the packet of chili seasoning mix, then add the beans.

You could use them in bean soup too, just remember the seasonings you used when cooking and don’t try to season soup made with beans as you would with the usual bean soup recipe.

Recipe 4 – Hummus
To make hummus with these beans, place 1 cup of drained beans in a blender or food processor. Add 1 teaspoon tahini, 1 clove garlic, minced, juice of half a lime, some fresh chopped cilantro and about a Tablespoon of Braggs liquid Aminos if you like that kind of thing.

Hummus made from these beans is delicious used as a dip, but I really like it rolled up in the flat bread along with bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber and some homemade Ranch Dressing. Another simple, healthy meal.

 

There you go! 4 more delicious slow cooker recipes for your Fall Menus! 

A Simple Beef Recipe – Slow Cooker

Cooking isn’t always simple, especially if you follow complicated recipes for things like casseroles or marinated foods or even big salads with lots of ingredients. This recipe is part of my Fall Menus for the Slow Cooker.

Those 5 Ingredient recipe books have something going. The fewer ingredients the better. Or maybe the more ordinary the ingredients the better.

I made this recipe up today using simple, fresh ingredients and my Slow Cooker.  I found some beef short ribs on sale but I didn’t really want to dump barbeque sauce over them so I decided to do something a little different.  You could use other cuts of beef with this recipe, even ox tails if you cooked them and then cooled them and removed the excess fat before seasoning and finishing them.

I used red wine in this recipe but if you don’t like to use wine in cooking, you could substitute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. It won’t taste the same but it will be good.     beef ribs

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients:

2 pounds beef short ribs – this fed 4 of us with leftovers
Flour for dredging
Oil for browning
Salt and Pepper
2 cups beef broth or stock – I used a pint of home canned stock
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon whole Allspice berries
1 cup red wine – not sweet, I used a sort of dry red wine
4 carrots cut into big chunks
1 small red onion quartered

Heat the oil in a big pot, sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper, dredge them in flour and brown them in the oil.

Once they are brown you can put the ribs in a refrigerator container and refrigerate them til you are ready to cook them.

You can also cut up the carrots and onions and put them in a zip top bag with the Allspice and Bay Leaf and refrigerate it til you’re ready to use them.

When you are ready to cook the ribs, put them in the slow cooker, add the cut up carrots, onion, broth, wine, Allspice and Bay leaf.

Set the Slow Cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours or you can put it on HIGH and cook for about 6 hours. Because these cook a long time on LOW, I don’t need to use my lamp timer.  I’ll just turn it on low and leave it til I get home in the evening.

What you end up with is a fragrant, delicious sauce, tender meat that is perfectly seasoned and happy family!

Its A Beast

Ever see How The Grinch Stole Christmas? The Whovillians have a feast where they eat Roast Beast. Yes I know I rhymed there. Anyway, my children call roasts of any kind Roast Beast. This particular roasted pork is pulled and then covered with a homemade BBQ sauce. You could use bottled sauce if you like.

This recipe is so good. Its the best. Which reminds me of another story; my youngest son has a friend who sent a card to his mother when he was small and it read: “You’re the beast mom ever.”  So she is now Beast Mom. And this is The Beast Pork Roast.
grinch-roast-beast-620x465

 

 

 

 

Here is what you need for The Beast Pork Roast

4 lb bone in pork shoulder (Its important to use a pork shoulder with the bone in it because these types of roasts are much more tender than say a loin )
4 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground white pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
About 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce, I’ll share my recipe.

Put all the ingredients and the roast, but not the BBQ sauce, in a gallon sized zip top bag. Squoosh it around, place the bag in a bowl or pan and put it in the frig.

You should allow the roast to marinate in the seasonings at least over night.

Next morning or whenever you decide to cook it, pour the roast and all the seasonings into your SC. Turn the SC to LOW and allow it to cook for 8-10 hours. I’ll turn mine on at 6:30 when I leave the house and it will be done when I get home in the late afternoon. I don’t even have to use the Lamp Timer on this one!

When its done, take a couple of forks and pull the meat apart. Once you have it all shredded, add the BBQ sauce and let it cook while you’re setting the table or making a side dish.

Its very tasty on buns or just alone with mashed potatoes. YUM.

pulled pork

 

 

 

 

 

My BBQ Sauce Recipe. Its not mine because I created it its mine because I use it. I found it online at BBQ University

2 cups pineapple juice
1 to 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced ( I don’t usually use a whole jalapeno)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt (just a pinch) and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the pineapple juice, chili, ginger, and cilantro in a heavy saucepan and boil until reduced by half.

2. Stir the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Simmer the sauce until sort of thick, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Getting A Crockpot System Going – With Recipes

You cook with a crockpot right? A slow cooker? I do. I have for years and years. My Mother used to use a crock pot or slow cooker back in the 70′s ! So I am very accustomed to having Slow Cooker (SC) meals. My husband wasn’t when we got married but he warmed up to the idea of a good, hot meal ready when we got home from school and work. crockpot

With 5 children at home and as many as 4 in home school at one time I used the SC like crazy. I have worn out more SCs than most people have owned.

Right now I have a 3 quart, 4 quart and 5 quart slow cooker. I also own a 1 quart cooker that I gave to my son who lives on his own and needed a small one to prepare his dinner in while he is at work.

So this Fall I am going back to school full time. I don’t want the grocery budget to get crazy and I don’t want our nutrition to take a nose dive. To prevent all that, I am working right now on Meals, Menus and Methods for preparing dinner each day and not taking hours and hours to do it. I have lots of recipes saved on my computer and a lot of them marked in my cookbook.

Here is the plan:
Friday – make menus, pull out all my meal recipes and make my grocery list.

Saturday – shop and bring it home to put away. Once its home, I will go ahead and put together all my SC meals for the entire week. I will use zip-top plastic bags to put the meat, veggies and all the seasonings in, then refrigerate all the bags of food.

Some of the recipes need to cook 10 hours on LOW. That’s no problem, I’ll turn it on before I leave home in the morning. There are some recipes that only need to cook 6-8 hours. There are even a few that need just 4 hours of cooking on LOW. For those I will use an ordinary lamp timer plugged into the wall and the SC plugged into the timer. My SCs are not the modern ones that have timers or are programmable. The lamp timer will take up the slack there!

You can buy a lamp timer at Walmart or stores like that or you can find them on Amazon. Here is one like I have:
timer

I don’t worry about the food sitting in the SC for a while before it starts to cook because once it begins cooking it reaches a temperature that will destroy bacteria.

I will share a post periodically with a recipes I am using and the method I use to prepare it ahead of time. For the time being, here is a recipe that I have tried and we really like it:

Kale, Sausage and Potato Soup

12 oz. smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces and cooked, then cooled.
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, chopped into uniform pieces
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
5 cups chicken broth
1 large bay leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
About 6 oz kale, washed and torn into small pieces, tough stem cut away.

Cook the meat, cool. Add all ingredients except the broth to a zip top bag. Label then refrigerate.
On the morning you want to have the soup for supper, open the bag, pour all the ingredients into a 5 or 6 qt. SC. Add the chicken broth.
Turn the SC on LOW. Plug the SC into the lamp timer and set the lamp timer to come on 6 hours before supper time.
I will be leaving the house at about 6:30 a.m. so I will set the lamp timer to come on at noon. That way, the soup will cook for 6 hours on LOW.

Once we get home, the soup should be ready. For this particular recipe you can make it creamy by adding a cup of full fat milk.  I’ll either make some cornbread to go with it or we’ll have crackers and a small salad.

More Slow Cooker Recipes as I test them out:

A Simple Beef Recipe

The ‘Beast’ Pork Roast Recipe

Four More Slow Cooker Ideas