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

About Sylvia

Sylvia is the owner of the Christian HomeKeeper Network website and ministry. She and her husband Mark live in Tennessee. They are the parents of 5 children and grandparents to two so far. They have homeschooled since 1990. Sylvia is a Christian and enjoys mentoring women, writing articles for several magazines, gardening, Bible study and creating a peaceful holy home. Follow Sylvia on Google+ or check out her 21st Century HomeKeeper podcasts on the Preparedness Radio Network.

Comments

  1. This sounds delicious and my husband would love it! I do have one question. If I chop the veggies ahead and refrigerate for another day, will the potatoes turn dark? Thanks!

    • Trish, they might. If you give them a good rinse in salt water or water with lemon juice in it, they will be less likely to turn, but still they probably will a bit. I usually don’t prepare potatoes ahead unless I can leave them in salt water in the frig. I guess you could prepare them, put them in salt water and leave them separate from the other veggies til time to cook.

  2. Thanks for the recipe but the timer idea is simply brilliant. Never would I have ever thought of that, thank you!

  3. PLEASE..PLEASE! more recipes for SC. I live in South Africa and people here dont seem to use it. I do stews and soups most of the time, but need more ideas and recipes. thank you and God bless.

    • Ria, I’ll try my best to add all the recipes that work well for me. So many SC recipes just don’t work out well for me, so I like to try them a couple of times before I recommend them to others.

  4. I like your idea of planning ahead for the next week and I want to try that. I also love to use my SC. I have never been disappointed with anything made in mine. thanks for the recipe. will save it for grocery shopping day so I can get the ingredients. .

    • Thanks for stopping by Dianne, I hope to have lots more good recipes in the coming weeks.

    • I have found some klunker recipes for SCs but the recipes I share here, I’ve tried and am very satisfied with them. You’re welcome to leave your own SC recipes that have worked well for you, I’d love to see them.

  5. Thank you, Sylvia! This recipe sounds delicious! You are so smart to be planning ahead. I look forward to more SC recipes. That sounds good for busy summer days during gardening season, too.

    • You’re welcome , Kathy, I hope I can put all my recipes here on the blog as I try them out and get all the prep ideas typed out.

    • Jennifer B. says:

      Kathy, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Love my SC all year long! Sylvia, this soup sounds really good. Maybe even similar to one I like to get at an Italian restaurant I like. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more.

  6. Thank you for sharing this with us Sylvia. I will have to file this and make it for my family.

Trackbacks

  1. […] can find more slow cooker recipes here.  All my slow cooker recipes are tried and […]

  2. […] 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. […]

  3. Its A Beast says:

    […] 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 […]