Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore (Recipe Included)

This week's main crock pot meal was Chicken Cacciatore from page 29 of one of my very favorite cookbooks: FIX-IT and FORGET-IT LIGHTLY : Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow Cooker Honestly, I don't think I've ever eaten cacciatore, but the ingredients sounded good enough so I gave it a whirl. Who could go wrong with chicken, mushrooms, and tomatoes! (No, I'm not leading up to a disaster story. It was actually very good!)

Here's how it all went down...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Make Your Own Chicken Stock

Today we had plans to go out to dinner and run a few errands after work, so I didn't need to actually cook dinner. But I did want to use my crock pot today to pre-cook some chicken that I'll need for future recipes I want to try, and the bonus is that this means I made my own chicken stock! There are a lot of variations out there for how to do this, but I used the 5 Dollar Dinners version (another great blog that I follow) as my inspiration. And let me just say, I ended up craving chicken all day because it smelled so good! Here's how it went down...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Peach Cobbler (Recipe Included)

This week, I was ready to venture into the world of cooking dessert in the crock pot. Again, who knew a crock pot could be so versatile. What I'm learning to love and appreciate, is that a crock pot really works like a portable oven. And on a day when I had the air conditioning running, the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven. So dessert in the crock pot was perfect! I got out the cook books and what I learned was that a lot of dessert recipes seem to call for apples. I'll have to try one of those some other time. But for tonight, we had cobbler!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chicken and Noodles (Recipe Included)

I'm slacking already at keeping up with my posts! Today's meal is really from Wednesday night's dinner. Maybe it was a subconscious thing - I thought it was good, but not great. So maybe I wasn't in such a hurry to post it. Either way, I need to stay on top of these things. :-)

This meal was from a new site - Campbell's Kitchen. Yep, that's Campbell's as in Campbell's soup. I figured many recipes call for using soup of some sort, so I took a peak at what they had to offer and found this chicken and noodle meal. There are many slow cooker recipes on their site, so I think I'll be trying more, but here's how this meal went down.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Salmon with Dry Rub (Recipe Included)

I am so excited to be finding some fantastic new recipes and truly expanding what I thought a crock pot could do. We have been wanting to have salmon for dinner (I keep some in the freezer from Costco) so I set out to find a recipe that would allow me to cook it in the crock pot. I logged back into one of my new favorite crock pot blogs (Year of Slow Cooking) over the weekend, and wouldn't you know it, the flash back to her 2008 daily posts had Salmon as the recipe for March 20. So...we gave it a try tonight and I have to say the results were amazing!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole (Recipe Included)

I honestly hadn't thought of making breakfast in my crock pot until last night. I was going to play Bunko with some friends today at noon, and it was a potluck. So rather than picking up the "standard" stuff on my way there, I thought "This is a great opportunity for a crock pot adventure!" So I got out my cookbooks, and although there were breakfast/brunch sections, the choices were few. So I checked out this other crock pot blog that one of my friends recommended, and I'm SO EXCITED to try out a bunch of her recipes. (I definitely recommend her blog:

So...from that, I set out to make my first crock pot breakfast...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Turkey Chili - Easy way to have success

Okay - don't count on 4 posts a day. It's just "getting started" day. :-)

Today's crock pot meal was a yummy turkey chili. Now, for those of you in Houston, you might wonder why I didn't cook this yesterday when we were having a cooler, rainy day - but instead waited until it was beautiful outside. I know chili is customarily a cold-weather meal, but this recipe made it worth it (and besides, we were still finishing up leftovers last night). 

Let me start by saying, it's amazing what happens when you (mostly) follow the recipe.

My First Two Meals

So, even though I got my crock pot for Christmas I only started using my crock pot a few weeks ago. So, it's easy to bring you all up to speed with my experience so far. I've used it only twice before today (I'll post about the results of today's meal separately). I would say that each of those attempts was good, but not great. But I'm sure that the lessons I learned from those first two attempts will save me many future heartaches.

My Crock Pot

So, I thought I should start by sharing which crock pot I have. This was on my wish list this past year for Christmas, and thanks to my in-laws, I am the proud owner of the  Hamilton Beach 33134 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks.
What I love about it is that it came with 3 different size bowls - 2 qt, 4 qt and 6qt. As I'm starting to check out recipes, I've found that size matters. So, having the flexibility to use a smaller or larger bowl is great! One of the things I'm learning is that it is best to make sure the crock pot is at least 2/3 full. If it's filled less than that, it starts to burn. I don't know yet what happens if it's more than that (I don't think I should try and find out either). So, having the flexibility of different sizes without purchasing 3 different crock pots (and then finding a place to store them) is awesome!

And besides, the muted colors of the bowls look really cute. :-)

Why I started this blog

This is my very first blog...ever. Not just for Crock Pot Virgin...but ever. So, why start a blog now? Well...I've been wanting to (ever since watching the movie Julie and Julia I imagine - great movie by the way!) but never really had anything worth writing about. Then, I started to post comments on Facebook when I made my first meal. And my friends were very supportive of helping me ease into this crock pot thing, and wanted to know what recipes I was trying, etc. So I thought - ding ding ding! Let's start a blog!