You’ll see in my menu plan this week that I am planning on bringing back dinner. The midday meal of yesteryear! Whether a larger midday meal works for your family or not, crock pot cooking is extremely convenient. So, if you are a “High for 4 hours” or a “Low for 8 hours” kind of gal, read on!
In theory, if I can plan ahead and get dinner (otherwise known as “lunch” :)) in the crock pot in the morning, either before or during breakfast prep, this should work like a dream. Think about it! This will mean that the bulk of the supper prep dishes that are usually staring at me (and often laughing) when I come downstairs after tucking the kids in will be done before noon. Oh, that sounds so good.
The problem with crock pot cooking is that it can mean a lot of trial and error to find recipes your family loves. And, if you are into eating real food, like we are, it can be difficult to find truly healthy crock pot dishes. No canned cream soups allowed! The following are some of my favorite sources for real food crock pot dishes:
- Soups and stews – Just about any of your favorite soups and stews can be modified to cook in the crock pot. If you plan to use ground beef, brown it before putting it in your crock pot. Beans will need to be cooked ahead of time, or use canned, if you plan to eat the soup at noon. If you plan to cook a cream soup in the crock pot, don’t add the cream or milk in the beginning. If you add it about half an hour before serving, the results should be delicious.
- Large Family Logistics – Kim Brenneman (who inspired me to use my crock pot more for the lunch meal!) has five yummy recipes specifically for the crock pot. If you are not into eating meat, or are looking to save money by eating fewer meals with meat, these can easily be converted to meatless as well. Also, check her easy lunches here.
- Make It Fast, Cook It Slow – Stephanie O’Dea is a wonderful writer in addition to being a fantastic source of amazing crock pot recipes. I happen to own both of her cookbooks, but all of those recipes, and many more, are available on her website. And, bonus – they are also gluten-free!
- Nourishing Crock Pot Carnival – Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking hosted a Nourishing Crock Pot Carnival back in 2009. Who knew I would still be loving it in 2012! There are definitely treasures in this link up.
These should absolutely be enough to inspire and motivate you to drag out your crock pot or to add a few new recipes to your usual line-up. Come back here and let me know if you find any gems! Or, just post your favorite recipe for us all right here in the comments.
I’ll be sharing this post with the readers over at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Good Cheap Eats.