Who said weekday dinners had to be boring? The way to keep them fresh and fun just requires a little preparation. Stock your kitchen with staples like whole-wheat pasta, organic fish, poultry, meats, and organic fruits and vegetables (go frozen if you can't buy fresh). Then, either cook double on the weekends when you have time, so you don't have to worry about your meals during the week, or use your slow cooker.
Freeze the food properly in Tupperware freezer containers so your foods will not develop “freezer burn”. My DVD recipe organizer has a video demonstration with Freezer Tricks that will teach you how to do it correctly.
I have been a big advocate of freezing doubled meals ahead for many years.
Recently, I gave my Crockpot a second look while putting it away after using it for cholent for Shabbos. I remembered an old recipe I had that is in my book, NOT JUST A COOKBOOK, entitled Shipwreck Stew. It was a delicious meal I prepared on those cold days when my children were much younger and my schedule was more hectic. I would put all the recipe ingredients in the pot right after my children left for school. I would plug it in to cook for eight hours and forget about it!
No matter what kind of busy day I had, I knew I would have a nutritious meal ready for my “crew” that evening. I could be involved in any myriad of school activities, or my Tupperware business, and not feel pressured to rush back home to cook supper.
I decided to try another recipe I had acquired using chicken, Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken. This time I tried using the Slow-cooker on HIGH which would cook the recipe in 4-5 hours. It could also cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. I added sweet potatoes, halved. The recipe was delicious!
The entire house had the most wonderful aroma. When a family member dropped by in the afternoon, he inquired what was I cooking that smelled so good? This recipe will now become my “go to” recipe when I have little time to prepare a meal.
I used a whole chicken, while only needing a half. The next day, I used the cooked chicken in another recipe I would also like to share that one with you, Speedy Ziti with Zesty Chicken. This flavorful pasta dish calls for cooked chicken you can make beforehand, so you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Dijon mustard, onion, and parsley add a mouth-watering kick to easy-to-prep ziti so you and your family can look forward to a delicious meal in no time! In lieu of cooking again, just cut up the cooked chicken, put it on top of a large fresh salad and enjoy!
There are several points to follow when using a slow cooker. Most of the people I speak to never remember to keep the instructions from their appliances. It would be a good idea to keep a file with all those booklets together in one place for future reference, should you need it. It is important to refer to your instruction booklet often until you are completely sure of its proper use.
Remember that many vegetables benefit from slow cooking and are able to develop their full flavor. They tend not to overcook in your slow cooker as they might in your oven or on your stovetop. When cooking recipes with vegetables and meat, place vegetables in the slow cooker before the meat. Vegetables usually cook slower than meat in the slow cooker. Place your vegetables near the sides or bottom of the stoneware to facilitate cooking.
Please let me know how you enjoyed them.
Click here for more slow cooker recipe ideas.