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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crockpots And Recipe Sources

As you know, if you have been reading my blog awhile, I believe healthier eating is achieved at home without relying on processed, packaged or fast foods.  I also believe it is cheaper in the long run to cook than to eat out frequently.  That is why I post quick, easy recipes in an effort to inspire those of you who really don't like to cook or who may not have much cooking experience.  Remember, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up the kitchen don't have to be done by one person all the time.  Even children can and should help out and certainly men and women should be able to prepare meals.

Where do I find the recipes that I use?  Some I created but most I've collected from a variety of sources.  Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living are two of my favorite magazine sources for recipes.  They both feature light or healthy sections on cooking.  Taste of Home is another magazine devoted to recipes and cooking tips.  My favorite website is  That is my go to source whenever I'm looking for something different.  There are plenty of other good websites and magazines to check out.

Did you know that a crockpot isn't just for cheese dip?  A crockpot or slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to prepare a meal.  If you don't have one, I recommend you buy one.  My husband gave me a new one for Christmas (my family likes to give gifts that keep on giving) because my old one died in November.  It is a Hamilton Beach, 6 quart, programable slow cooker and I love it.  It has more options than my old one such as a warm setting and is super easy to use and clean.  I have two recipes to share, one I created and one that is so easy ANYONE could make it.

Cherried Chicken
2 1/2 to 3 lbs skinless chicken, legs or breasts
1 tsp. herb pepper seasoning like lemon pepper, (can be left out)
1 15 oz. can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained
1 12 oz. bottle chili sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray and place chicken in bottom.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Mix other ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken.  Cook on low 5 to 6 hours or high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 
I put this on the other morning before the kids left for school.  It took 15 minutes.  I did cook it longer, probably 7 hours and it was fine.  I served it over rice with green beans on the side.  Five ingredients - it doesn't get much easier! 

Slow Cooker Minute Steaks with Tomatoes and Carrots
4 to 6 minute steaks or cube steaks
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Mix flour and seasonings in a shallow bowl or pie plate.  Dredge minute steaks in flour mixture and brown in 1 to 2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Transfer steaks to a slow cooker lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
1 onion sliced thin
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced in 1/4 inch chunks
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 tsp. basil
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
Add sliced onion to pan and brown in remaining oil and drippings.  While onion cooks, slice carrots and sprinkle over meat in slow cooker.  Spread can of tomatoes evenly over carrots and meat.  Add onions when browned and sprinkle with spices.  Cook 6 to 7 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high heat.  Serve over mashed potatoes or rice. 
This is a recipe I created and one of my family's favorites.  Talk about comfort food!  The meat is inexpensive and just falls apart. 

Think how nice it would be to walk into your house after a day at work and smell your dinner, ready to eat!  I hope you will be inspired to try a slow cooker.  With everything in one pot, clean up is a snap too.  Happy cooking and have a good weekend. 

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