Good to Self, Good to Earth

trying on more healthy ways of being, day by day


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Crock-Pot, Where Have You Been Hiding?

crock-pot

I just discovered my new favorite thing, the crock-pot.  Everyone has always said that it is amazing but I just never really got into it because the one recipe that I did try had asked me to saute some things in a pan before putting them in the pot.  This was a DELICIOUS recipe, mind you, but I resented the fact that I had to dirty a pan anyway when the crock-pot was supposed to save me time and energy.

Well, I finally got up some nerve to “just throw a bunch of stuff in there” like people kept saying and my results were fantastic.  Now I’m looking for other people’s ideas of what to toss in there!  I work non-traditional hours providing in-home counseling services and so I sometimes don’t get home until 8:00 PM; which means, I rarely have the time or energy to cook at night.

Today around noon, I decided to pillage my fridge and freezer and then “throw a bunch of stuff” in the crock-pot as a test run.

Here is what I added to my small crock (in this order):

3 large carrots (chopped)
1 small head broccoli (cut into medium-sized florets)
1/2 cup bell peppers (diced, frozen)
1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen)
1 small onion (diced)
1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (partially thawed*, dredged in seasoned flour mixture**)
5 cups vegetable broth (Better than Bouillon + warm water)***

*Note #1:  I read somewhere online that using frozen food in the crock -pot could be a bad idea because it could increase risk of bacteria growing and making you sick.  So far I’m feeling just fine after eating this meal but I will do my best to heed this warning in the future.  Better safe than sorry!

**Note #2: My “seasoned flour mixture” was basically just a plate of flour plus a bunch of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, and black pepper all mixed together.

***Note #3: This measurement of 5 cups is not what I would necessarily recommend you stick to because it all depends on the size of your crock-pot and how much stuff you’ve got in it.  I read that you should aim to fill the pot only 1/2 – 2/3 of the way full of food and that you should just barely cover the meat/veggies with liquid.

I cooked all of this stuff on Low for about 7 hours and then removed the chicken (which was by now fully cooked) and tore it into chunks before returning it to the pot and leaving it all on Low for another hour or so.

This turned out to be a delicious chicken stew and I made some egg noodles to go with it.  YUM!

Now I’m looking for more simple ideas of what to throw in there and would love to hear from anyone who has favorite ways of using their crock-pot because I fully intend to start using it a lot more often from now on.