Crock Pot Recipes from Apron Free Cooking
Party Hot Crab DipThis was a popular dish at our family gathering for Christmas Eve! I’ll be serving it for other holiday gatherings going forward. The leftover dip works well on bagels or English Muffins for a light breakfast or lunch. I spread the cold dip on a toasted muffin.
MeatballsThis is a Christmas Eve family favorite. Definitely no leftovers coming home! The holidays are a time full of traditions. Some are focused around society, religion, family, and cultures. Other traditions evolve from the need for new habits, combining cultures and a few happen just by accident. That’s the case with my family. We have some traditions that have been honored for many, many years. We put up a Christmas tree and exchange gifts. Those are long standing, popular traditions. In recent years, we began the habit of gathering on Christmas Eve as one large group. This allowed individual families the chance to establish their own Christmas morning traditions. This Christmas Eve gathering started as a potluck, with each family bringing snacks to share. I typically contributed a meat and cheese tray, meatballs or some other dish. One year, I didn’t have the meatballs and opted to have another dish instead. I have no idea what that dish was, but let me tell you, it wasn’t meatballs. And I heard about it. The whole family was looking for the crock pot with the meatballs. They asked me if I’d forgotten. They whined and begged. The new tradition, quite by accident, for our Christmas Eve meal, I prepare meatballs. I guess I didn’t realize how much this one buffet item meant to my family.
Ham and Bean SoupCool fall weather makes me think of soups. After spending time in the yard, working on those “prep for winter” jobs, it’s nice to come in the house to a pot of hot and hearty soup. My crock pot never truly gets put away. It lives on a shelf in the kitchen that’s easily accessible and I use it all year round. I just use the crock pot a whole lot more in the fall! We seem to eat more chili in the fall than any other time of the year. We also start eating a lot more soups in the fall. There’s something comforting about a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich that chases away fall’s chill. While chili is a great way to fill up the family, sometimes we’re looking for a different flavor. This ham and bean soup is a great alternative. It’s thick enough to be filling, yet mild flavored so folks who aren’t into spicy can enjoy it
Irish Parliament Bean SoupRecipe attributed to Meg O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Melbourne, Florida. If you've ever eaten in an Irish pub, you know they are full of character. This particular pub is a great place to stop if you're in Melbourne, FL. We had a wonderful time there! They have a bean soup on the menu, and this recipe is supposed to be the eact recipe. I'm not sure, but it tastes good and makes a huge quantity!
Quick Ham Soup Beans and CornbreadCold and rainy weather here this last week prompted me to pull out the crock pot and cook up some warm foods. We had a couple mornings this last week that were completely gray and drizzly. The kind of day that makes a person want to stay in bed. Since most of us don’t have that option, crock pot meals are one way to look forward to the end of the day. My crock pots get a lot of use, since our region has more than its share of dreary weather days. This recipe is relatively small as my crock pot recipes go, however, it’s easy enough to double or quadruple it as needed. This recipe serves four under normal circumstances. I’d say it serves only two hard working, cold to the bone people.
Paula’s Vegetable Beef ChiliPaula grew up working on a farm with her family. Paula married a farmer and they raised two boys. She knows how to fees hungry men! The trick with this recipe is that it’s so hearty, without using any chili beans.
No Fuss ChiliSome days, you just don’t have the energy or the time to make much effort at all to cook supper. I developed this recipe one weekend when I was sick, and had spent most of my time lying on the sofa. It turns out to be a great one for the files! A minimum of effort and plenty of taste!
Prize Winning Red ChiliJanuary is a month for watching the budget. For one thing, I’m trying to recover from all the holiday extravagance and excess. For another, I’m looking ahead to manage the yearly budget. It seems like every year, I plan to do better managing the money. I get a bit crazy with all kinds of money saving ideas. We try to set small goals and identify the steps to reach them. I try to do what I can to help, since balancing the check book isn’t my strong point; I save money in other ways. Fixing budget friendly soups that can stretch over several meals is one thing I am good at. It also helps that during a cold month like January, a hearty bowl of soup is a welcome suppertime item! Not only are we eating a budget friendly food, but it’s one we like. Last fall, I entered this chili recipe in a local chili cook off. I was surprised to win the top honor! Since this makes a large crock-pot full of chili, we’re usually able to make it last for a few days worth of lunches after our initial supper. I’ve also started freezing some of the leftovers for future use. The easiest way I’ve found is by placing two cup servings in zip top bags and lying them flat to freeze. I mark on the bag with a black felt tip pen the name and date. These flat bags stack neatly in the freezer and the two cup size makes a perfect single serving.
Noel’s White Chicken ChiliSometimes I’m looking for a hearty, warm meal without the spices of chili. I had a white chili at a friend’s house one night and knew that I needed to make it again. Since I forgot to ask her for the recipe, I made up my own. It turned out pretty good.
No Bean ChiliCold weather. Snow. Temperatures in single digits. That’s been our weather in Ohio lately. Not bad considering it is January and it’s really only been cold like this for a week all winter. But those factors all added together make me crave chili. I want a big Crock Pot of hot, steamy, thick, chili. My favorite recipes call for beans. Now, I like beans in my chili. But my husband does not. That leaves me with three options. 1.Eat all the chili myself. – not a good idea. 2.Cross chili off the menu altogether. – not a good idea. 3.Make a chili without beans. – it can be done.
Easy Beef Stew to Beat the ColdTemperatures are dropping into the 30s overnight. The leaves are dropping from the trees. The animals are getting fuzzy with winter coats. Soon it will be time to turn the furnace on instead of just adding another blanket to the bed. We were talking about prepping the house for winter the other day and there are a few things to do yet. We need to bring in the wicker porch furniture and garden hose. We’ll most likely have to run the mower a few more times to mulch the dropped leaves. Take a look around your yard, I’ll bet you have some similar chores. We plan to take advantage of these moderate October days to work on that list. It’s one thing to work on the winter prep list when the weather is cool and quite another if we wait too long and those days turn into damp and miserable! On days like these, supper is best when it’s a hot meal that will warm us up after working hard in the cold. We’ve had some soups and casseroles lately that fit that bill. But a thick beef stew with biscuits sure is appealing on crisp fall days. It’s nice to come inside from working out in the cool air and have dinner all ready. I don’t mind cooking, but if I can make it easier on myself, but having the slow cooker do the work while I’m on to another task, that’s a good deal. I like to mix up some quick rise biscuits or open a “pop it” type refrigerated biscuits and bake them. Again, keeping it easy on myself when I’ve got a full list of chores! A few other winter prep tasks that are on our chore list include: changing the furnace filter, checking batteries in the smoke detectors, pulling the snow shovels out of storage, and making sure we’ve got a start supply of ice melt. It seems like the icy front steps always take me by surprise the first two times each year.
Beef and NoodlesCooler weather means supper needs to be warm as well as filling. Beef and noodles fit the bill. Now, you may be an old hand at beef and noodle dinners. I know there’s a few churches around that host a beef and noodle supper. Those events are always very popular. I had not eaten beef and noodles, let alone made a batch, until a few years ago. Somehow I always ended up at the church’s pancake supper and my family didn’t eat many mashed potatoes. The connection is that in this region, beef and noodles are served over a bowl of mashed potatoes. So my menu had been lacking. Once I discovered how delicious a bowl of beef and noodles over potatoes was, I had to try a recipe. Then, when I learned how easy the recipe was, I wondered why on earth I was just learning about this food! I like to use a beef roast, hopefully, one I’ve been able to find on sale. In this economy, the farther I can stretch my grocery budget, the better. My husband likes both the economic side of this menu almost as much as he likes the flavor side. And he’s a big fan of beef! This meal is satisfying on several levels. It’s warm. It’s easy on the grocery budget. It’s full of old fashioned flavor. It may bring back memories. It fills you up. Unless you’re feeding a teenager, one serving will be enough for most of the family. If you’re feeding the football team, or any group of teenagers, you may want to double this recipe and fill up two crock pots. They’ll put a good dent in the food, but go away happy and you’ll still be able to afford the house payment!
Mediterranean ChickenWe eat a lot of chicken. Its budget friendly, available, and we like it. We also eat a lot of pasta dishes, for all the same reasons. This recipe combines both of those main ingredients.
Pot RoastMy husband’s favorite meal is pot roast. When I fix this recipe, I use my largest crockpot and toss in extra meat and vegetables above the quantity listed. That way he can eat as much as he likes and we’ll still have leftovers for a second meal.
Shredded ChickenIn my part of the country, shredded chicken sandwiches can be found at nearly every potluck. They are served at church dinners, office lunches, graduation parties, wedding receptions, baby showers, school concession stands and even the V.F.W. post suppers.
Pork and SauerkrautNew Years Day brings many traditional meals to tables across the country. In areas that have a German influence, pork and sauerkraut are said to bring good luck in the new year. For that reason, you’ll find it a popular meal.
Red Potatoes and Green BeansThis is a classic side dish. Due to the mild flavor, it compliments most main dishes. In many homes, farm wives start this side dish on Sunday mornings. The meal cooks while they attend Sunday School and church, ready to eat when they get home at dinner time.
Cowboy BeansYears ago while I was visiting my aunt who lives in Texas, she served a dish called Cowboy Beans at supper. I liked it but didn’t ask for a copy of the recipe, so after I returned home, I recreated the recipe according to memory.
How to transport your crockpotWe’re coming into the holiday season and many people host gatherings that include pot luck or carry in dinners. Having participated in many pot luck dinners over the years, I’ve learned a few do’s and don’ts for transporting crock pots.
All the recipes have been written for larger slow cookers, the 4.5 quart size. If you have a larger pot, you’ll have no problem with the quantities used in these recipes. If you have a smaller, 1.5 to 3 quart pot, you’ll need to adjust the portions, or mix ingredients in another pan, and portion the correct amount into the slow cooker.
In keeping with the Apron Free Cooking spirit of Convenience Cooking, these recipes are intended to make your time in the kitchen easier. We have busy lives that are full of activities. If you want to spend all day in the kitchen, please do so because you choose to. If you don’t have time for marathon cooking, then don’t get stressed out. Use these tips and Apron Free Cooking recipe to get supper on the table.