Dinner: Crockpot

Crockpot Recipes

These recipes are great for those days you remember to start dinner early. Start in the morning, cook on low, and by dinner it’s finished! Just add rolls, fruit, etc. and you’re done!

Pot Roast
Classic Sunday dinner is easy in a crockpot. Start in the morning and it’s ready by evening. It may seem a bit complicated, but it’s worth the extra steps.

1 beef roast
potatoes
carrots
celery (option, my kids don’t like it)
onion
fresh minced garlic
beef bouillon
salt
pepper
beef gravy mix
For beef: Peel and chop potatoes into quarters. Peel and chop carrots. Wash and chop celery. Place most of the vegetables in the crockpot, leaving enough room for the roast.
Heat about 2 Tlb. oil in a large frying pan. When it is hot, pat dry your roast and place in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until outside is dark brown. Place roast on top of vegetables in crockpot. Cook the garlic in the oil, just barely, until you smell the flavor. Place on top of the beef. Peel an onion and slice. Place slices in oil. Cook over medium low heat. When it starts to brown, turn and cook on the other side. Cook as long as you want to. You can cook it until they caramelize. Place onions on top of beef.
Pack remaining vegetables around beef to fill up the crockpot. Add 2 c. water. Place 3 bouillon cubes in a plastic bag. Smash with a rolling pin. Sprinkle over the top of beef and vegetables. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place lid on crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours. Check after about 5-6 hours to see if it needs more water.
About half hour before you’re ready to serve, remove as much broth as you can from the crockpot. Strain through a gravy strainer. Measure. Add enough water to have enough for the gravy recipe. Make the gravy according to directions. Either serve on the side or pour over the meat on the final meat.
Plating ideas: Remove vegetables from crockpot. Put in a serving bowl. Remove beef and put on a serving plate. Slice. Pour gravy over meat, if you want. Place a few vegetables around the meat.

Beef Stew
This hearty meal is a real crowd pleaser. I just serve it with crackers and fruit and call it a complete meal!

You will need:
1-2 lb. stew beef
several russet potatoes
several carrots
2-4 stalks celery
1/2 to 1 white onion
2-4 cloves garlic
salt (I prefer sea salt)
pepper (I prefer fresh ground pepper)
beef gravy mix
2 Tlb. oil
First of all, sorry for the vague measurements. Crockpots vary in size, and people vary in what vegetables they like and what ratio of vegetables they like. Use this as a guide.
Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in crock pot. Peel and slice carrots. Place in crockpot. Wash and slice celery. Place in crockpot.
Pat stew beef dry on paper towels. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot, add stew beef, a little at a time. Cook on all sides until browned. Place in crock pot on top of vegetables. Continue searing beef until all beef is finished and in crockpot.
Peel and slice onion. Place onion slices in skillet. You may need to turn down the heat a bit. You want the onion to start to caramelize but not burn. When onions are browned, place on top of beef in the crock pot.
Peel, dice, and smash several cloves of garlic (more or less depending on your likes). Place garlic in hot skillet, stir quickly, and remove. You just want to cook it long enough to begin to smell it, but not burn it. Place on top of onions and beef in crock pot.
Add more vegetabes if you want. Add in enough water to just cover everything. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough water to cover.
About half hour to 45 minutes before serving, use a baster to remove some of the broth from the crock pot. Place it in a bowl. Remove about 1 c. of liquid. Whisk in brown gravy mix (anywhere from 1/4 c. for a small batch of stew to 1/2 c. for a larger batch). Pour back into pot and slowly stir it in. It won’t thicken immediately, but if it just seems too thin, repeat removing liquid and whisking in more beef gravy mix. Cover pot and finish cooking until thick.
Make ahead tip: I make a large batch and then freeze the left overs in resealable containers. Simply microwave and you have an easy lunch or dinner.


Pork Roast
1 pork roast
potatoes
carrots
onion
fresh garlic
salt
pepper
pork gravy mix
Peel and chop potatoes into quarters. Place into crockpot. Peel and chop carrots into good sized chunks. Layer on top of potatoes. Place pork roast on top. Place additional potatoes and carrots around the pork. Peel and quarter an onion. Place around pork. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper. Add about 2 c. water. Put lid on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until pork is tender.
Check at about 5 hours and make sure there is enough water.
About half hour before you serve, remove broth from crockpot. Strain through a gravy strainer and measure. Add enough water to have enough for your gravy packet. Make gravy according to package directions. Serve on the side.



Taco Soup
This can be prepared in a crockpot with dry beans, or use canned beans and make on the stove top. Prep time on the stove top: 1 hour.
You will need:
1-2 pounds dry beans (I use a mix of kidney, black, garbanzo, white, and pinto)
1 taco seasoning packet, or 1/4 from a bulk container
2 c. frozen corn, or 2 cans corn
1-2 cans diced tomatoes
1-2 cans tomato sauce
To serve:
grated cheddar cheese
diced green onion
sour cream
tortilla chips
To assemble:
If you can, the night before, place beans in crockpot. Cover with several inches of water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse. If you didn’t start the night before, just rinse the beans and place in crockpot. Try to start early in the day if you didn’t soak the beans the night before.
Cover beans with several inches of water. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until beans are cooked and tender. Drain beans. Rinse. Rinse out crockpot.
Place beans back in crockpot. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasoning packet. Cover with water and stir. Soup should be fairly thick. Add more water if it is too thick. Cook on high to heat soup. When soup is bubbly, turn to low until ready to serve.
About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add drained corn or frozen corn. Adjust seasonings adding more taco seasoning if necessary. Add more water if soup is too thick.
Serve in bowls topped with cheese, sour cream, onions, and tortilla chips. Can serve additional chips on the side.
Stove top directions: if using canned beans, assemble soup about an hour before dinner. Open and drain several cans of your favorite beans. Place in a large pot. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasoning. Cover with water and stir. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Right before you serve, add corn, adjust seasonings and thickness.
Note on cooking beans in a crockpot: Beans turn out better if you cook them on the stove and then add them to a crockpot recipe. Cook beans according to package directions. You can also start the beans on the stove top, bring to a boil, and then place in crockpot in the morning. The more time you let the beans cook the better it turns out. You can even start your beans in boiling water on the stove top the night before, add to the crockpot and cook on low overnight. If you do this, make sure to add plenty of water before you go to bed.


Easy BBQ Chicken
It’s so good you’d never know how easy it is!
1 crockpot liner
several boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 jar your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Line crockpot with liner. Place chicken breasts in crockpot. Top with BBQ Sauce. You’ll use the whole jar. You can add a little water to the jar, shake, and pour that in too. Cover crockpot and cook for about 1 hour on high and 6-8 hours on low.  You want to let this cook until the chicken falls apart and is very tender.
When chicken is cooked, you can pull it for sandwiches, or just serve it whole or in pieces.


BBQ Pork or Beef
Cook as much as your crockpot will hold. Freeze the left overs for fast lunches or dinners!
1-2 beef roasts or pork roasts
Your favorite BBQ sauce
1 crockpot liner
Place beef or pork roasts in crockpot. Cover with water. Add salt. Cook on high for an hour and then turn to low. Cook for 6-8 hours or until meat falls apart.
Remove meat from crockpot. Discard water or strain and keep it as a broth. Clean out crockpot and put in crockpot liner. (I use a liner whenever I use BBQ sauce to keep from getting that awful black crusty stuff on the side.)
Using two forks, shred meat. Return to crockpot. Add BBQ sauce and stir. You will use the whole jar, and maybe more. Heat on low until ready to serve.
Bag leftovers in ziplock freezer bags. Press flat and remove air. Label and freeze for later use.
Make ahead tips: Cook as much as your crockpot will hold. Freeze the left overs for fast lunches or dinners! Package the leftovers for individual sandwiches, or as much as you would need for a dinner so you have just enough for next time.


13 (or 16) Bean Soup
This soup is surprisingly good, and even my kids eat it! Perfect for a cold winter night.
You will need:
1 ham bone (get from a grocer, or save from a spiral cut ham and freeze)
several slices of ham, thick cut
1-2 pounds 13 (or 16) bean mixture
1-2 cans diced tomatoes
1-2 cans tomato sauce
salt
pepper
To assemble:
If you can, the night before, place beans in crockpot. Cover with several inches of water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse. If you didn’t start the night before, just rinse the beans and place in crockpot. Try to start early in the day if you didn’t soak the beans the night before.
Cover beans with several inches of water. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until beans are cooked and tender. Drain beans. Rinse. Rinse out crockpot.
Place beans back in crockpot. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and ham. Cover with water and stir. Soup should be fairly thick. Add more water if it is too thick. Cook on high to heat soup. Taste soup. Add salt and pepper if needed. When soup is bubbly, turn to low until ready to serve.
Note on cooking beans in a crockpot: Beans turn out better if you cook them on the stove and then add them to a crockpot recipe. Cook beans according to package directions. You can also start the beans on the stove top, bring to a boil, and then place in crockpot in the morning. The more time you let the beans cook the better it turns out. You can even start your beans in boiling water on the stove top the night before, add to the crockpot and cook on low overnight. If you do this, make sure to add plenty of water before you go to bed.


Black Bean Soup
Simple, yet amazingly good. My kdis eat it up! You can also use canned beans and make this on the stove top. See notes.
1-2 pounds black beans
1-2 large container chicken broth (or water and bouillion cubes, 1 per cup of water)
1-2 cups diced grilled chicken
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can diced green chilis
1-2 tsp. onion powder
1-2 tsp. garlic powder or several Tlb. minced fresh garlic
If you like you can add (to taste):
cumin
diced jalapenos
hot pepper sauce
To top:
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tortilla chips

If you can, the night before, place beans in crockpot. Cover with several inches of water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse. If you didn’t start the night before, just rinse the beans and place in crockpot. Try to start early in the day if you didn’t soak the beans the night before.
Cover beans with several inches of water. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until beans are cooked and tender. Drain beans. Rinse. Rinse out crockpot.
Place beans back in crockpot, or start with canned, drained and rinsed beans.  Add enough chicken broth to cover the beans. Add chilis, onion powder, garlic or garlic powder, and if you’re using them, put in the cumin, diced jalapenos, and hot sauce. Cook until heated.
In the mean time, grill chicken and chop into chunks. Right before serving, add enchilada sauce and chicken. Heat and serve.
Have cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and chips out for people to top their soup with.
To make on stove top: In large pot, place opened, drained and rinsed canned beans, enough chicken broth to cover, chilis, onion powder, garlic or garlic powder, and cumin, jalapenos and hot sauce if you’re using them. Cook until hot. Add chicken and enchilada sauce about 20 minutes before serving.
Note on cooking beans in a crockpot: Beans turn out better if you cook them on the stove and then add them to a crockpot recipe. Cook beans according to package directions. You can also start the beans on the stove top, bring to a boil, and then place in crockpot in the morning. The more time you let the beans cook the better it turns out. You can even start your beans in boiling water on the stove top the night before, add to the crockpot and cook on low overnight. If you do this, make sure to add plenty of water before you go to bed.


Tuscan White Bean Soup
This soup is so aromatic your home will smell wonderful all day. It’s warm, hearty, and homey. Try it on a cold winter day and you’ll be surprised and just how good it is.
10 c. chicken broth
6 oz. smoked bacon, diced or 1 c. diced ham
16 oz. dried great northern beans, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh rosemary sprig or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. black pepper
For best results, rinse and soak beans night before.
If using bacon, cook bacon in medium skillet over medium-high heat until just cooked; drain, crumble, and transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients.
Cover and cook on Low 8 hours or until beans are tender. Remove and discard rosemary sprig before serving.
If desired, place some of the soup in a blender, blend well, and add back to the soup before serving.
Makes 8-10 servings
Fast method: use canned beans instead of dry. Cook time will be about 3-4 hours.

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