Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crockpot 101

As I mentioned in a recent post, I broke out the crockpot last week.
Never mind that it's consistently 75-85 degrees here.  (no complaints!!)
It's fall and I was itching to bust it out... plus there's nothing like feeling as if dinner has been prepared for you, even though you prepared it. 

Both recipes below are from my faithful red plaid Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  If you don't have one, order it immediately. Seriously. It has never failed me.  I have this pretty bridal version.

Creamy Chicken & Noodles
Prep: 25 min         Cook: 8-9 hours low OR 4 - 4 1/2 hours high
Makes: 6 main-dish servings.  (I feel like we ate it for days...)

2 C. sliced carrot (4 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (3 medium - I used less)
1 C. sliced celery (2 stalks)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
3 medium chicken legs (drumstick -thigh portion; about 2 lbs.) SKINNED - [I used 2 chicken leg-thighs and it was more than enough.  Also, the skinning a raw chicken leg almost turned me into a vegetarian. no joke. disgusting]
2 10.75-ounce cans reduced-fat & reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup [I just bought regular cream of chicken... let's be honest, is there really "reduced fat" CREAM OF CHICKEN soup? no.]
1/2 C. Water
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
10 ounces dried wide noodles (about 5 c.)
1 c. frozen peas [I left these out]
Season with salt and pepper (optional)

- In a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker (mine is 6 quarts...) place carrot, onion, celery, parsley, and bay leaf.  Place chicken (raw) on top of vegetables.  
- In a medium bowl, stir together soup, water, thyme, & 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Pour over chicken and vegetables in slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4- 4/12 hours. 
- Remove chicken from cooker before eating.  Cool slightly.  Discard bay leaf
- Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
- Stir peas (if you add them) into soup mixture in cooker. 
- Remove chicken from bones and shred/cut into bite sized pieces
- Stir the chicekn into the soup mixture in cooker.
To serve, spoon chicken mixture over noodles; toss gently to combine.  Season w/ salt and pepper to taste.
Vegetable Beef Soup
Prep: 25 minutes      Cook: 8-10 hours low or 4-5 hours high  
Makes:   6 main dish servings

1 lb. boneless beef chuck pot roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
4 C. water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables
2 c. frozen diced hash brown potatoes or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped [I did the real deal. very yummy]
1 1-ounce envelope onion soup mix (1/2 of a 2-ounce pkg.) [yes, that's straight from the recipe book... at least they're detailed! haha]
1 tsp. instant beef bouillon granules
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder

-In a large skillet, brown meat pieces in hot oil.  Drain the fat.  In a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker, place meat and remaining ingredients.  [mine is 6 quarts. still.]
- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours.    
I cooked meat and chopped veggies the night before and refrigerated those pieces.  Then, popped it all in the next morning before work. SUPER easy.

Let me know if you try them.   


  1. Huge crock pot fan here. I'll have to try these recipes. They sound like things my family would love. Thanks for sharing!!