February 2014 Article

Slow Cooking for Speedy Lives

Cooking healthy, home-made meals is great, but it’s also very time-consuming and not always a possibility with the speedy lives we live today. Fortunately for us, there is the little kitchen appliance that can – a Slow Cooker aka Crockpot. I know, I side-eyed my own crockpot when I first started seeing articles on how these appliances can make mealtime a breeze. I thought for sure these were expert chefs somehow bending these machines to their will. But the key to success with these meals is careful measuring and planning ahead.

Breakfast – Overnight Oatmeal

This one comes from Chef Alton Brown and I’ve seen it praised in numerous online articles. As someone who is picky about her oatmeal, I vouch for its amazingness! Or maybe it’s just waking up and having breakfast already done that I like best. Probably, it’s a combo of the two!

The ingredients are really simple – steal cut oats, water, dried fruit of your choice, and some half-and-half. Oh and the slow cooker of course. Cook time is about 9 hours but you’re sleeping so you don’t even notice it pass on by.

For the full recipe, click the link below to see it on foodnetwork.com.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/overnight-oatmeal-recipe/index.html

Lunch – Chicken Breast for Salads or Sandwiches

The nice thing about this one is that you can use either fresh or frozen chicken breasts, whichever is currently cheaper. You do have to be careful not to overcook the chicken using this method.

For fresh, stack in all your breasts, pour a 1/2 cup water or chicken broth on top, then cook on low for 5 hours. If the temperature has not yet reached 170 degrees F, then cook for another half hour and check again. The most it should cook is 6 hours – after that, they begin to lose their moisture.

For frozen, stack in all your breasts, pour a 1/2 cup water or chicken broth on top, then cook on low for 8 hours. If the temperature has not yet reached 170 degrees F, then cook for another half hour and check again. The most it should cook is 9 hours – after that, they begin to lose their moisture.

Dinner – Cheeseburger Mac Attack

This is sure to be a kid pleaser! And parents will like it for the hidden veggies and the swapping of turkey for beef. Prep time is only 5 minutes and the cook time is 6 hours. The list of ingredients and cooking instructions are on foodnetwork.com at the link below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cheeseburger-mac-attack-recipe/index.html

Tailgating – Georgia Pulled Pork Barbeque

I felt there needed to be one final recipe, and maybe the most important for our die-hard sports fans out there. This one makes me hungry just thinking about it! Tender pork in a homemade sauce sitting on a bun and just waiting to be devoured! Most of the ingredients are staples in a southern home which helps to keep the cost of this meal down. Prep time takes about 25 minutes and the cooking time is 12 hours, but oh just imagine how wonderful your house will smell when it’s done!

You can see the full recipe and cooking instructions on foodnetwork.com using the link below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/slow-cooker-georgia-pulled-pork-barbeque-recipe/index.html

Enjoy!!
~ Jessica

 

Links to Online Resources:

Food Network Slow-Cooker Recipes

Pinterest Slow Cooker Recipes

Easy Crock Pot Chicken Recipes from About.com

Southern Food Crockpot Recipes from About.com

A Year of Slow Cooking by Stephanie O’Dea

Links to Books: (see if your library has them first)

Crock-Pot 365 Year-Round Recipes

Slow Cooker Revolution

Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2

E-Book – Crockpot Recipes for Kindle

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