Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baking Naked

I am a big fan of food. I like to eat. I put high value on family meals, sitting down together to enjoy good food and sharing about our day. I also have a new born. This is one of the times in my life I am trying to reconcile my "wants" with my reality. Some days, my kids survive on string cheese foraged from the fridge and apples stolen from the the fruit basket. Not exactly the type of sit down, balanced fair that I had pictured in my mind.

My life gets crazier as the day progresses, with peak insanity striking my home about 5:30. Poor Matt, who usually find himself walking through the door at a bit before 6, is rarely greeted by the smell of cooking dinner , the sight of a clean home with children quietly playing. More often he has to shove the train track out of the way with one foot while opening the door, try and find at least one of the children' pants and help himself to a string cheese to prevent starvation.

My oven was made some time during the Carter administration. It cooks food just fine while heating up my kitchen to almost unbearable temperatures. It gets so hot on the OUTSIDE that my children are not allowed in my kitchen while I am cooking. This is nice in the winter, when the temperature of the kitchen tiles turns my toes into 10 little ice cubes. Now, during the heat of the summer, I have to wait until a rare cool day to bake or be forced to bake naked to keep from getting heat stroke.

Enter the CROCK POT. This has been my answer, along with my grill, to keeping my family fed at least part of the time. My friend Heather Stock posted this list and I thought I  would share it with anyone else who might find themselves relating to the madness that hits a home around. Each one makes 2 dinners and goes straight from freezer into pot. Pair with a salad and call it a meal. After all, you don't want it getting around that mommy bakes naked.

Freezer to Crockpot Dinners

Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches
8 chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans pineapple rings
2 red peppers thinly sliced
1 large onion thinly sliced
provolone cheese
buns or lettuce wraps

Directions: divide all contents evenly between two bags (except cheese and buns).  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve chicken/pepper/onion mixture with melted provolone on buns or in lettuce wraps.

BBQ Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts
2 bottles favorite bbq sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. garlic powder

Directions: Divide all ingredients evenly between 2 freezer bags.  Cook  on low 4-6 hours.

Thai Pork w/ Peanut Sauce
4 lbs boneless pork loin, fat trimmed cut into large pieces
4 red peppers, cut into strips
1 cup prepared Teriyaki sauce
4 T. rice vinegar
2 t. red pepper flakes
garlic head, chopped
4-6 T creamy peanut butter
optional garnishes: chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, lime slices.

Directions: Divide all ingredients evenly into 2 freezer bags (EXCEPT peanut butter!).  Cook on low 8-9 hours.  Before serving remove pork and shred.  Add peanut butter and stir to dissolve.  Add pork back in slow cooker.  Serve over rice with garnishes.

Savory Pepper Steak
3 lbs round steak cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 large onion roughly chopped
head of garlic chopped
1-2 red peppers sliced
1-2 green peppers sliced
2 16 oz cans italian style tomatoes
2 T. beef bouillon
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T steak seasoning
1/2 cup steak sauce
Directions: Toss steak in seasoned flour mixture.  Divide evenly into the two bags.  Mix seasoning, sauces and bouillon in small bowl.  Divide evenly between two bags.  Add can of tomatoes in each bag.  Divide onions and peppers between two bags.  Cook on low for 7 or 8 hours.

Salsa Verde Pork
4 lbs pork sirloin or loin roast
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 16 oz jar Salsa Verde
2 4 oz cans diced green chilies
2 t. ground cumin

Directions: Combine ingredients and divide evenly between two freezer bags.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Shred pork and stir back in the sauce.  Serve with tortillas or shells.  Top with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Fiesta Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 cans corn drained or large bag frozen corn
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
2 small jars salsa or 2 cans of Rotel
2 cans cream of chicken soup (add later!)

Directions: Divide chicken, corn, beans, salsa and taco seasoning evenly between two bags.  Freeze.  Place contents of bag in crockpot and add cream of chicken soup.  Cook on low 7-8 hours.  Serve over brown rice.  Top with cheese.

Teriyaki Chicken
2 small bags baby carrots
1 onion roughly chopped
2 large cans pineapples (undrained)
head of garlic chopped
6-8 chicken breasts
2 cups teriyaki sauce

Directions: Split between two freezer bags.  Cook on low 6-7 hours.  Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Sausage and Peppers
8 turkey or chicken sausages
1 red pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 large onion sliced
head of garlic chopped
2 cans italian diced tomatoes
2 T Italian seasoning

Directions: Split between 2 bags.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve over hot noodles or fresh french bread with mozzarella cheese.

Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup lemon-lime soda
head of garlic, chopped
4 T. soy sauce
2 t. ground pepper
rice or noodles, cooked
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: Combine chicken and all spices and liquids.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.    Remove chicken.  Transfer liquid to sauce pan, add 2 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T water) boil for 2-3 minutes or until juice thickens.  Serve glazed sauce over chicken.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

French Dip Sandwiches
2 lb boneless round roast, trimmed
2 envelopes onion soup mix
2 cans beef broth
french bread and sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Divide roasts, soup mix and beef broth in two freezer bags.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Remove roast and shred.  Slice a loaf of french bread in half, lengthwise.  Layer beef, then cheese. Close, cover in foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Slice and serve with bowls of dipping sauce from crockpot.    

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
2 bags frozen turkey meatballs
2 jars grape jelly (natural fruit spread if possible)
2 bottles bbq sauce

Directions: Split between 2 bags and freeze.  Cook on low 2-4 hours.

Chicken Taco Soup
2 onions diced
2 cans chili beans
2 cans black beans
2 cans corn, drained (or frozen)
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans chicken broth
4 cans Rotel undrained
6 chicken breasts
cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips (for toppings)

Directions: Split all ingredients into two bags.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Shredded Pork Tacos:
3-4 lb pork roast, cut into chunks
2 onions chopped
6 T olive oil
2 serrano chilies
head garlic chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups water
taco shells or tortillas, taco seasonings

Directions: Divide all ingredients into 2 freezer bags.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve in taco shells or tortillas.

Beef Stroganoff
4 lbs cubed stew meat
4 cans condensed golden mushroom soup
2 onions diced
6 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
2 blocks 8 oz cream cheese (add later!)
2 small containers mushrooms (add later!)
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. paprika
Directions: Combine all ingredients (except cream cheese and mushrooms).  Divide evenly between 2 freezer bags.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Add mushrooms.  Cook 1 more hour.  Add 8 oz. cubed cream cheese. Stir to combine, turn to high for 10-15 minutes until ready.  Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

Creamy Chicken Chili
2 cans black beans, drained
2 cans corn, drained (or frozen)
2 cans Rotel, undrained
1 onion, chopped
2 pkgs ranch dressing mix
2 t. cumin
2 T. chili powder
4 chicken breasts
2 blocks 8 oz. cream cheese (add later!)

Directions: Combine all ingredients (EXCEPT cream cheese!) and divide evenly into 2 freezer bags.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken and shred.  Add block of cream cheese, stir to combine.  Return chicken to pot.  Cook on high until well combined.

Ground Beef-Italian Style
2 lb ground chuck (whatever is on sale)
1 large chopped onion
2 shredded carrots
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning

Directions: brown and drain.  Cool and transfer into freezer bag.  Ready to use for spaghetti, casseroles, etc.

Ground Beef- Mexican Style
2 lb ground chuck (whatever is on sale)
1 large chopped onion
2 shedded carrots
salt, pepper, taco seasoning and cumin

Directions: brown and drain.  Cool and transfer into freezer bag.  Ready for tacos, enchiladas, taco soup, etc.

Shredded Chicken
whole chicken fryer
2 large onions sliced
3-4 large carrots
4-5 stalks of celery
salt and pepper

Directions:  Throw all together into a large stock pot of boiling water.  Cook until chicken in completely done.  Remove chicken and shred.  Remove veggies by draining liquid.  Freeze chicken in bag for ready-use.  Freeze chicken stock.


Denise said...

WOW!!! Thanks!

M.Parks said...

You are amazing! Thanks for sharing. Our surprise #3 is coming soon and its scary to think how to juggle a 3 year old, 1 year old and newborn. Your posts keep me thinking I just might survive. At least now we will have some good food! Thanks again!