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Monday, December 9, 2013

5 Great Crock Pot Recipes

Hey Mamas! It's freezing here today and we have a dusting of snow on the ground. We had story time at the library this morning followed by a mini-playdate afterwards. We hit up the grocery store and then headed home for lunch. I ate a slice of cold leftover pizza while putting groceries away. If that doesn't sound like a crock pot meal for dinner kind of day then I don't know what does!

Tonight I'm making Crock Pot Chicken Parm. It's one of our favorites! It smells so good right now. I can't wait until it's done.

Here are 4 of our other favorites. Sorry, no red meat. I don't like it so I don't cook it.

Slow-cooker Macaroni and Cheese. When I serve this I call it "Cheesey Noodles". I never tell my kids we're having macaroni and cheese unless it's from a box because they're so used to it that way, that's what they expect. This dish is much richer and not as sweet as the boxed version. I adore it.

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki. This is so good and makes a huge portion! I serve it with rice or noodles and steamed broccoli. Really good.

Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup. My mom gave me this recipe and I am so glad she did. Thanks Mom! :) I make my own white sauce a day or two ahead of time. You can make your own or use store bought. I typically use chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth because that's what I usually have on hand. Making your own chicken broth is so easy and inexpensive that I highly recommend you try it! I started out using a recipe but it's one of those things that doesn't really need one.

Here's what I do:

After I cook a whole chicken in my crock pot and we've eaten most of the meat off of it, I fill it almost completely to the top with water. I then add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You don't need to do this but it helps pull beneficial minerals from the chicken bones into the broth, which is a big health advantage. I let it sit, covered, for about an hour. Then I throw in some vegetables and a little salt. Then I cook it on low for about 12 hours. After it's done cooking, strain out the bones and vegetable peels and pour the broth into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Once the fat makes a thin layer on the top, then scoop it off. You can use your broth for different recipes throughout the week. You'll have plenty to freeze for later as well. I freeze my broth in 2 cup portions in clearly labeled plastic zip-top bags.

For the times when I have leftover chicken or bones but no time or need to make broth then I throw it in a plastic freezer bag in my freezer. That way I don't have to throw away valuable broth ingredients.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken. This is another really good yet simple recipe. I usually make my own dry Italian dressing mix but you can use store bought to save time. I also make large batches of Cream of Chicken soup and freeze them in can-sized portions. This can be time consuming but I feel so much better serving a healthier version to my family.

Let me know what you think of these recipes. If you have a favorite crock pot recipe please feel free to share it!

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