So how did your weekend go? Did you organize your house, yard, life, or just escape from it all with a trip to the theatre? Who hit the farmer’s stand to stock up on all the seasonal goodies that are overflowing at markets this year? Anyone go apple picking? Good for you that did! If you didn’t have the oomph or time, don’t beat yourself up over it though. You can often get local produce from the grocery store too, and there are great deals on large quantity items there too. The trick is what to do with it all once you have it.
I think it is high time you brush the dust off your slow cooker again. We all know how busy life can get and the speed of weekends disappearing in a whir is proof enough. Save some time, by prepping some crock pot meals from some of the bounty that is readily available this time of year. To help you out, how about a few delicious new seasonal slow cooker meals to try out.
Slow Cooker Season Returns
Have I mentioned that the apple trees are bending to the ground under the plethora of apples that are on them this year? Well, they are and you need to do something with them! Why not try this recipe for apple butter from Allrecipes.com;
SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER
- 5 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 4 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well.
- Cover and cook on high 1 hour.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
- Uncover and continue cooking on low 1 hour. Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.
- Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze.
Now, how about some of those vegetables you have on hand? Better Homes and Gardens has lots of crock pot meals, but this one for a vegetable curry sounds like it would hit the spot;
SLOW COOKER VEGETABLE CURRY
- 4 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 115 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 114 ounce can vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 114 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- Hot cooked rice
- In a 3-1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans, green beans, onion, garlic, tapioca, curry powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, salt, and cinnamon. Pour broth over all.
- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.
- Stir in undrained tomatoes. Cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.
What about those tomatoes? We’ve all got our tomato sauce recipes, but why not try some of this tomato soup from Big Girls Small Kitchen? Delicious;
SLOW COOKER TOMATO BASIL SOUP
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 carrots (large, peeled and finely diced)
- 2 sweet onions (medium, finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and left whole)
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp salt
- 84 ozs whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 qt chicken broth
- 10 basil leaves (plus more for garnish)
- freshly grated parmesan (for garnish, optional)
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Then purée in batches in a blender until very smooth. Serve immediately, or transfer the soup back to the slow cooker and keep on low until your guests arrive.
So tell me, what’s for dinner at your house this week?