It’s a rainy day in my part of the world today. Fall might not have officially arrived just yet, but I don’t think Mother Nature cares that there’s 4 days of summer left that we should still be enjoying. It’s a lazy, indoors kind of day that makes me think of toasty warm evenings by the fire, hot baths that melt the day away and crock pot meals that warm you up from the inside out. I suspect that there will be plenty more days like today in the future and that got me to thinking. When you are feeling rushed from a hectic day and less than energetic when it comes to mealtime, crock pot meals can be a salvation. You walk in the door and are greeted by the delicious scent of dinner, done and waiting for you. What could be better?

So since Autumn officially begins this week, I thought perhaps I would add something new to the old blog here. We all appreciate suggestions and ideas to make life easier, right? How about some crock pot menus to tempt your taste buds with? Mum wasn’t far off when she went out and bought that brand new invention back in the 70s. That’s right, this household staple was only invented in 1970, originally as a bean cooker.

Today, there are slo-cookers that range in size from 500 ml to 7 litres. They come in round and oval shapes, but have one thing in common. You place ingredients inside of them, twist the knob and come back hours later to a fully cooked, fabulous meal. Sure, some crock pots have various settings (high, low or auto),  but once you close that lid, the heating coils begin to heat up the contents of  the ceramic or porcelain insert. The lid keeps moisture in, temperatures steady and even helps to distribute flavours throughout the content of the pot. It’s a fairly basic concept, but brilliant when you have thought to dust off the old crock pot for a quick and healthy evening meal before jetting back out for extra-curricular activities.

Enough about the pot though. I am sure you have one (wasn’t it a gift from Aunt Gert at the wedding shower?), so get ready to pull it out in the weeks and months to come. I am going to tempt your taste buds with some new and delicious recipes to whip up in your handy-dandy crock pot. Think soups, stews, roasts and more; I’ll be searching for the best for you! And with more rain in the forecast for later this week, I think I have picked the perfect time to crock! So unless you have a personal chef at your disposal, why not try this seasonal soup recipe from “Recipe 4 Living” to use some of those tasty veggies that are coming ripe in your garden.

 

CROCKPOT VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped (1/2 C.)
  • 3/4 C. 1-inch pieces green beans
  • 3/4 C. chopped onion
  • 2/3 C. uncooked barley
  • 2/3 C. fresh whole kernel corn
  • 1 1/2 C. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 14 oz. cans beef broth
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a 3 1/2 to 6-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-9 hours (or high heat setting for 4-5 hours) or until vegetables and barley are tender.

 

It’s that easy folks! Experiment with your ingredients on hand, but know that dinner will be ready when you are tomorrow night!  Enjoy!!

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