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We are dead smack in the middle of January. The sun rises late and sets early. For many of you Canadians out there, this is a pattern that you can appreciate. And also follow. It’s no wonder that animals either hibernate or head south for the winter. I am all for hibernation and know of plenty of snowbirds that escape the chill of Canadian winters for the balmier weather south of the border. Realistically though, I still have to get up to start my day every morning, if not for school for the kids, then for their hockey practice. Or even work some days!

shudder…

When the day’s hours don’t seem enough, the presence of a crock pot can seem like a life saver for some homes. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. Most crock pot recipes are simple and straight-forward with few ingredients and even less effort to prepare a nutritious and delicious meal at the end of the day. Because if you’re struggling to get out of bed, fit in your workout (remember that new year’s resolution you set?), spend time with friends, family, plus work, sometimes you just need those extra hours in the day.

Here are a few recipes that will save those hours for you. The first one is Easy Chicken Curry from lifemadedelicious.ca. Time to heat up January!

 

EASY CHICKEN CURRY

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Chicken Leg/Thigh combos (bone-in)
  • 1 650 ml jar of Salsa (hot)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Hot Curry Paste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of sour cream

Directions:

Add chicken to the crock pot.

Mix curry paste with the Salsa and pour over chicken. Cook in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 4 hours) OR you can cook this in the oven covered for 1 hour @ 375f

Prior to serving stir sour cream into the curry dish. Serve with rice.

That’ll heat up dinner tonight!

Now, how about including a winter vegetable that can readily be found in most Canadian grocery stores this time of year. I am talking about cabbage; an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, thiamin, folate, manganese, and dietary fibre. Here’s a recipe for crock pot cabbage rolls from CanadianLiving.com.

 

CROCK POT CABBAGE ROLLS

 

Holishkes or Cabbage rolls covered with tomato...

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 2 lb (907 g) lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) uncooked rice
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
  • 1 can (28 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2-1/2 tbsp (31 mL) brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-1/2 tbsp (31 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 head of cabbage

 

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water. Score the cabbage around the core as deep as you can with a large knife. Immerse in the boiling water and as the leaves soften (within 2 minutes, just peel them away with tongs and place in a colander or strainer.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with egg, milk, salt, pepper, rice and onion. Place a few tablespoons or so of the meat mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, fold the sides and roll. Place into the slow cooker, seam side down. Repeat process until all meat mixture is used.

In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce, brown, sugar, lemon juice and worcestershire sauce and pour over the cabbage rolls.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with sauce.

 

What’s your favourite crock pot meal?

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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!!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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