Your crockpot… use it!

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Do you ever feel like a broken record when it comes to meals? Whenever I try to think of something different for Sunday lunch (I mean something dressier than a frozen pizza), my great ideas are always weeded out by “Nah, I’d have to get up too early” or “No, that needs basted while baking and I won’t be here” or “I’d never have time to make that AND get us out the door in time” etc. So, it often ends up being the good ol’ roast, potato, veggies in a crockpot meal. Not that I’m complaining… we love that meal! I’m just sayin’ I do feel like a broken record sometimes when I say, “I guess we’ll do a roast in the crockpot for lunch tomorrow”, even though I try to use a different voice inflection and wording than I did the week before.

One thing I LOVE about this meal is I don’t make it. Who wouldn’t love that?! Really, that’s even better than that meal that I said, “Seriously, I spent no longer than 35 min on this meal!” Here’s the secret: I have a husband who cooks better than I can.  (I am NOT kidding about that!!!!)  Anyway, he puts the frozen roast in the crockpot before we go to bed Sat night. He tries different things with seasonings and flavorings. Yesterday, it was Parmesan cheese, bay leaves, seasoning salt, and b-b-que sauce…
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He puts water in with the roast and seasonings and onion wedges
and turns the crockpot on Low.  roast3  
In the morning, around 7:30 or 8:00, he put in potatoes, whole fresh mushrooms, and carrots.
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When we get home from church, everything is perfectly done.
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I usually put some crescent rolls from a popable can (speaking of a broken record, you may know by now that I’m a big fan of those too!) in the oven and set the table and dish everything and… lunch is served! 
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Crazy thing is, as easy as that meal is, we still opt for a frozen pizza or grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch sometimes. Or something on the grill in the summer.

What do you usually do for Sunday lunch?

Note to Kitchen Scrapbook readers: There were some interesting comments on this post and I wish they would’ve copied over from my old site when I copied the posts onto Kitchen Scrapbook. It was surprising how many people have a roast on Sunday! Other common lunches were quick things, like leftovers or breakfast foods.

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  Valentine’s Day is coming up!  Stay tuned for a Valentine’s meal post in a few days!

An Entire Meal of New Recipes

Tired of looking at roses? Me too! Time to dust off this site again and put something fresh on here.

I’m going to feature a full meal today, a napkin folding post soon, and hopefully some inspiration will come by the weekend for some Thanksgiving ideas!

This meal is taken out of the 2003 Quick Cooking Annual Cookbook on pages 8 & 9… I know, I’m like a broken record, Quick Cooking cookbook this, Quick Cooking cookbook that. I just love those cookbooks, and you know why? Because they have PICTURES!!!!

Pepper Jack Meat Loaf

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute (I used an egg)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup (4 oz) shredded pepperjack or monterey jack cheese, divided (I used all pepperjack cheese.)

In a lg bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Press half of the beef mixture onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of a greased 8″x4″x2″ loaf pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over meat to within 1/2″ of sides.
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Pat remaining beef mixture over cheese.
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Bake uncovered at 350 for 50 – 55 minutes until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 min longer or until cheese is melted.
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Let stand for 10 min before slicing.
meatloaf3 Yield: 6 servings. We really liked this! It was good for something different, although I still prefer meatloaf with ketchup stuff on top. That pepperjack cheese really gave it some kick. Lexi (who is 4 and a picky eater) said it’s too spicy. Tiffany (who is 19 mos and eats anything) chowed it right down. We ate it with ketchup.

Potato Chip Potatoes

6 medium potaoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
3/4 cup crushed potato chips, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a bowl, combine everything, except 1/4 cup of potato chips; toss to combine.Transfer to a greased shallow 2 qt baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining potato chips. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 40 – 50 min or until potatoes are tender.
potatoes Yield: 6 – 8 servings. This was good, but nothing special. We ate it with ketchup because it was kinda blah without anything. It’s a good way to use up those last broken up chips at the bottom of the bag.

Creamy Pea Salad

2 pkgs (16 oz each) frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced mozzarella cheese
1 medium onion, chopped (onion AGAIN!)
1 cup mayo or salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

In a bowl, combine everything except the bacon; mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with bacon.
pea salad Yield: 6 – 8 servings. Ok, I’m not even gonna pretend… this was NOT at all good! I don’t like cold peas or raw onions, but I decided to be open-minded and give it a shot, thinking maybe the other ingredients would make it good. None of the others liked it either. I ended up fishing out and eating the cheese and bacon and threw the rest away.

Chocolate Cherry Angel Cake

1 pkg (16 oz) angel food cake mix
1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate, grated  I put an ounce (at least an ounce ) of milk choc chips in a food chopper.
GLAZE:
2 Tbsp. butter (no substitutes)
1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate Again, I used milk choc… I try to stick to the recipe, but with chocolate, whenever I use semisweet like the recipe says, I always end up saying ‘next time I’ll use milk chocolate’. So I’m just going to start always using milk choc the 1st time.
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 to 5 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
Maraschino cherries and fresh mint, optional

Prepare cake mix according to directions. Fold cherries and chocolate into the batter. Pour into an ungreased 10″ tube pan.
cherrycake1 Bake at 350 for 40 – 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely. Run a knife around sides of cake and remove from pan. In a saucepan, combine butter, chocolate, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and cherry juice until glaze reaches desired consistency. Drizzle over cake.
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Garnish with cherries and mint if desired. 
cherrycake5 Yield: 12 servings. YUM!!!! This tasted as good as it looked! If you like chocolate covered cherries, you’ll like this! Shannon doesn’t like cherries and he even kinda liked it. It would be GREAT for around Christmas time too… doesn’t it look sorta Christmas-y? 
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Steak Fajitas

On a more serious note…           This dish, on the other hand (as opposed to the last post), graces our table quite often.
Even the kids love it… at the end I’ll show you how to make it kid-friendly!
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Did you ever have steaks on the grill?
They were just delicious, but you had 1 steak leftover… now, what to do with it.????  If you keep it, it might get tough when you reheat it.  If you throw it away, it might bug you that something you spent good money one just went in the trash.  Here’s what I do: Slice it thin and put it in a bag in the freezer. Then, the next time you make fajitas, pull it out and add it to the other meat.

Steak Fajitas

1 lb or so of thinly-sliced steak (I either buy it thinly sliced or slice a couple steaks up. If I have any left over from grilling, I add that too.)
1/3 each of a green, yellow, orange, and sweet red pepper, sliced into strips (Or 2 or 3 colors, whatever you have on hand.) 
1/2 of an onion, sliced and separated
Tortillas
Shredded lettuce (I don’t keep shredded lettuce on hand, I just cut it thinly off of a head of lettuce.)
Tomatoes, cut up
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Salsa

Spray the skillet with cooking spray or use oil, depends on if you want it more healthy or not. I’ve done it both ways.  Add the steak, peppers, and onion. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and seasoning. I use Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic seasoning .
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About 15 minutes before serving time, turn skillet to about 300. Cover. Stir about every 3 minutes. Fry for about 12 minutes total or until it looks done. While it’s frying, get the other things around… cut the tomatoes, shred the lettuce, etc. Stack tortillas on a plate with a paper towel between each one. Microwave until warm and soft, about a minute or so.
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Now you’re ready to eat! How’s that for a ready-in-15-minutes meal! …which is one reason why I like it. If your supper time varies (like ours does), you can get everything cut up and in the skillet awhile, then it’s pretty fast from there. And now, for the kid-friendly version… Cut 3 1/2″ circles out of a tortilla. 
 
Fill it and roll up.
Fits in their hands nice and works great,
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until they start playing with it!
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There are a bunch of different variations to making fajitas, I’m sure. We don’t have the fried rice and refried beans and guacomole (ok, I can’t make that word look right, where’s my dictionary?!). All that stuff would make it more complicated, plus we don’t really like 2 or 3 of those things.

A Meat & Potatoes Meal

Parmesan Potatoes
Glazed Meat Loaf
Salad
Crescent Rolls
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Parmesan Potatoes   …This recipe was given to me by my friend Karen from MS. She said it’s one of their favorites and I can see why, esp the top layer! Her husband does a lot of grilling, too. Thanks for the recipe, Karen! (She doesn’t have a site, but she visits here.  )

4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced, peeled too
1 sm onion, thinly sliced in rings (Karen said she doesn’t add quite that much, so I didn’t either)
3 T. butter, melted
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt, pepper, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder (Karen said ‘or seasonings of choice’, but I used these)

Place 1/2 of the potatoes in greased pan (9×13 or smaller).
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Top with onion rings

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and remaining potatoes; drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with parmesan and seasonings.
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Bake uncovered at 450 for 25 min or until potatoes are soft and brown.

Very good!!! Will definitely make again! I made a half batch so we wouldn’t have leftovers.

Glazed Meat Loaf   …This recipe comes from the 2006 Taste of Home Annual Cookbook.

2 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. milk
1 1/2 c. (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. crushed saltines (about 30 crackers) I used Ritz crackers.
1 c. finely shredded carrots (um, I skipped the carrots, didn’t feel like shredding them)
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cheese, saltines, carrots, onion, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
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Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.

Yeah, I know, doesn’t look too appetizing at this point, huh?
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Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish. I made a half recipe and just put it in a loaf pan.

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Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50 minutes.
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For glaze, bring the brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3-5 min or until heated through. Spoon over meat loaf.

Bake 10-15 min longer or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160. Drain; let set for 10 min before slicing. Yield: 12 servings.
mp meat6   Ok, I FINALLY found my meat loaf recipe! Over the last several years, I’ve tried recipes hit-n-miss and they all tasted sorta blah. (Same with poor man’s steak.) This one is SO good! It is so moist and flavorful. Sometime, I might even try it with the carrots.  

mp salad   And a picture of the salad … because I always think salads are so pretty. I have a few menus that I make for company and will add this meal now.  

Wet Burritos

This recipe came from my mother-in-law. It’s really good!!!!! Try it!

Wet Burritos

1 lb hamburger
1 sm onion
1 pk taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
8 soft tortillas (9 inch)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sour cream
8 oz grated cheese

Fry hamburger with onion. Add seasoning and beans. Put 1/8 of meat mixture in each tortilla. Roll up. Mix mushroom soup and sour cream. Put 1/2 of it into greased 9×13 pan. Put rolled tortillas in next,
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burritos2  then put rest of sauce on top, then the cheese. 
burritos3   Bake at 350 for 40 min.
burritos4  Serve with sour cream and salsa. It’s so easy to make! With good babies and all, you can go from nothing to eating within an hour! In the 40 minutes it’s baking, you can easily get the rest of the meal around.

We had crescent rolls and salad with it.
burritos salad   I make my own croutons instead of buy them because I don’t like the hard ones that you can’t stab with a fork. It’s so easy… just take a couple pieces of bread, cut them into chunks with a pizza cutter. Put some melted butter in a pan (however much you want, I usually do around a Tablespoon, maybe a little less), then dash a few spices in, like oregano, basil, and onion power, or garlic powder. Throw the bread cubes in and mix them around till they seem to be pretty much coated with the butter. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, more if you want. Sometime during that time, I take the pan out and shake it around a little to try to get some of the croutons to flip over. They have a crunch, but yet you can stab them with a fork. Perfect!!!

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