Double Duty: 2 Days, 2 Quick and Easy Crock Pot Dinners

The summer is just beginning here in New jersey, and that means looking forward to a couple of months of cold salads, sandwiches and take out for dinner, right? WRONG! Instead of turning on the oven and heating up my kitchen, I whip out the trusty Crock Pot and let my dinner cook away while I’m at work.

This week, I made two deliciously simple meals, that only need a quick side dish to make them complete. Yesterday, it was pot roast with carrots, steamed green beans and a quick sweet potato hash (recipe for that below too).

Admittedly, I ran out of EVERYTHING I usually use in this recipe, but oddly enough, the meat came out just fine. It seems that it’s really difficult to ruin a pot roast!

ImageIngredients for Pot Roast (serves 4):

  • 2-3lb bottom round beef roast
  • 2/3 cup beef broth (or water)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
  • Seasonings of your choice – I used a store-bought “steakhouse” seasoning blend, but salt, pepper and some garlic powder work just fine
  • 1 onion – normally, I would put onion in this, but I found mine rotted last night, so left it out. If you use an onion, cut that up into thick chunks

How to: Season meat on all sides with your blend of spices. Add broth (or water) to crock pot and then onions and carrots. Place meat on top of veggies and cover. Cook 10 hours on low. Meat will fall apart when done. Pull out veggies and serve on the side. To keep meat moist at the table, add about a TBS of flour to the pot and whisk juices to make a gravy. Pour over meat. Want something yummy (and lower-carb) than mashed potatoes to serve with this? Try my quick and easy sweet potato hash!

Sweet Potato Hash (serves 4):

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (or, use the spice blend you used on your pot roast!)
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in a large saute or fry pan and add potatoes. When they start to brown, add seasonings and spices and continue to cook until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork (about 10 mins). Once cooked, turn heat to low and add spinach leaves. Continue cooking until spinach is wilted and soft, drizzling additional oil if mixture becomes dry. Use tongs to mix thoroughly. Serve with pot roast, or eat alone – easy and delicious!


In the pot today: chicken legs and BBQ Sauce. That’s it. When I get home, these things will fall off the bone. Pick up some coleslaw and cornbread on the way home and dinner is done. Enjoy!



Back with Two Recipes!

I’ve been away for a while, busy at my day job and even fitting in a much-needed (and well-deserved) vacation. But now that things have settled down at home, it’s back to cooking in my crock pot! Over the last few weeks, I’ve made two really yummy things.

First up, BRISKET!


Super simple and easy, the flavor is a cross between a Swiss steak and a beef stew. Very tomatoey and sweet, yet savory. You can easily shred this for sandwiches- I sliced mine into thin strips and served over plain white rice with a simple veggie.

You will need:
1 3-4lb brisket (I eyeballed the size based on the size of my crock pot)
2 24oz cans crushed tomatoes (with liquid)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 head of garlic (open and peel each clove – you’ll need about 8)
Salt and pepper

How to: Salt and pepper all sides of brisket. With a paring knife, cut 8 small slits into the beef and insert one whole clove of garlic into each.In the crock pot, add one can crushed tomatoes + tomato paste and stir until paste dissolves. Insert brisket into pot and pour remaining can of crushed tomatoes over it. Liquid should almost cover the beef. Cook on low for 10 hours. Remove beef when done, slice or shred and pour liquid over the top to keep moist.

Recipe #2: PULLED PORK!
A complete cheat, but who cares, really. Look at those shreds!


I have never, ever been a fan of the other white meat, but at a family gathering, I tasted what I thought was beef and fell in love. Once I got over the “OMG I just ate PORK?” phase, I investigated ways to make this myself, and in a way to incorporate this healthier-than-beef alternative into my weekly dinner rotation. Admittedly, I completely cheated and this recipe contains only TWO ingredients.

You will need:
1 jar of your most favorite BBQ Sauce
2-3lb pork butt roast

How to: I know, I know… is it really a “recipe” if I use a JAR of someone else’s sauce? Probably not, but I for one do not have time to sit and create my own masterful sauce. As a working, single mom and one who’s always trying to find new things for my child to eat (and enjoy), I think using a jar of sauce that you (and the kid) really, really like is just as good as making your own. With less time wasted tweaking flavors, consistency, blah blah blah. Long story short, use a sauce you like and it’ll taste even better slow cooking over a pork butt for 10 hours on low. We ate this 3lb roast for about 3 days on nice potato rolls with a side of coleslaw. Comfort food at its best.



First Post: Eat it up!

Why not start with a quick and easy crock pot recipe? And when I say “crock pot” I mean slow cooker, of any brand, any size, any price. My weapon of choice is a 6qt Programmable Rival Crock Pot that I’ve had about 4 years (link goes to a newer version, but you get the idea). I use it a lot and have no complaints. Since I work a 9-5 job, and have a little one in school, you’ll notice that most of my recipes cook for 8-10 hours on the ‘low’ setting (my pot automatically switches to “keep warm” after the cooking time is complete- a great feature!). Any of these can be adapted to your schedule, just always be sure to check for doneness with anything you create. You’ll also notice that I’m not afraid to amp up pre-bottled or packaged goods, because, really, who has time to make EVERYTHING from scratch these days? Not me.

That being said, my first recipe is for these awesome BBQ Chicken Legs:
428005_10200290412520779_157009441_nYou will need:

  • 6-8 raw chicken legs with skin on
  • 1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1 Cup water + extra for the end
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dry red pepper flakes (more if you like spice)

How to: in an empty crock pot, place all ingredients (except chicken) in, and stir with a whisk until all are incorporated. Give it a taste, add some salt and pepper if you feel the need. Rinse chicken in cool water and place into pot. Get your hands dirty and mix it all together, coating the chicken legs on all sides. Even them out in the pot and check your liquid. Add extra water until legs are about half way submerged. Cook for 8 hours on LOW setting or 6 hours on HIGH. These will fall off the bone when they’re done!

Suggested sides: baked beans, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, etc… anything goes with this.

Eat up!