Monday, January 20, 2014

Cooking at Home - Stepping my Game Up

I have been trying to improve the dinner situation around here.  We eat out way more than we should and about half of our weekly meals come courtesy of the pre-packaged frozen meals section at Trader Joe's.  It's hard to find the time to make dinner and I have never loved cooking so it's difficult to find the motivation some nights too.  My kids deserve better though so I have been making an effort.
As a part of the tiny goals I set for this year, I am grocery shopping with a list now.  Last week I looked up a few crock pot meals to try and wrote down all of the ingredients before heading to the store.  It turns out shopping with a list takes a lot longer because sometimes I can't find the items I need.  It makes things so much easier once I'm home though.  I actually had food to complete full meals this week.
These are the crock pot meals I made:
It was a little bland, but adding in avocados, sour cream, and cheese helped a ton.  Since we are not vegetarians, I think I will try this again with ground turkey.
We liked this one and I plan to make it again.
This was pretty good, healthy, and really cheap to make.  It tasted delicious on day two when I heated it up with milk and brown sugar instead of going the healthy sweetener route.
This is not a crock pot recipe, but I over-purchased black beans for the chili and tried this out for fun.  The brownies were way better than they sound, I swear.  I didn't even taste the beans.  They are also vegan and gluten free!

Now friends, please help me out.  What are some of your favorite healthy (or healthy-ish) crock pot or simple recipes?  I trust you all so much more than Pinterest.


  1. I ate quite a bit of black bean brownies when I first went gluten free. Its amazing how you can't even tell there are beans in them.
    My fav things to cook in the crockpot is shredded meat, I really like doing buffalo chicken (chicken breast, franks red hot, a little water or chicken broth - cook until you can shred it with a fork), which you can use for tacos or salad or mix it up with rice or pork carnitas (I can email you the recipe), again good to have shredded meat on hand. I usually make a big batch and freeze them in a few bags so I have some protein I can add to anything in a pinch. Beef short ribs braised with red wine and balsamic vinegar is another favorite, basically I love my crockpot and use it as often as possible, even in the summer so I don't have to heat up the house with the oven.

  2. Unfortunately, I don't have a crockpot, so I have no such recipes to share with you. However, I can tell you that my go-to ways to cook are usually to get a bunch of proteins (since my husband is vegetarian, this ends up being tofu, mushrooms, seitan, etc) and vegetables and saute them, or roast them in the oven (this isn't as fast as a saute, but works well if I don't have time to mind the stove since I can literally walk away and wait for the oven). Either only uses some olive oil, and if you get a variety of different proteins and vegetables you will get different flavors. Then I throw them on rice, quinoa, pasta, farro, etc. If you get a pantry with lots of different sauces, you can throw a tablespoon or so of that in- ranging from honey mustard to teriyaki etc- in order to also add flavor to your sautes.

  3. Ill tag you in some meals on my Pinterest board that are tasty and easy! Also I agree about the shredded meat…it's incredibly easy and you can make a ton with no more effort than it takes to make one meals worth. I love making carnitas or shredded chicken for tacos then you can make burritos, quesadillas and burrito bowls with the leftovers all week. I even put whole frozen chicken tenders in if it's cooking all day. So easy! You could even have themed weeks to make it easier for shopping purposes. Good job Kira!

  4. Those look lovely! Having never cooked meat until a year ago, the slow cooker is a very important kitchen appliance for me. ;) I often just Google the ingredients I have/recipe I have in mind and add "slow cooker" to the end of it and find recipes. And I got this beautiful book I got to review--lots of ideas in here!

  5. This isn't a crock pot recipe, but you just stick all the ingredients in a pot and let it cook. It's vegetarian and I have shared it SO many times. It's one of my favorite dishes. The spices are incredible! I love to put a dollop of yogurt on top, too. Lentil edamame stew:

  6. I just came across this and thought i would share :)


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