Thursday, January 8, 2009

More easy suppers because of a lack of planning

Yes so the meal planning part is not coming together that easily and I have no idea why.

Nonetheless are continuing to eat at home. Unfortunately today my husband is sick and at home which means he will be in charge of making supper. So to make life easy on him we are having another crockpot meal.

For those who may be asking - yes I think the crockpot is an essential part of ANY kitchen and a must for anyone who work full time or has children. The preparation for crockpot food is usually so simple and the results are usually hard to mess up.

A few pointers:
  1. try to avoid lifting the lid, you loose essential heat every time that the lid is lifted,
  2. in a pinch use high heat, other than that keep you pot on the lowest setting and cook for the longest possible time;
  3. use the cheapest cuts of meat you can find (I am taking inside round beef the tough awful meat) and cook these for a long time in the broth/water mixture and they come out moist and tender;
  4. ALWAYS make sure that there is sufficient liquid in your pot (use either broth or water) I always make sure that at least my meat is covered and that the pot is 3/4 full; and,
  5. save up and buy two of them (I have a small 3 quart and a large 5 quart one and use them frequently).
Yes, I would highly recommend having two of them. Now I don't fancy ones that you can control the actual temperature on, or that you can have it auto switch to keep warm. I have regular turn the dial ones.

NOW - why have two? well for example the Pulled Pork from yesterday was done in the large one. I have also used that large one to cook two of the large loins from Costco for a friend of mine when we were preparing food for after her baby was born. However, the pot is way to large to cook chili for just me, the husband and kidlet.

I also find the crockpots extremely useful around the holidays. For example, this year at thanksgiving, Christmas and last year I used both of my crockpots. The night before either of the events I made French Onion Soup and then let it simmer all nigth long on a keep warm setting (it is boiling hot - trust me! I burnt my tounge testing it). Then in the smaller crockpot I will cook the ham. (easy - buy one of the black forest ham, cut diagonal lines and insert full cloves, add enough water to cover 1/2 of the ham, then add a little bit of 7-up (non-diet), and some splenda brown sugar, cover, baste every hour). The benefit you can put it on at any time and it saves room in the oven for the turkey!

Now that I have confessed my love for my crockpots on to the food. I sent him instructions to make beef dip. If you are trying to cut down on expenses, this is a very cost effective way to get a nice beef to use on a sandwich - much cheaper than deli meats and makes a mean sandwhich.

Standard Beef Dip Recipe
1 cup soya sauce
6 cups water
3 bay leaves
ground pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 clove minced garlic
4 lbs of beef

Instructions: throw everything into the crockpot, turn on low, cover and wait 6 hours (or longer) for tasty beef. The meat should literally just fall apart when you are trying to take it out. The sauce you can save and use for dipping or just skip it all together. This meat also freezes well in ziplock bags.

Now because we are trying to be more health concious we made the following changes:
- used 1/4 soya sauce
- used 4 cups low sodium beef broth (in the tetra pack)
- used 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp minced ginger

Because we were short on time my husband cooked the meat in 3 hours on high so it was a little tough. But we did a second roast that night as well. The Meat in total cost us about $18.00 and it served two full suppers and we had enough left overs frozen for three or four lunches. However, because of time we bought the meat from a higher priced store. Normally it would have cost closer to $10.00 (inside beef round). Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures but it was definitely tasty!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with 2 crock pots. I have 2 as well. Like you said for holidays and meal planning it's definately worth it! Bless the crock pot.