The winds are starting to howl as the fall heads into winter. There will be a few warm days here and there, but cold weather is coming. The old-fashioned crockpot is an easy way to make a warm tummy-filling meal with minimum fuss and usually only a few ingredients. Even the most novice cooks can put together a great meal. For those of us back to work or if you have worked all this year outside the home, it is a great way to come home to a hot cooked meal. The following are three easy recipes with beef, pork, and chicken.
This beef stew is super easy. Brown two pounds of stew meat in vegetable oil over medium-high heat till well browned. Add this to the crockpot along with two bay leaves, small red potatoes, about a pound, and three carrots cut in one-inch pieces. Mix together 14oz low sodium beef broth, ¼ cup BBQ sauce, one tablespoon soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pour over all and cook on low for six-eight hours. Remove meat and veggies, keep warm—strain juices and discard solids along with the bay leaves. Bring juices to a boil; add one and a half teaspoon cornstarch mixed with another tablespoon soy sauce. Simmer till thickened. Return meat, veggies, and gravy to crockpot and cook till warmed through. Serve with crusty bread.
Country-style ribs are made for the crockpot. Place four-five pounds in the bottom of the crockpot. Add two 14-ounce bottles of your favorite BBQ sauce. You can mix flavors for variety. Rinse out each bottle with one-tablespoon vinegar and add to the pot. Add one chopped onion, two cloves minced garlic, one-teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook on low six-eight hours. Serve with buttered noodles.
Chicken is another crockpot staple. Coat chicken strips with combined taco seasoning and flour. Add to vegetable sprayed crockpot. Cover with sliced red and green bell peppers along with one cup of frozen corn. Cover with one and a half cups of your favorite chunky salsa. Choose your heat preference. Like more heat? Add a chopped jalapeno. Cook on low for six hours. Serve over rice—top with grated Mexican blend cheese, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
Do you have any crockpot recipes you would like to share?
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH AND DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO