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Crockpot/Slow Cooker

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
This forum helped me learn how to meal plan for grocery shopping. Now that I have a routine down--Saturday I write out a week's worth of menus, make a grocery list based on that, and shop--I don't know why I found the concept so hard.

However, with a 3 year old and a baby, I ceased to "cook." My joke was if it wasn't something microwavable from Trader Joe's, then we didn't eat it.

Now I've discovered the crock pot and it has changed how we eat and cook.

Last night was curried carrot soup. Tonight mushroom, artichoke, and spinach lasagna (cooked in the crockpot.) I've made sloppy lentils, mushroom sour cream soup, potato soup, lentils with spinach and rice, and many others. The food in the crockpot is so delicious due to the slow cooking.

Usually I prepare the food at night. Either while my husband is bathing the kids or after they are in bed. Sometimes I do it in the morning. If I prep it at night, it just sits in the fridge waiting to be cooked.

I've looked at a couple vegetarian slow cooker cookbooks. The reviews on amazon say that you have to saute or do other preparations beyond throwing ingredients into the crockpot. What I have learned is that usually I'm still cutting or gathering other ingredients while things are sauteing, so it doesn't really take that much more time. Plus, doing it when the kids are not underfoot makes it a whole lot easier.

Because I'm in the experimentation phase, we are eating all kinds of recipes. Most I have found online. I did just get a cookbook from the library and bought groceries this week based on 5 of those recipes (plus one I cooked before.)

My crockpot is very old and just has a dial on it. One of my dishes got overcooked, so I wanted a cooker that would switch to warming after the cooking was done. I did a lot of research and this is the one with the best reviews:http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach...3224803&sr=8-1

I've had mine about a week. I think it cooks hotter than my old crockpot. Also, yesterday I was cooking for 10 hours and after just 2 hours it went into warming mode. I don't know if I got a defective one or what.

If anyone has a vegetarian slow cooker cookbook they can recommend, I'd love to know which one it is. Also, I've found some great recipes online, but would love to have more recommended.
post #2 of 6
I also recently discovered the slow cooker as a great way to make our meals happen. For cookbooks, what I did was request all the vegetarian slow cooker cookbooks I found on amazon through our library system so I could look at them. I tried a few recipes from each and the one we liked was this one. I find that the prep on most of the recipes is easily accomplished the night before or morning of cooking, and the recipes fit our style.

I have also been saving money by slow cooking large batches of plain dried beans and then freezing most of the batch in portions equivalent to one can of beans. That way I have beans ready to go for future recipes, slow cooker or otherwise.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madcap150 View Post
I also recently discovered the slow cooker as a great way to make our meals happen. For cookbooks, what I did was request all the vegetarian slow cooker cookbooks I found on amazon through our library system so I could look at them. I tried a few recipes from each and the one we liked was this one. I find that the prep on most of the recipes is easily accomplished the night before or morning of cooking, and the recipes fit our style.

I have also been saving money by slow cooking large batches of plain dried beans and then freezing most of the batch in portions equivalent to one can of beans. That way I have beans ready to go for future recipes, slow cooker or otherwise.
Your link didn't complete. Is the book you got "
Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are?"

Our library didn't have that book. It had the 125 recipe book
post #4 of 6
could you point me to the lasagna recipe? that sound fantastic!

I love my slowcooker but find it hard to come up with recipes that we like....
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum21andtwins View Post
could you point me to the lasagna recipe? that sound fantastic!
I put this in the crockpot for 8 hours on low and left the house. When I got back after 4 hours, the top was already browning. Don't know if my crockpot cooks fast or what, but watch your time with this. It is REALLY yummy. I used half wine half veg broth.

Mushroom, artichoke, spinach lasagna

2 tbsp butter

I onion, finely chopped

1lb mushrooms, stems removed
and sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 1/2 cups (2 cans) quartered artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained, or
thawed if frozen

3/4 cup dry white wine or vegetable stock

12 oven-ready lasagna noodles

2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups baby spinach

2t/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Use a 5 quart greased crockpot

1. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add
onion and cook until softened. Add mushrooms and
garlic and cook, stirring ,just until mushrooms begin
to release their iiquid. Stir in artichokes and wine and
bring to a boi1. Cook, stirring, for 1 or 2 minutes, until
liquid reduces slightly. Set aside.
2. Cover bottom of slow cooker stoneware with
4 noodles, breaking to fit where necessary. Spread
with half of the ricotta, half of the mushroom mixture,
half of the spinach, one-third each of the mozzarella and
Parmesan. Repeat. Arrange final layer of noodles over
cheeses. Pour any liquid remaining from mushroom
mixture over noodles and sprinkle with
remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Cover and cook
on Low for B hours or on High for 4 hours, until hot
and bubbling.

ETA:
Make ahead
This dish can be prepared
the night before it is cooked.
Refrigerate overnight in
slow cooker stoneware and
cook as directed.
post #6 of 6
Thank you! that sound really nice I will have to show it to DH and add it to the list
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