old faithful.

My Crock-pot. I love it! It’s big (great for 5 people), and oval (great for roasts), white and chrome (matches the kitchen through 4 major color scheme re-vamps) and has a removal crock (because I usually need to soak that baby; after 12 hours of bubblin’) Lee and Claudia gave it to me as a Christmas present when the boys were 4, 2 and new and I was still managing 20 plus rental properties from my mini-van driver seat and life was beyond chaotic and I was happy to simply get my teeth brushed once a day. Whew! It was Crockpot to the rescue! (cue the theme music) Man. Just remembering that season makes me tired again! Here are a few of my tried and true recipes in honor of a dear friend who I heard through the grapevine, was requesting some.

sweet Cindy, I know you are hurting and tired. That you are struggling through the ordeal of cancer treatment, yet still longing to bless your family with a hot meal?
God loves that. I love that. may these bless:

John’s Favorite Roast
Roast-whatever is on sale, usually tri-tip.
can of Cream of Mushroom soup-yes it may be horrid in every other way but for THIS it is required. This admission truly embarrasses me yet by some Crockpot magic it DOES transform itself into delicious gravy. I dare not make up something to impress you all with my culinary expertise, because the soup is totally necessary for the recipe to work. But let me explain! It was one of my first “hits” as a new wife so I never considered branching out because if John is grinning, I am happy…if it ain’t broke…well, you know…
Envelope of Onion Soup Mix See? It’s shamefully processed, loads of msg probably, I can’t even look! But you already glopped out a can of gray goo on this $12 hunk of meat. So there’s no pride left. carry on.
Beef Stock, 1 can or two cups if you are Martha S and make your own. and why would you when Swansons is .89 a can?
Minced Garlic, lots. the original recipe didn’t call for this and I remember feeling very reckless to add my own thing. Now it’s assumed by me that all recipes must have the same typo and garlic gets automatically added to everything.

Ok. Put some oil in a frying pan (cast iron is best) Get it very hot, sprinkle Lawrys or Garlic Salt or whatever you like on the oil. Now just sear that roast all over, turning with a fork until its just browned and the smell has vegans beating on your front door to convert. Put it in the crockpot. If I have them, I like to lay fat rings of onion slices underneath the meat. Mix the rest up and pour on top. Sprinkle fresh pepper all over the top, if you like (we do).
Cover and cook all day on low. An hour or two before serving you can add hunks of potato and carrot or pearl onions but John thinks the carrot contaminates it all. So I usually just do mashed potatoes and pour some of the gravy over them at the table. If your roast was REALLY cheap, (or venison. we ate a lot of free deer meat in 1990.) and you suspect its turning out dry or tough, then just slice it in the pot an hour before serving and it will be delicious. And if the juices seem more soup-like than gravy-like go ahead and take the roast out, whisk in a little flour and turn the Crockpot to high for 10-15 minutes.

Taco Soup
more canned goods-but that, plus the Crock-pot, are what makes these recipes so easy.
I generally double this recipe.
Ground beef (I now use turkey-better for you and with enough spice you cannot tell)
chopped onion-as much as you like
Taco seasoning to brown your meat in
1 can chili or pinto beans, with liquid
1 can red kidney beans, with liquid
1/2 a bag or so of frozen sweet white corn
2 cans of ro-tel tomatoes (get the mild if you must but don’t substitute, only ro-tel gives it the good flavor!)
1 pkg of Ranch dressing mix-the powdered kind in an envelope. Sounds weird but trust me, it’s the secret ingredient that makes the broth perfect.
1 can of olives, sliced
1 can of tomato sauce, 8 ounces I have also used tomato juice or V8 juice
Water, as much as you like-this all depends if you like it dense, chili like? If so add:
optional-a can of refried beans stir it in about an hour before serving. If you want Soup, because it is called Taco SOUP, then add more water, or beef stock or ? We like hearty and I add the beans!

Brown the meat with the spice and onion. Drain, add to Crockpot. Dump in all the rest! Whisk that ranch seasoning in well, if needed. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with TOPPINGS-the reason my boys dig in!
Salsa-Sour Cream-Cheddar Cheese-Green Onions-Frito or Corn Tortilla Chips
Enjoy! Delicious as leftovers, also.

Last one- Marriage Mistake Meatballs.
Now the marriage wasn’t a mistake, I assure you but let me explain-
When my future mother-in-law and I were planning the wedding to come, we decided a 1 pm wedding might leave the guests kinda hungry by 2 pm-maybe we should add appetizers and not send everyone out with just wedding cake and coffee?! So we heard of this new-fangled store called “Costco”. It was like a warehouse! That sold to restaurants but would let the public buy, also! Cheap! And that was the official wedding budget! So we drove 2 plus hours away to buy food for the reception. Sandy did a great job planning the menu, and made pans and pans of these meatballs, plus chicken wings and other festive party food. And she and I were both in the receiving line, shaking hands and hugging and didn’t notice, until almost everyone was gone, that the wonderful food was sitting in the church kitchen and had not been served! We ate so many of these meatballs as newlyweds that it took me 5 years to make them again, with John’s prompting. I still refer to them mentally as above, but “officially” they are:

Sandy’s Sweet and Sour Meatballs
bag of meatballs from Costco (or make your own, you Martha you.)
Put these in the Crockpot.
duh. don’t you hate it when recipes state the obvious? were we really going to put them in the sock drawer if they didn’t direct us?
Sauce-you have to make it on the stovetop first, but it’s worth it. Way better than bottled sauce.
1 t. garlic or more. doesn’t he love you unconditionally?
1/3 cup catsup (why isn’t it spelled ketchup? what sordid beginning involved cats? these things can keep me up at night. I need to keep a list of “things to google”.)
2 T. minced onion. or more. happy marriages can stand a lot of onion.
1 can of jellied cranberry sauce (you are seeing a pattern in my recipes now. don’t judge me. I am very busy edumakating my sons.)
1 12 oz. bottle of Heinz chili sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
If you use the WHOLE bag of meatballs, then double the sauce recipe.

Heat until warm, whisking well. Pour over meatballs and simmer all day on low. I serve with sticky white rice! Kids (other than Caleb) love this.

If YOU have a tried-and-true Crockpot recipe, email me or add it to the comments and I will make sure Cindy gets it…thanks!

About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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2 Responses to old faithful.

  1. Anonymous says:

    OH BRENDA!!!! Do you know how thrilled I am to see these delicious meals set before me on my computer screen!!! ACK! Now a quick trip to the grocery store with all my wise grasshoppers wisdom in hand will prove to be one fantastically delicious meal!! Welcome Fall! :O) I love you.. Kelli

  2. Neil Johnston says:

    Now this… this is a BEAUTIFUL post! I am forwarding this to my Beauty who is a fantastic crock-potter herself.Yep and Yum!

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