I like to cook. Well, I like to think about cooking – the actual practice is less exciting, because I really get stuck in recipe ruts. This lack of inspiration typically sends me to Pinterest to look for a new and inventive way to prepare ground beef (trust me when I say there are not that many new and inventive ways to prepare ground beef). The result is that I get frustrated because some of the suggested preparations are either full of ingredients that would never make their home in my pantry or are too long and extensive for my “has to be finished in 60 min or less” rule of thumb. These nights we end up eating tacos – which honestly is ok with me as I could eat tacos every night of the week and twice on Sunday and probably not complain for a few months.
I had a phase there for a while when I used my crock pot for nearly every meal – because it was easy and didn’t require a lot of thought and clean up was a breeze – but with very few exceptions (a couple of which I will share below) I find that a lot of meals that come out of the crock pot taste exactly the same. I don’t know why that is – the ingredients aren’t the same but everything has that kind of metallic-y, institutional taste. I wondered at first if it was the crock pot I was using and so I switched up my appliance selection (at one point I had 8 crock pots from which to choose – I have since down-sized to 4) but this does not seem to help the issue. So either it is me or it is the mysterious crock pot functionality that causes this blandness of flavors – I’m going with the crock pot because why take on the personal recriminations if you don’t have to?
Ok – so I don’t really have any pictures of these recipes (at least none of my own) and they didn’t originate with me (probably a Pinterest pin or something but I really don’t know) but they are repeat performers in my house and may be of help to you. Enjoy!
Crock Pot Roast
3 lb (ish) Beef Roast – I buy whatever doesn’t have too much fat and is on sale
1 pkg – Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1 pkg – Dry Italian Dressing Mix
1 pkg – Brown Gravy Mix
1 cup – Water
Spray your crock pot with non-stick spray (this is a tip for ANY recipe in the crock pot – it will save you from scrubbing). Put Roast in crock pot. Mix dry mixes with cup of water and pour cover the roast. Cover. 8 hours on the LOW setting.
I serve with mashed potatoes and a big salad. Would also be great over buttered egg noodles. You could throw veggies in with it (carrots, potatoes, onions) but that takes me back to institutional food, so I don’t do that.
Crock Pot Ham
3 lb (ish) Pre-cooked spiral ham – I’ve used bone in and out – both are fine.
1 large can of pineapple tidbits
1 ½ cup (ish) brown sugar
Spray your crock pot with non-stick spray (this is a tip for ANY recipe in the crock pot – it will save you from scrubbing). Spread a thin layer of brown sugar over the bottom of the crock pot. Place ham on top of sugar. Pour pineapple tidbits over ham. Top ham with remaining brown sugar. Cover. Cook 8 hours on the LOW setting.
In other news, we are deep into the “getting ready to place our house on the market” madness of this moving thing. My house looks like a cyclone hit it and smells like a paint factory – so I guess we are on track. Despite all this craziness I decided it would be a great idea to host my monthly book club meeting. My motivation for hosting was two-fold
- when we move out to the woods, people will be less inclined to drive out to my house for book club thus eliminating my hosting opportunities a.k.a. ability to choose the book for the month (and I have a book that I really want us to read). AND…
- setting a deadline to have my soon to be selling house in shape for public consumption is just what I need to light a fire under my procrastinating self.
This was a really good idea in theory – but book club is in 6 days and I am less than confident in my ability to pull it off. I sense a lot of long days and nights ahead. BUT the pay-off of a nearly completely “staged” first floor IF I get it all done is a major driving force – so press on we shall.
Oh and one more thing – we are starting ballroom dancing lessons next Tuesday (that’s Valentine’s Day for those of you who don’t own a calendar) and I have no doubt that my non-coordinated self will have all kinds of ridiculous stories to share from that particular adventure. Stay tuned!