Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovin' My Crock-Pot

It's been a bit slow in the kitchen this past week as far as recipes go. 

I've gotten some use out of my Crock-Pot.  Have I mentioned how much I love that thing?! 

I cooked up my first batch of dried beans!  I am so proud of myself!  Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love beans!  The fact that I am such a bean lover and only ever prepared them by using canned beans is amazing to me. 

Wanting to attempt cooking dried beans, I bought a 2 lb. bag of pinto beans from Aldi.  Two years ago.  I bought them, then felt intimidated by them.  So, I ignored them and let them just sit there in my pantry.  Doing nothing. 

Then, I found out that beans shouldn't sit for more than a year.  After that, they don't soften.  Great.  Just great. 

Since Joe does a lot of the food shopping, there's no way I can convince him to buy more dried beans if I throw this  2 year old bag of beans away.  So, I attempted to cook them anyway.  Fully prepared for failure. 

They turned out great!  After they were done cooking (in my Crock-Pot) I seasoned them a bit and let them cook a little bit longer.  I served the beans over rice with corn muffins on the side.  A perfectly filling, meatless meal for Ash Wednesday. 

We made refried beans out of the leftovers and have several containers full in the freezer for taco dinners. 

I will  post in more detail about cooking the beans and also the refried beans.  This time I really just threw stuff in and didn't measure a thing.  Next time, I need to measure and write it all down, so I know what the heck I'm talking about!  And of course, I'll have to remember to take pictures. 

I also used my Crock-Pot to cook some split chicken breast.  I cooked it and diced it to use in future meals.  With the cooking juices and bones, I made more chicken broth!  Two quarts of homemade chicken broth!  MMmmmm!  I see chicken rice soup and croquettes in my future. 

I made more vegetable broth.  Again, in the Crock-Pot.  I think I made about 10 cups of veggie broth.  That will be perfect to add to some minestrone soup I forgot was in the freezer.  I remember that I made it a bit thick and that it would need to have some broth added when served again.  Perfect.  I think this will be on the menu for this week's Lenten Friday meal. 

I did try a new recipe.  I bought a 5 lb. bag of carrots a couple of weeks ago.  I have no idea what I thought I needed 5 lbs. of carrots, but the price was low and I wanted carrots.  Impulse buy, I guess. 

Anway, I made a carrot and sweet potato soup on Friday.  I need to gather my notes, so that I can post the recipe soon.  

Now that I think about it, maybe the kitchen wasn't so slow after all! 

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