Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy mom's recipe corner

It's Monday. Back to work after the weekend. There is always so much to do in the mornings, and even more after we get home from picking up the kids, work, errands, and whatever else must be done.

What's for dinner? Raise your hand if you're sick of ordering pizza.

I'm not a fabulous cook - I'm not bad, but I'm no Giada or Rachel or whoever is the Food Network star of the moment (see how unfabulous I am? I don't even watch Food Network!) But, I have to feed my family. And some things they actually love when I make them! Here are two of our favorite recipes (mine for easiness, theirs for taste).

Teriyaki pork roast (also known in our house as Crack Roast. Will explain later.)

Put a pork roast in the crock pot (I wish I could tell you what kind of roast it was, but I have no idea. It is square-ish, not very large so it fits in my pot, has a layer of fat on the bottom and not much at all in the rest of the meat, if that helps.)
Add a cup of brown sugar, rubbing it in the meat and leaving it all in the pot. Pour 2/3 cup apple juice over the roast. Put the lid on, turn the dial to low, and go to work. When you get home at the end of the day, it's ready.
Remove the roast to a plate for cutting, then strain the liquid into a small pot (for this, you either need three hands or a helper. I use my husband for pouring while I hold the strainer over the pot).
Dissolve 2 tbsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp water and add to the liquid. Cook until thickened and serve over the meat.

My husband and daughter LOVE this so much. The first time we had it, they kept getting more and more, and practically licking up the sauce. My husband joked that I must have put crack in the sauce because it's so addictive. Daughter agreed. So now we call it crack roast, and the sauce is crack sauce. Not politically correct, but it's our house. We can call it what we wish. And yes, it's that good. If there is any sauce left over, it is also good on chicken.

I wish I could give credit for this recipe, since I originally found it online, but I found it with a search of "crock pot recipes" and printed it out, but I have no idea where the printout it and since it's so easy I go by memory now. This was not my creation, though.

Chicken and dumplings

I usually buy bagged frozen chicken breasts at the store, since I can get six for under $6 as opposed to 3 for $8 for fresh chicken breasts. And no, I will NOT buy a whole chicken and cut it up. I don't care if the per-pound price is cheaper - I'd throw away almost all of it and then not be able to eat. Raw meat makes me sick. I can barely eat cooked meat sometimes. Making C&D in the usual way doesn't turn out so good with the frozen chicken, though, so I get help from the crock pot.
I put a couple pieces in the crock pot (really depends on the size of the ones I use -today I used 2 because they were both fairly large). Add garlic, pepper, parsley, and 1 each vegetable and chicken bouillon cubes. Pour in 2 cups of water, put on the lid, and turn on. (If I use still-frozen chicken I start it on high while I'm still home, then turn to low before I leave). Let it cook all day.

In the evening, remove the chicken and strain the broth into a big pot. I add a carton of boxed reduced-sodium chicken broth (after using 2 bouillon cubes you need reduced sodium, trust me) and a little water if needed. Bring to a boil while making dumpling dough from the recipe on a box of Bisquick. The total cook time is 20 minutes, divided into 10 minute segments. I let the chicken cool a bit as I mix the dumplings and put them into the broth, then shred the chicken. At the 10-minute mark I stir in the chicken and cover. After 10 more minutes, they're done! Delicious chicken and dumplings.

This recipe is also easy to increase. I actually make it with 3 cups of Bisquick and 1 cup of milk. it easily feeds two adults, a teenager, and a toddler. For less people, though, use the given amount. It makes plenty.

So now you have two new recipes to add to your dinner rotation. Happy eating!


  1. Wow- I want to try the pork roast recipe- it sounds easy and delicious!! I just got a crock pot last year and my future son-in-law gave me a crock pot recipe book for Christmas (was he trying to hint something???) I've been experimenting with different recipes and this pork roast one sounds like something I could do!!!

    Thanks again!

  2. You're welcome! You'll have to let me know how you like it afterward. My husband insisted on adding a crock pot to our wedding registry almost 14 years ago and I thought it was silly. Now I use it all the time! The roast is super easy - I don't do complicated recipes ;)

  3. Can't wait to try the pork recipe, but I'm going to use a beef roast because that's what I have. I'll let you know how it turns out! Thanks! I love easy, crock pot dinners for my family of five.

  4. Ooh I bet beef would be good, too! I know it's good on chicken. I found a recipe for crock pot scalloped potatoes, too, but I don't have the time to peel and slice the potatoes on work mornings. It's good, but a weekend things.