Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crock Pot Challenge by PBFingers Wrap-up

Earlier this year Julie from PB Fingers challenged herself & other readers of her blog to a Crock pot Challenge

The crock pot in many households, definitely including our own, is highly underused.  Yet, almost every single meal I get from the crock pot is absolutely fantastic!  Why do I not use my crock pot more often?  I have no idea to be quite honest, but I am so glad I took on this challenge and made some amazing crock pot recipes!

At first, it was a challenge finding recipes that didn't have tomatoes in them.  It really stinks to be allergic to tomatoes.  You can't eat marinara, burgers with ketchup, many stews, red sauce pizza, BLT's...etc, but life goes on!  I had to make a few alternatives to some of my recipes to not include tomatoes, such as beef stew.  Do you know how hard it is to find a vegetable stock without tomatoes in it?  Pretty hard!  Thank goodness for Emeril & his organic all natural Vegetable Stock!

Being able to use the crock pot for dinners made evenings easier:
  1. I put it all together in the morning & then the house smells delicious all day & I am just waiting anxiously for dinner
  2. We have leftovers for days.  Sometimes that's a good thing, other times it is annoying.  We didn't try freezing leftovers, but that may be an option.
  3. Not having to make dinner at night left me time to make lots of non-slip headbands, jewelry & jewelry organizers for my Etsy shop!  WIN!
  4. It leaves me an option to work out easier in the evening if I don't get up to do an AM workout.  This has become nice on Wednesdays when I do Power Yoga for my half marathon training.
Now onto the recipes!

Italian Beef
My absolute favorite was the easiest to make and tasted the best as leftovers, the Italian Beef!  My husband suggested it, I had never heard of Italian beef before, and oh boy am I hooked!  I also tried Terra Chips for the first time.  I found them delicious, but some of them were exceptionally hard...wonder if that's normal?
Apple & Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats
My least favorite ended up being the Apple & Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats.  This is solely because I have decided that I do not like baked apples that are mushy.  I love applesauce, I also love apple pie.  However, if I am going to have an apple pie, I want my apples to be slightly crispy still, just the way my dear friend Hope & my beautiful mom make their apple pies!
  • Most people that have tried overnight apple cinnamon oats love them!  You might too, so here's my recipe.  Although, if you are like me & don't like mushy apple chunks, put them in for 45 min or so when you wake up!
  • I combined a few recipes to make this one:
    • 1 C Steel Cut Oats, 3.5 C Water (could also do a water or milk combo or water/apple juice combo), 1.5 t cinnamon, dash of all spice.
    • Put in in a crock pot, slightly stir, cook it for 8-10 hours overnight on low. 
    • In the morning, top it w/ chopped walnuts, a little maple syrup (1/2 T) and raisins or dried fruit & you are good to go!
Beef Stew
This is always a favorite in our house.  Sometimes, I think we eat it because we know we are going to have cornbread served with the stew!  I substitute the vegetable juice for vegetable stock.  Basically all vegetable juice is tomato based, which makes for an extremely tasty stew, but when you have EE & are allergic like myself, it's best to avoid the tomatoes!

Cranberry Pork Roast
The dish, which was provided by my father and his girl friend, almost came in first.  Had the Italian beef hadn't have been so freaking amazing!  This Cranberry Pork Roast is something I never would have thought to make, and I am so glad Kim & Dad provided us this amazing recipe.

Pineapple Chicken
I only cooked one serving of this since Neal was out of town, & it turned out to be slightly dry, but it was still a great dinner nonetheless.

White Chicken Chili
This tasty chili from Bush's Beans is a favorite in my household as well.  Typically we cook this on the stove top, but making it in the crock pot really made for a simple cleanup and a lot less time checking back in on the meal!  Again, we just left out the tomatoes!

Greek Chicken
Lastly, I tried Tone it Up's Greek Chicken with Quinoa.  I really really liked it!  My husband seemed indifferent, but I don't think he put any Greek yogurt with his!  The recipe from their post doesn't call for the Greek yogurt, but I think it's a tasty addition to the meal!

That wraps up the 7 crock pot recipes I tried during the challenge.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my Weekly Dinner Wrap-Up menu where I include Chicken Gumbo Ya Ya, another crock pot recipe from my father & Kim!

Question of the day
What's your favorite thing about making meals in your crock pot?


  1. I think I'm going to have to try the cranberry pork roast. That sounds so good! I love crock pot cooking because I can prep the meals on the weekend and just pop them in the crock pot before work in the morning. And coming home to a house that smells amazing is also a nice perk! :)

    1. Kim, you just made my week easier. I haven't even thought to prep on the weekend! Thank you!

  2. The Cranberry Pork Roast and Greek Chicken both sound great!

    1. They were & I hope you get to enjoy one of them! The Cranberry Pork Roast was a big win! I'd wrap it up in tortillas or heat some and toss it with a salad for lunch. We had a lot of leftovers.