Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Crockpot + 2 Simple Soups

I bought a Crockpot on Black Friday and I have to say I really like it. I won't say love. Because I think I like things a certain way. Like I wish it would heat a full pot to boiling or simmer quicker. If you want that to happen a Crockpot is not a good way to cook. But if you have at least 6 to 8 hours on high then its great. Plus with the longer cooking time on low heat the flavors have more time to come together. So in alot of recipes slow cooking is a great way. Plus heating it slowly and not simmering or boiling the entire cook time helps to hold in some of the vitamins that high levels of heat can destroy.

So here are 2 meals that I have tried. All are very simple & quick to throw together. But all take atleast 4 to 8 hours of cooking time in the Crock. I also throw in the quick instructions. You can also go to my other Blog and they are listed as individual entries for easier finding & printing. Plus I have been entering recipes & photos there long before I come and enter them here. So check it out! Leave me some feedback if you have time! I would love to hear from you!

Crock Pot Chili or A Quick Chili

Crock Pot Chili - 5 QT

3- 15oz Cans Chili Beans w/ liquid
2- 15oz Cans Chili Beans w/ liquid
2- 15oz Cans Mixed Beans w/ liquid
6 Carrots, Chopped
4 Stocks Celery, Chopped
2 -28oz cans Chopped Tomatoes (1 w/ liquid & 1 w/o)
2 Simply Organic Mild Chili Packets
1 Tbsp Chili powder
Paprika- Optional to taste

Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and set on High for 4 to 6 hours. Its done as soon as the carrots & celery ate tender & the flavors have combined.

Quick Pot chili

Same ingredients but add 1 onion. and 1/2 a small can or tomato paste.

Place chopped carrots, celery, & onion into pot w/ a small amount of oil. Cook till tender. About 10 minutes. Add Tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add all the other ingredients. Let cook on stove at a simmer for about 30 min- to 1 hour. Just long enough for the seasoning to grow and share its flavor. Then you are ready to eat!

Chili is even better the 2nd day. The flavors have time to come together some more and the sauce thickens a little more. It is so good!

  • You can also add pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, etc.If you do this make sure you don't let it cook for to long after wards.
  • Kale & other hearty green would be good to wilt in at the end as well.
  • You can also turn left overs into pot pie!
  • You can also pot ground flax in this recipe for some Omega-3
  • Or you could add some Vegetable puree like sweet potato or chunks of sweet potato to add to the nutrient spectrum.

Smoky Barley & Veggies - 4 ways, Crock Pot, Speedy, Bake, Pie

Crock Pot Smoky Barley & Veg Soup

This is almost basically a "rock" soup. Meaning you just throw in everything you have. This is a basic recipe. You can add or take out any of the veggies or barley. Add A little more paprika if you want a little more flavor. This will fit tight in a 5qt Crock pot.


1 Tbsp Oil
6 Carrots, Chopped
4 Celery, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic
3 Potatoes, Chopped
1 Cup Corn, frozen or Canned
3 Cans Beans, Drained (I use Kidney & Black beans)
1 Cans Chopped Tomatoes
6 Cups Veg Broth
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Hot sauce ( add an extra if you like it hot, I use the smoky Tabasco)
3/4 Cup Pearled Barley
Salt & pepper to taste

You could also fold Kale into this soup.

Cook covered.

Heat Crock pot for 15 or 20 minutes. Put oil in bottom of Crock pot. Chop up all veggies and put them in the crock pot with the oil, paprika, corn, garlic, & bay leaves. Mix up well. Then add the drained beans Tomatoes, Veg Broth, & Hot sauce. Let cook on High for 4 to 6 hours. Add the barley 15 minutes before you are getting ready to eat. But even if you leave it cook longer the barley will hold up pretty good. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Quick Stove top Fix

Heat pot on stove. Add oil. Add all veg, garlic, paprika, & bay leaves. Let cook till veggies are tender. like 15 minutes. Add Everything else including the barley. Cook covered. Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

All Done!

I like to take toasted bread & let it soak up some of the broth. It is very yummy!

Bake/ Pot Pie/ or Shepards Pie
You can also turn this into a cake. Follow instructions as listed above. Except just let veggies start to get tender. Don't let them get totally tender. You can add the barley or not. It you add the barley. Add an extra 3/4 Cup. Let in soak up all the liquid.. Put in oven and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Check doneness of veggies to know when it can come out. About 10 to 15 minutes before it comes out of the oven add the vegan cheese (such as daiya). Let it melt and slightly brown. Then it is ready.

  • You could also cook it like the pot pie below. Have everything done and stick in oven just to melt the cheese. But this won't caramelize the tomatoes and cheese on the sides. And that crunchy top is yummy.

  • You could also put biscuits on top to bake.

  • Or Mashed Potatoes like a Shepard's pie! Add a little Boca crumbles or other crumbled vegan meats.

Pot Pie
You could also turn this into a pie. Don't add all the broth & barley if you are going to do this. Only use like 2 to 3 cups broth. Cook till veggies are done. If the broth hasn't cooked down and thickened from the potato starch add some oil & flour mixture. Heat the oil like 20 sec in microwave. For every Tbsp of oil add a tbsp of flour. For every cup of liquid you want to thicken add 1 tbsp each. After this thickens put into pie crust. With a bottom and top crust. And bake till crust is browning.

  • If you are topping with crust, bread, or potatoes it is a good idea to take out the barley so that there are not as many carbs in the meal.

I will be back to add some links to some crust & biscuit recipe....

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