Friday, August 2, 2013

Crock Pot Quickies

Hey, everyone!

This post is dedicated to one of my new best friends--my crock pot.

Some people call it a slow cooker--same thing. Point being, that thing is a lifesaver. As a new mom, tasks like cooking end up on the back burner (pun somewhat intended). You're busy enough nursing/making bottles, changing diapers, cuddling, and loving your new little person. Little Z doesn't give me much time to cook, so I have turned to my crock pot a lot more lately than I ever have before. I thought I might take a minute to share some of the quick-and-easy recipes that we have enjoyed. (Keep in mind that there are lots of more complicated recipes that would be considered healthier. The goal with these recipes is simply speed. It takes just a minute or two to throw these guys together, meaning you get back to your baby before they even know you're gone.)

Note: The amounts in my recipes are enough for dinner for two with leftovers for one. My hubby likes to take the leftovers to work the next day, which works out perfectly. If your family is bigger (or smaller), these recipes could easily be tweaked to suit.

Quickie Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
1/2 bottle Teriyaki marinade (I used Target's brand. You can find it near the salad dressings and such.)
2-3 chicken breasts (I always use frozen.)
1-2 cups brown rice
Twice as much water as rice (For two people, 2 cups water and 1 cup rice should be about right.)

Grease crock pot. Put in chicken and pour marinade on top. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Start rice about 50 minutes before serving. Boil water and rice (remember, 2 to 1), turn to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 45-55 minutes. I like to stir it once or twice just to make sure it cooks evenly. Remove chicken from marinade and shred. Serve over rice. Pour a little of the sauce back over the chicken to taste. Discard extra sauce.

Quickie Crock Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken
1/2 bottle Lawry's Lemon Pepper Marinade (Target makes the same thing for a little cheaper.)
2-3 chicken breasts
Brown rice

Instructions are the same as above.

We enjoyed this one for dinner tonight. Yum!

Quickie Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Quesadillas
1/2 bottle medium salsa (Any salsa would work--pick one that is as mild or hot as you like.)
2-3 chicken breasts
3-4 large whole wheat tortillas
1-2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (sharp cheddar is our favorite)
Sour cream, Guacamole, and any other fixings that you want on the side.
Optional: chili powder and seasoned salt for a little extra flavor. I've also heard of people doing salsa and a packet of taco seasoning. It's the same idea, but I thought it had plenty of flavor with just a little bit of extra spice.)

Cook chicken as described above. If adding extra spices, put them in after you've added your salsa. When chicken is done, shred it and set aside. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Melt about 1/2 Tbsp. butter before frying your quesadillas. I like to layer it cheese, meat, cheese. We have found that they are a little less messy to eat if you fold them in half instead of putting your filling between two flat tortillas. Brown on both sides, making sure that the cheese is fully melted. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and anything else that you like with your quesadillas.

Quickie Crock Pot Orange Chicken (via Six Sisters' Stuff)
1 cup orange marmalade
1 cup BBQ sauce (my husband's favorite is Sweet Baby Ray's)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos for a healthy, low-sodium substitute.)
3-4 chicken breasts
Brown rice

Combine all ingredients in greased crock pot and cook as described above. It doesn't taste quite like your typical orange chicken, but this version was a real winner with my husband. Probably because it has his all-time favorite BBQ sauce in it. :)

Those are just four quick fixes, and they can all be done with frozen chicken in just a few minutes. Give them a try when you want to give your family a yummy dinner without taking too much time away from your tiny.

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