A Kitchen Affair

I have been having a bit of an affair this week. In our kitchen. Don't gasp or worry, it's innocent. I have been enamored with my Crock-Pot.

I should probably explain. I tend to go through phases in the kitchen. Sometimes I do a great job planning, shopping and cooking. Sometimes we are on Restaurant Row a lot. And I mean a lot literally folks.

Being inspired by many of my Bloggy Friends I am trying to take baby steps to Menu Plan Monday. I say baby steps because I don't want to overwhelm my fragile kitchen skills.

This week I managed to plan, make a list and grocery shop on Monday. I also cooked 4 out of the 5 weekdays. Now y'all, believe it or not, this is a huge deal. For sad little me.

One of the baby steps is to use my crock pot. I love how you can throw stuff in there, forget about it, then several hours later it has become a meal and your kitchen smells yummy. There is just something comforting about Campbell's Cream of Mushroom/Chicken and a crock pot isn't there?

Here's a brief menu recap:

Monday I finally made Mique's tried and true recipe for Zesty Crockpot Chicken. Not only was it delicious, it was EASY (which is one of my criteria of course).

On Tuesday I made Pork Chops with Mushrooms served over brown rice. The recipe came from this great cookbook:

Wednesday was another crockpot day with Chicken Noodle Soup. However, I made the Dreadful Noodle Mistake of putting them in too early. I ended up making Chicken Mush. We ate out for Tex-Mex, which was really a win-win.

Thursday was leftovers. Scott also ate leftovers for lunch during the week.

Friday I made Beef Lombardi Casserole from Southern Living Everyday Menus. It was a hit. (C'mon who can resist meat, noodles and cheese?) I am patting myself on the back because I divided it into 2 8x8 casserole dishes so we could eat one now and freeze one. Sometimes I actually surprise myself.

These are two other favorite cookbooks of mine:

Two of the best words--quick and easy. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind following an elaborate 25 step recipe from time to time. I've even been known to hunt down vegetable, herb, or spice I've never heard of, but I haven't done this much since we've had A. I usually want meals to be tasty, fairly healthy and pretty quick to prepare. I also like Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons set of cookbooks. I have not mustered the courage to try The Barefoot Contessa yet. Someday. Don't even get me started on Martha. I admire and drool, yes, but I just can't deal with the pressure of perfection. That truly is a good thing.

I'm even starting to plan for next week. I really don't know what is happening to me, but I like it. I may even post my plans and the results so y'all can hold me accountable.

How is your relationship with your Crock Pot? Do you plan your meals each week and follow through? Do you have a favorite trusty cookbook or source for recipes? Please share!


  1. some weeks are better than others.
    with our new "lifestyle" I am now having to plan dinners and lunches! aaaccckkk! but life goes much more smoothly when I do. it is just finding time to get to the store nowadays. and I do like the crockpot, but like you, need to use it more often!


  2. Yay, I love sharing recipes! I get so many ideas from peoples blogs. I love my crockpot, and that Zesty Crockpot chicken is one of my family's favorite's too! It's on the menu for tomrrow. Ever since I've been doing that menu plan monday it's gotten me way organized! I love it!

  3. I am soooo with you on this one. I think we are both in love with the same appliance! I love using it too, especially on busy days. My fave slow-cooker cookbook is my 'Fix-it and Forget It Lightly' cookbook (I don't think you can go wrong with anything by that title!) Anyway, I'm so impressed with you planning your meals in advance and cooking this week!! I'm sure A. and Scott both love it! By the way, is your other Holly Hobbie plate still standing? LOL! :)

  4. Due to my anal tendercies, I plan menus too. It truly is a lifesaver and has helped us save money and my sanity! I don't use either one of my two crock pots as much as I should...but you are inspiring me! :) We should do more recipe swaps... And I'm proud of you for cooking. J and I always LOVE and run to Holly's dish at potlucks or get togethers. Don't slight yourself - you rock in the kitchen!

  5. I'm like you - sometimes I'm really great at planning meals and shopping and other weeks it's like I'm staring at the stove at 5 p.m. wondering what on earth is going to miraculously appear in there. I do a few things in my crock pot that always turn out great, though - vegetable soup, rump roast w/ potatoes and carrots. I've never had much luck with chicken so I'm willing to try something you've tried. I've been thinking about taking the baby steps towards Menu Plan Monday too. I need to do better about planned leftovers to make it easier on busy nights.

  6. i go back and forth too. my problem is i'll plan menus, and then things just never work out. we're out, or gone, or things just don't get done. so then i've got all the stuff, but never make it. right now i'm just trying to clean out the freezer so i can start new.


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