Cooking in a crock pot is so easy and convenient, and there are lots of great recipes you can make. I found some really good ones to try in my review copy of the new cookbook Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. There are lots of great full-color photos in this book that has 100 slow-cooker recipes which include:
- Vegetable Pot Pie with Biscuits
- Lasagna in a Soup Bowl
- 4-Cheese Artichoke Dip
- Honey Baked Chicken
- Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
- Garlicky Mashed Red Potatoes
- Cider-Baked Apples
- Pumpkin Spice Créme Brûlée
Such a great variety of recipes to choose from! I decided to try the Yummy Vegetable Pasta because I was in the mood for something comfort food-like, and this sounded like just the thing to make! The recipe was easy to follow and the only thing I did differently was add a cup of chopped zucchini, since I happened to have that already. Fresh sliced green beans would be a nice addition, too, if you want to add in an extra veggie or two.
This pasta dish smells great while it’s cooking. And you do have to stir it well before serving, since the spaghetti may clump together a little. But it’s very good and cheesy and yummy, just like the recipe name says! 🙂
YUMMY VEGETABLE PASTA from Stock the Crock (with a few little changes)
Makes 6 to 7 servings
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with juice or 1 quart canned stewed tomatoes, with liquid (I cut the stewed tomatoes into large chunks)
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- Optional: 1 cup chopped zucchini and/or 1 cup sliced green beans
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 pound spaghetti or fettuccine, divided
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (if you want this dish to be extra-cheesy, use 3 cups!)
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives, for garnish
Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
In medium bowl, stir together the chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, stewed tomatoes with their liquid, sliced mushrooms, and oregano (also stir in the chopped zucchini and/or green beans, if using).
Place 1/4 of the vegetables in the bottom of the crock. Top vegetables with half of the pasta, breaking pasta, as needed, to fit. Sprinkle the pasta with half of the Cheddar cheese.
Spoon in half of the remaining vegetables. Top with the remaining pasta, breaking the pasta as needed; the remaining Cheddar cheese, and the remaining vegetables.
In the bowl used to mix the vegetables, whisk together the soup and milk. Pour over the ingredients in the crock.
Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the vegetables and pasta are tender.
Before serving, stir the sauce through the pasta and vegetables. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.
Scatter fresh chives on top just before serving.
Another nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take super-long to make–3 1/2 to 4 hours isn’t bad for a slow-cooker recipe. Have you been making any great-tasting meals in your slow-cooker?
This pasta dish was kind of an experiment. I had some extra rotini pasta and wanted to make a casserole with it…something cheesy, but with some veggies in it, too. I also like crumbly toppings. So I tried combining all of that into this Extremely Cheesy Veggie Pasta! This works great as a main dish or side dish for lunch or dinner. And your kids may actually eat this, since all that cheese somewhat disguises the veggies!
I used thawed frozen veggies in this but you could also used canned. And I’m sure fresh veggies would work great, too–just blanch or steam them so they’re a little tender before mixing them in with the other ingredients. The Bread Crumb Topping makes a lot of topping, so if you just want a light sprinkle of it to top of your casserole, you can halve the topping recipe.
EXTREMELY CHEESY VEGGIE PASTA by NancyCreative
Makes a 9 x 9″ pan; about 5 to 6 servings
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 8 ounces dry rotini pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 cups of your favorite frozen vegetables, thawed and drained well (I used a broccoli, cauliflower, green been, carrot blend)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken soup
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese (you’ll also need an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup to top the pasta)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (you’ll also need an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup to top the pasta)
EXTRA CHEESE TOPPING
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
BREAD CRUMB TOPPING (halve the amount if you don’t want a lot of topping)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking dish.
In large bowl, combine melted butter, onion and garlic powders, and Italian Seasoning; blend well. Add in the cooked and drained pasta and thawed vegetables, and toss them in the melted butter/seasoning mixture until pasta and veggies are coated.
In a medium bowl, mix together milk and condensed soup (undiluted), blending well. Add in the Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese, blending well. Blend this soup/cheese mixture into the pasta and veggie mixture, and blend everything together well. Then spread into the prepared 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses evenly over top of pasta.
In small bowl, combine the ingredients for the bread crumb topping–melted butter, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta and cheeses.
Bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes (crumbs will be browned). Remove from oven and serve.
Some of the crumbs brown quite a bit, but that’s OK-if you want to keep them from browning that much, cover with foil the last 5 minutes of baking.
Are you a fan of cheese and pasta? What’s your favorite summer pasta dish?
Sharing this recipe at Meal Plan Monday.
I haven’t done a lot of juicing, but when I received a copy of The Everything Juicing Book to review, it made me want to juice more! Not only does this book include a wide variety of simple and unique juice recipes, it also has information on just about anything you would want to know about juicing!
So why juice? Co-author Carole Jacobs explains in the beginning of the book, “Juicing is an easy, convenient, delicious, and nutritious way to consume a high level of essential vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, delivering nutrients to the body in a form that is immediately absorbed and assimilated. Cooking and processing destroys natural nutrients in foods, but juicing helps preserve these nutrients.”
The book goes into detail about the many benefits of juicing, from juicing for weight loss and longevity to juicing for stronger bones, more energy and stamina, and cancer prevention. And the recipes are organized by chapter according to the health benefit they provide…for example, you’ll find juicing recipes that are especially good for reducing food cravings, bloating, and lowering cholesterol in the Juicing for Weight Loss chapter. It really is quite an informative, handy guide to the world of juicing!
Here are a few recipes if you want to try them out! I tried the Orange Carrot, which is a good juice for fasting (although I was not on a fast–I just like the orange-carrot combination 🙂 ).
I pulled recipes from several different chapters so you can get an idea of the various health benefits these different juices have. There are lots of delicious-sounding fruit and veggie juice combinations that I never would have thought of myself! And it’s great to know what the specific health benefit for each particular juice is, too!
ORANGE CARROT (good for juice fasting)
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 3 carrots, peeled
Juice carrots and orange. Stir. Makes 1 cup.
CELERY CARROT (good for lowering cholesterol)
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 2 stalks celery, leaves intact
Juice carrots and celery. Stir. Makes 1 cup.
APPLE YAMMER (good for weight loss)
- 1 yam, cut into pieces
- 1 red apple, cored
Juice yam and apple. Stir. Makes 1 cup.
TROPICAL CUCUMBER (good for skin)
- 1 cup pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 mango, pitted
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1/2 lemon, rind intact
Juice pineapple first, then mango and cucumber. Cut lemon into thin slices and juice it last. Stir well before serving. Makes 2 cups.
STRAWBERRY PATCH (good for strong bones)
- 1 apple, cored
- 1 cup strawberries, hulls intact
Juice apples and then strawberries. Stir well before serving. Makes 1 cup.
SPICY TOMATO (good for cancer prevention)
- 6 Roma tomatoes
- 1/4 red onion
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 celery stalk
Juice ingredients in order listed. Stir. Makes 1 1/4 cups.
After making these, you should be feeling really good and healthy! 🙂
I made these delicious and healthy organic veggies the other day, using the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Mediterranean Blend frozen vegetables. I added a Fresh Lemon Dressing on top, which was a nice lemony, tangy, finishing touch.
I also made this yummy chicken and veggie dish with the organic Southwestern Blend frozen vegetables, also from Whole Foods.
I mentioned in an earlier post that these are some of the new organic frozen food products in the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value line. There are so many veggies and fruits to choose from, but the Southwestern and Mediterranean Blends are among their newest products. They can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, and many other ways. And they’re great just the way they are as a side dish with your meal.
Here are my recipes if you’d like to try them out. They’re really good and good for you!
MEDITERRANEAN BLEND VEGGIES WITH FRESH LEMON DRESSING
- 1 (16-oz.) package Mediterranean Blend frozen vegetables (a blend of zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green beans, red peppers, and onions)
FRESH LEMON DRESSING (adapted from Lowe’s Creative Ideas )
- 4 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt
Prepare vegetables according to package directions.
To make lemon dressing, combine lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until thickened. Whisk in sour cream or yogurt.
To serve, drizzle dressing over cooked veggies or serve dressing on the side and dip veggies in dressing. The 16-ounce package of frozen veggies makes about 4 to 5 side servings and the dressing makes 6 to 8 servings, so you’ll have a little dressing left over–you can save that for a salad!
SOUTHWESTERN BLEND VEGGIES WITH CHICKEN
- 1 (16-0z.) package Southwestern Blend frozen veggies (a blend of onions and red and green peppers)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cooked, chopped-up chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken I had purchased)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully add frozen vegetables to the skillet and saute 5 minutes. Add chopped chicken and saute 2 more minutes, or until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning and serve. Makes 4 servings.
These are both really quick and easy recipes, and so healthy! Hope you get a chance to try them sometime!