I started using crock pot about a couple months ago when I decided to cook dinners on the weekdays for my family. My live-in mother in law would usually cook our dinners back then but I have decided that I should start cooking partly because I feel that I can incorporate non Asian vegetables in our meals for a more diverse nutrition (my MIL cooks Asian food). At the same time, I have received enough thank you points to redeem a gift card from Best Buy. I decide to used that gift card to buy a crock pot because I have heard so many good things about it – for people with busy lifestyles.
So my first crock pot is manual 6-qt Cook and Carry, which is paid for by the gift card I received – so it’s free for me! I wanted to get the digital one but I opted for the manual because I read about computerized crock pot might break easier. I have search for a lot of crock pot recipes and a lot of them requires can soups or other instant seasonings – which I want to stay away from because I want a truly healthy, all fresh ingredients meals.
So I make soups EVERY Monday for a few months and here’s what I do to save time.
- I buy the 5-6 veggies on sale that week. See below for what type of veggies I usually get.
- I cut the veggies the night before, put them in the ceramic crock of the crock pot, wrap the pot in saran wrap, then put in the fridge over night.
- For meat, it depends on the soup. Chicken thighs, I pre-cut them raw and put them in the crock along with other veggies. I also use ground meat for my soups since my daughter doesn’t really like to chew tough proteins, those, I precooked them first to drain the excess oil and put them at top of the veggie pile.
- Next morning, I put the ceramic crock into the pot (without the saran wrap), add enough water, close the lid, set the plug and set to low heat. (Since I’m out of the house for about 10+ hours each day and I have a manual crock pot, I used one of these timers where I plug it in between the wall outlet and the crock pot plug and set it on from 10am – 4pm (6 hours). I get home at 6:30pm. The crock stays hot for a pretty long time after it’s off so by the time I come home, it’s the perfect temperature for me to eat without burning my tongue)
Main veggies/fruits I usually get for my soups:
I usually determine the soup base for my pot. I find tomato soup base is the easiest to work with because it ‘masks’ a lot of of ‘bad tasting’ veggies/grains like kale and quinoa. Other soup bases I’ve used are mushrooms and onions. Occasionally I would use green peppers. These 4 core veggies/fruits have a stronger taste.
“Side” veggies to go along with my soups:
I usually pick lighter tasting or super healthy foods to go along with the veggies above, or whatever it’s on sale. Kale and spinach goes well with mushrooms. Carrots, celery, beets goes well with tomatoes – etc. I also put beans or tofu in the soups as part of the protein in the soup.
Stay tune for more of my experiences and recipes with my crock pot!