I LOST MY COOKING MO-JO!!!
Lately I've been tired of cooking.
Actually, more specifically, lately I've been tired. And our normal eating patterns have suffered.
Lately we have reached for pizza in a box on more than one occasion. Unheard of over here. Not that they're not good, but there's usually something slightly more enticing than that that we want to eat. But pizza in a box serves just fine when you're tired and out of mo-jo.
That Rachel Ray never seems to run out of mo-jo. She probably makes fairly good bucks out of being full of mo-jo. She makes those 1/2 hour meals look so easy but, really, does she do her own grocery shopping? How about the dishes? Her small cupboards are always full of every ingredient that she needs for that day's recipe - is she that good or is there some middle person involved in her efficiency?
I jest. Of course she has a middle man. Or two. Or fifty.
Well, I don't have a middle man.
Someone "pinned" something on Pinterest the other night that totally caught my attention. (I am still wading through this Pinterest thing....not really willing to spend lots of time checking stuff out but I do like seeing what my friends are pinning.)
Anyway, the concept is Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Cooking. Basically, these people are posting recipes of slow cooker meals that they are preparing in advance, freezing, then pulling out and popping into the slow cooker for a good hot meal 8 hours later or less. Some of them were actually preparing slow cooker meals for a month at a time. That's a lot of slow cooker meals.
I sorted through the first few recipes that I found and was a little skeptical as these gals were putting everything into their freezer bags, including uncooked potatoes. Their recipes were met with rave reviews but, I don't know, I don't always find that frozen potatoes turn out that well, and raw ones frozen then cooked? Well, obviously, I'm still skeptical. I really don't need a complete meal pre-prepared - it doesn't take much time to cook some potatoes, noodles or rice when the supper hour is right around the corner.
So I spent a couple of days coming up with my own plan. I committed to giving this concept a go and my target was to have 5 ziploced slow cooker meals in the freezer by the end of the week. When I got a few meat bargains at the grocery store today, I got started and already have 4 meals in the freezer. I will head back to the store on Friday to get some chicken to do a couple of chicken meals and then will consider the job done.
When I chose my recipes, I only selected ones that involved the meat and a marinade/sauce that only included fresh onions and/or garlic for vegetables. Basically, the meat went into the ziploc bag, raw, followed by seasonings/sauces/marinades. I rubbed the marinades into the meat so that the meat was covered, zipped up the bag and took it to the freezer. Before I will use a package, I will thaw the meat in the fridge overnight and then put it in the slow cooker for the day. I wrote the recipe title and cooking times/temps (high or low) on the ziploc bag. And I'm kind of excited! I tried a few combinations of things that I haven't tried before. It feels really nice going into a busy work week next week, knowing that a good meal will be within reach for anyone who is left at home to cook.
Curious as to what I've made so far?
- Applesauce Pork Pieces - applesauce/Dijon mustard/sage based pork steaks
- Honey Parmesan Pork Roast - honey, Parmesan cheese, basil, soy sauce infused pork roast
- Cranberry Turkey Breast - cranberry sauce/onion soup mix over white meat
- Rosemary Beef Roast
Rosemary Beef Roast
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5- to 6-lb beef boneless sirloin tip roast
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used much less, dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup beef flavored broth
3 tablespoons chili sauce
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 In small bowl, mix oil and Worcestershire sauce; brush over beef roast. Rub roast evenly with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, add onion. Pour 1/4 cup of the broth over onion. Place beef roast on onion. Refrigerate remaining broth.
2 Cover and cook on Low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.
3 Remove beef from cooker; cover to keep warm. In small bowl, mix remaining 3/4 cup broth, the chili sauce and flour; stir into hot mixture in cooker. Increase heat setting to High. Cook uncovered 5 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve gravy with beef.I will have to let you know how these turn out! For chicken meals, I want to do a Italian Cream Cheese one plus maybe a gumbo. But I have a couple more days to search for good recipes and to find inspiration. I'm hoping to have found some new family favorites. Preparing the food took an hour, hour and a half once I fiddled around with cutting up a large pork loin into smaller pieces and trimming it, etc.
Good food, waiting to be cooked is, really, like money in the bank. Better not hoard it! ;).