Monday, February 22, 2010

Crockpot Meals with Vanessa

One of the reasons we like to recruit guests at Bloom is because we know there are lots of wise, savvy, talented women out there in the interwebs - and we want to learn from them. Vanessa Brown seems to be quite savvy and talented when it comes to whipping up simple, budget friendly meals. So, we asked her to share a few with us. Thanks so much for sharing these with us, Vanessa, (my mouth was watering while I formatted the post.) Yum!

Hope you love 'em...

Until now I have not been very successful with Crockpot Meals. Usually I find them to be a bit bland, the meat never turns out well, or I just forget to plan ahead. But I love the idea of Crockpot Meals, I like to only spend 15-20 minutes preparing dinner because as you all know dinner time is crazy time. Crockpot meals usually achieve that; after it cooks all day you only have a little bit of work to do before serving it! So I have been on the hunt for some new, easy, inexpensive, delicious crockpot meals to add to my favorite recipes. I have found a couple that have been approved by everyone in my family and that I will add to our favorite go-to recipes.

Chicken Cacciatore Calzones

1 yellow onion, diced
2 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts
1 jar of sliced black olives
1 cup of chopped parsley
1 jar of marinara sauce
1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella or Monterrey jack cheese
2 cans of refrigerated pizza dough (or one batch of your favorite pizza dough from scratch)


Depending on your crockpot settings and how many hours you have you will put this mixture in your crockpot at a different time. I usually put my kids down for their nap and then put the mixture in my crockpot at 1pm for it to be ready at 5pm so 4 hours at my highest crockpot setting. I put all of the ingredients in but the Pizza Dough and Cheese.

When the mixture is done cooking, shred the chicken and get the calzone/dough part ready! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Divide your dough into 6 equal portions. Gently flatten into rounds and roll out each round. Spoon the mixture onto half of each round, top with cheese. Fold over to make a moon shape and pinch edges tightly. Cook for 15 minutes or until brown.

* This recipe makes a lot for my family of four so I use the crockpot leftovers (sauce, veggies and chicken) another day of the week and serve them over angel hair pasta. Very good either way!

Shredded Beef & Veggie Tostadas (or Tacos)

2 1/2 lb flank steak
2 tsp salt
1 large onion, cut into chunks
4-6 cloves of garlic
3 cups of water
Corn Tortillas
Your Favorite Veggies Toppings (guacamole, tomatoes, yell bell peppers,. your favorite salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, scallions)
Sour Cream, optional
Cheese, optional

1. Place meat, salt, onion, garlic and water in slow cooker. Cover and cook low 8-9 hours depending on your crockpot settings. When done remove meat from cooker, let cool a bit and then shred.

2. If you want to do tostadas, preheat the oven to 450, line corn tortillas on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes until they get crispy.

3. Build your tostadas (or tacos) with your favorite veggie toppings!

Hope these are two new crockpot recipes you can add to your favorite recipes!

***Scroll down for last week's giveaway winner***


Tara said...

Yum. The one thing I would suggest is to buy the crock pot liner bags (think smaller turkey bag) and cook your meal in them. Since the bag sits inside the crock pot and cooks like normal, your clean up consists of throwing the bag away and putting the crock pot back on your shelf. I promise they will change your life.

LJ said...

These recipes look great! Thanks, Vanessa!

Jesslyn said...

So excited to try these! The quest for good crockpot recipes so often ends in failure. These look awesome!

Camille said...

Who would have thought you could make these kinds of meals in a crock pot?! But Vanessa is savvy like that! Thanks for the recipes!

Valerie said...

Can't wait to try these. I love doing crock pot meals. I have been working on my freezer meals also (inspired by bloom) and these look like great mixes I could freeze also. Thanks :)

vanessa said...

Thanks for having me guys!