Tag Archives: slow cooking

$10 Meal for a Family of Six: Healthy, Tasty, and Simply Prepared

 

Your family of 6 can feast on five or more meals using food gathered from Our $50 spree Winco

Your family of 6 can feast on five or more meals using food gathered from Our $50 spree @ WinCo.

by donR  May 18th, 2016

The Family Meals Project originally shared ideas with health-conscious families to plan, prepare and share budget-friendly meals. The goal was to assemble family meals for less than $10 using whole foods in the menu plan. That was four years ago and it’s now time to revisit the idea of preparing a $10 meal*. Yes, it’s still very possible to keep healthy meal costs under $10. To prove it, we spent $50 at WinCo and assembled 5 family meals using these ingredients plus a few planned-overs and pantry staples.

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Crock-Pot Appetizers; simple, easy, tasty

Make-it-yourself tacos  or wraps is a sure-favorite appetizer,

Make-it-yourself tacos or wraps; simple appetizers.

When hosting a family gathering or football playoff party, appetizers are often the food of choice by our family. By serving appetizers, there is often no need to provide a 3 course meal and guests usually bring snacks and beverages. The end result is that we can spend time visiting because using crock-pots makes cooking easy and clean-up a breeze. Here are some recipes for slow-cooked appetizers.

Pulled Pork Sliders On a previous post I shared how to slow cook a  pork shoulder roast.  Once cooked, the pulled , sliced. or diced.  pork can be used in many recipes. Pork sliders is one option.

Pulled Pork Sliders
A small sandwich with tangy BBQ laced pork filling
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Lb pulled pork roast
  2. 2C catsup
  3. 6 oz tomato paste
  4. 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  5. 1C Brags Aminos
  6. 2T Worcestershire sauce
  7. 2t ground garlic
  8. small potato buns or dinner rolls
Instructions
  1. 1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. 2. Bring to a slow boil over med heat then simmer over low heat for 4 hours or until sauce thickens and flavors blend.
  3. 3. Combine with pulled pork to heat.
  4. 4, Serve it over the rolls
Family Meals Project http://familymealsproject.com/
Party Cereal Snack Mix    Make your own snack mix at half the cost and you  choose the ingredients. We made some for the crock-pot meals class and I preferred to omit the artificial cheese crackers and expensive cashews.

Slow Cooked Cereal Snack Mix
Serves 8
Worcestershire sauce is a key ingredient to make this snack mix full of interesting flavors.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. Party Chex Mix
  2. Ingredients
  3. 2 cups bagel bits
  4. 1 C pretzels
  5. 3 cups rice cereal squares
  6. 3 cups wheat cereal squares
  7. 3 cups corn cereal squares
  8. 2 cups salted almonds (optional)
  9. 4 T soy sauce
  10. 4 T Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1/2 C virgin olive oil (or peanut oil)
  12. 1 stick unsalted butter
  13. 6 - 10 cloves minced garlic
  14. 2 T powdered onion
  15. Makes: 10 cups
Instructions
  1. Instructions
  2. 1. Place the cereal, pretzels, bagel bits and almonds (if included) in a large slow cooker and turn the cooker to low heat.
  3. 2. In a sauce pan mix together the remaining ingredients and simmer it over low heat until the garlic releases its flavor. Pour it over the crackers in the slow cooker. Mix well.
  4. 3. Cook for about 3 to 4 hours uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the mix has dried but has not burned.
Notes
  1. I avoided the cheesy crackers because of added dyes and artificial flavorings.
Adapted from Beverly Cayce
Adapted from Beverly Cayce
Family Meals Project http://familymealsproject.com/
 Slow-Cooked Asian Chicken Thighs   This appetizer is by far the best choice if you want great taste, low cost meat, and enjoy creating food that  is unique. .

Chicken hind quarters are usually the best buy in the frozen meat department at $0.79 for a ten lb. bag. After thawing, the legs can be removed for another meal and the thighs deboned for this recipe. If you don’t have time to fillet the thighs, ask your grocer to debone a value pack of fresh chicken thighs.

Asian Chicken Thighs
Yields 2
Skewered chicken with a pineapple teriyaki flavor.
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs deboned chicken thighs
  2. 1 C Yashida's marinade
  3. 1 14 oz can of pineapple pieces in natural juice
  4. 2 ground or fresh-grated ginger
  5. large toothpicks or small bamboo skewers
Instructions
  1. 1. Slice thighs into long narrow strips.
  2. 2 .drain pineapple and reserve juice.
  3. 3. Place chicken into a bag (or covered glass bowl) along with juice, ginger and Yashida's sauce.
  4. 4. Marinate for an hour or overnight.
  5. 5. Preheat slow cooker on high.
  6. 6. Arrange chicken strips and pieces of pineapple onto skewers.
  7. 7. Place in slow cooker and cover with the marinating liquid.
  8. 8. Cook on high for 30 min then reduce heat to low for about 3 hours.
  9. 9. When chicken reaches 165 degrees it is ready to serve out of the pot or n a bed of hot Oriental rice.
Notes
  1. *Give the butcher a day's lead time to debone the fresh thighs
  2. ++Make a double batch and save some for a stir-fried meal later
Adapted from The Skow Cooker Bible
Adapted from The Skow Cooker Bible
Family Meals Project http://familymealsproject.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://familymealsproject.com/pork-shoulder-economical-delicious-and-healthy/

 

http://familymealsproject.com/one-small-food-bank-chickenthree-meals/

 

Senior Slow Cook-In; Spicy Sausage Chili

 This veggie and sausage chili was made from ingredients found in my pantry. I'm calling it chili simply because there's lots of chili pepper added to the mixture.

This veggie and sausage chili was made from ingredients found in my pantry. I’m calling it chili simply because there’s lots of chili pepper added to the mixture.

Our third slow cooking class with seniors showcased just how flexible crock-pot meals can be. To assemble affordable meals, families living on a limited budget often use just what’s in their pantry rather than buy special ingredients required by recipes. Continue reading

Chicken Thighs

EZ Slow Cooked Chicken

 

“Recipes are not cast in stone”

In order to serve low cost meals, it is often necessary to modify a recipe and use whatever is in your cupboard or within your budget. We think of a recipe a starting point which can be creatively tweaked to fit your situation. With that in mind we include information regarding what may be substituted in a given recipe. Feel free to experiment and keep accurate records for next time.chicken thighs

EZ Slow Cooked Chicken

Wash 6 chicken thighs and pat dry.

Lightly spray a 3.5 – 4 qt slow cooker with oil for easy clean-up.

Lather pieces with your favorite BBQ sauce, Yoshida’s marinade, or rubbing spices* (see footnote) and Place chicken, skin side up in the pot.

Add 1C chicken broth (or water with1 tsp bullion) carefully so as to not wash off the sauces.

Cover pot and cook on high for about 2 1/2 hours.

To be done the internal temperature must be at least 165 degrees as measured by a meat thermometer

To serve, remove shin and lather with fresh sauce.

To complete the $10 meal for family of 6 start with a simple green salad and home-made soup. Add steamed vegetables and a grain like whole wheat bread or brown rice. Finish with a biscuit dessert or fruit smoothie.

*A simple rubbing spice for poultry is made by combining 1tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander ½ tsp oregano and 1 tsp sea salt. You can also add ½ tsp thyme or sage for a unique flavor. For rubs, it is best to grind the ingredients together with a mortar & pestle and rub into the meat with your fingers. If you like it, make a double batch and store in a tight container.

Nutritional Note: Chicken breasts are leaner but tend to dry out when slow cooked. BBQ sauces are often laden with sugar and preservatives so a better nutritional choice would be to use a rub. However, we believe that this recipe yields less fat than fried fast food chicken or adulterated fried chicken patties.

As we develop this site there will be lots of examples or go to: Cooking Light  for more recipes.

Using a Slow Cooker

Slow cookers (AKA Crock Pots) were introduced in the early seventies.

Cuisenart 3.5 qt. slow cooker

Cuisinart 3.5 qt. slow cooker

They are convenient because you can start the prepared food in the morning and it is ready to serve when you get home. If purchasing a new one, look for a removable pot, ceramic or metal, that is heated from the bottom and sides. The advantage of an aluminum insert is you can brown meat or sauté onions in the same pan. But, ceramic inserts cook evenly and keep food warmer. Most cookers have four settings: high, low, warm, and off/on If you need to leave the slow cooker unattended over 6 hours, we recommend that you get one with a timer. It will switch settings to “warm” after a preset time too prevent overcooking and keep the food warm until you are ready to eat.

Tips for slow cooking safely & effectively

  • Fill pot from 1/3 to 3/4 full to cook evenly and not overflow. We recommend having two cookers of different sizes: 5-7 qt. for large families; 2 1/2—31/2 qts for small meals or sauces.
  • No two pots are the same temperature but low is generally 170˚, & high, 300˚ when compared to an oven.
  • Thaw meats and veggies before placing them in the slow cooker.
  • Avoid cooking on “warm” because food stays at unsafe levels too long.
  • Always soak and boil dry red kidney or fava beans before slow cooking to neutralize toxins.
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the meat for an accurate reading.
  • Add 15 min cooking time if you lift the lid.
  • Sauté onions & garlic and brown meats before slow cooking to get more flavor.
  • Use dry herbs during cooking. Add fresh herbs or soft veggies at the end.
  • Using noodles, dumplings or processed rice?  Add it near the end of the recommended cooking time to retain firmness.
  • Less water is needed for recipes because very little escapes from the pot.
  • Spray the pot with oil for easier clean-up.
  • Root vegetables take longer to cook so cut into smaller pieces when combining with faster cooking vegetables.
  • For safety & looks,  brown and partially cook any ground meats before adding it to a slow cooker.
  • Cooking about an hour on high generally equals two hours on low.
  • Avoid making slow cooked meatloaf due to the risk of bacterial contamination.