Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crock-Pot Meals Revisited

A couple of years ago, when my three children were younger, I found the crock pot to be a real lifesaver. I certainly had more energy to chop vegetables, brown meat, etc. in the morning than I did at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Having that warm, wonderful smell of food cooking filling up the house made me feel like I had someone in the kitchen cooking for me. It was a really great feeling.
Unfortunately for me, the kids really hated every meal I ever prepared (well, that's not entirely true. They did like the enchiladas and spaghetti and meatballs). They didn't like stews or roasts or anything else I could come up with. I even joined a wonderful e-list online: slowcooker@yahoogroups.com . Everybody had new and interesting dishes to prepare. They were tried and true!
Well, to make a long story short, my parents LOVE crock-pot meals! This has really been a blessing.
You see, they don't eat properly. Sometimes they just seem too tired to think about fixing anything. Even the thought of meal preparation sends them both back to bed. SO, for the past few nights, I've been throwing something into the crock pot in the morning and then bringing it to them for dinner. It's been working wonderfully!
They definitely are of the "comfort food" generation!
Here are a couple of really easy recipes that are no fail.
Chicken with Cream Sauce over Rice
2 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (still frozen)
1 can cream soup (for example, cream of chicken or cream of mushroom or cream of anything!)
That's it! Don't add anything else. No water, no nothing. Just put the lid on; set the cooker to low and walk away! The chicken will be very tender and easy to eat (especially good for the elderly with chewing difficulties) by about 5 or 6 p.m., if you've put it on by 10 a.m. Cook rice to serve along with this. I usually spoon the creamy sauce over the rice and place a piece of chicken on top. You could serve vegetables or a salad and that's all you need.

Here's another good one I got from the Slowcooker list.
Cola Roast
Potatoes (the red kind do very well)
Onion, if you like
1 small roast (like London Broil, Flank Steak, Chuck Roast, Round Roast, etc)
1 packet of either Lipton Onion Soup mix (dry) or 1 packet of brown gravy mix (dry)
1 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola. That's right. A whole can of Coke. NOT diet!!! Must be regular.

Peel several potatoes (depending on how many people like to eat. I usually peel two a piece) and wash them and place them (whole)on the bottom of the crock pot. Throw in some carrots. My parents especially like the little baby carrots. They come pre-cleaned in a bag in the produce section. I put in quite a few of these on the bottom. Slice the onion in wedges and throw it in. You can add whatever vegetables you and your parents enjoy. Put the roast on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the gravy packet over top. Pour on one can of regular Coca-Cola. Put the lid on. Turn the pot on low and again, walk away! Before serving, add dissolve two tablespoons of corn starch in a tiny bit of water, then add this to the gravy in the pot. It will thicken in a minute or two. Then serve!

These are just two of many, many simple and easy-to-eat meals that can be prepared. If you're watching sodium, use the low-sodium soups, gravies, etc. You can tailor anything you make to suit your parents' tastes.

It makes me feel so good to see them eat something! My Dad has lost a lot of weight and doesn't seem to take any initiative when it comes to meal preparation. If I put it in front of him; however, he eats!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can quite empathize with your parents about being too tired to cook.
Some years ago when I was just starting my recovery from a severe brain injury, fatigue was a major problem. Ten hours of sleep at night did not allow me to function for the whole day.

I did a six week training course, with working hours of 8:30 to 4:30.
Then I worked for two weeks as a secretarial replacement, from 9 am until 5 pm.

That extra half hour of work at the end of the day made me too tired to think about preparing something to eat. I couldn't formulate how things were to be assembled for a meal - let alone how to cook anything!
I can remember opening the fridge door and wondering what the items were.

I've only just surfed in to this blog, and I haven't read very much of it - but do your parents take a nap in the afternoon? I had to at that stage. And I suspect that not having one was a reason for me being so tired that I couldn't even think.

janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca