Monday, 16 October 2017

Monday and Menu planning

I didn't know this was a thing, until YouTube told me...October is "Crocktober"  A month where the challenge is to use your slow cooker for all your weekday dinners.  In my head I love this idea.  How amazing to come home to dinner having been cooked!  Indeed, in my house the expectation of dinner being cooked, and that expectation being dashed by the younger generation in the house, has led to tears on my part.  So I love the idea.

My problem is, I don't love my slow cooker.  I rarely end up with a meal that is cooked perfectly and tastes exactly how I expected.  I've had way overcooked meat, I've had one where the meat was tough little rocks and some of the veggies were cooked, others not enough.  So we've yet to win on anything other than a vegetable soup.  I'm not yet willing to concede defeat though, and to that end I have a plan:

  1. Buy a timer switch thingy so my slow cooker will turn on at the right time.  This means the food is in that pot for the required "6-8 hours" instead of however long I'm not home (which on a normal day is 10-11 hours).
  2. Use tried and true recipes, like from the Passionate Penny Pincher, who I think started the whole Crocktober idea. 
  3. If all else fails, replace my "vintage" slow cooker for a more modern one, so the recipes match the new and improved timings.
Something else I discovered this week: some newer slow cookers offer a "saute" function, so you can brown your meat in the pot, rather than having to do that in a separate pan.  Winner, in my opinion!  They also have a "keep warm" function, so that's helpful for days when dinner is done but your people are in and out all over the place at weird evening hours.

OK, plan in place, here's our menu for the week:

Monday:  Slow cooker chicken enchiladas (Miss Sunshine will be so excited; she loves Mexican)
Tuesday:  Crustless Quiche & veggies (Miss Sunshine to cook, as I'm out)
Wednesday:  Veggie Plate
Thursday:  The kids will have leftovers, while hubby and I are at our school associations EGM, for dinner
Friday:  Fend for yourself Friday
Saturday:  Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork, coleslaw
Sunday:  Zucchini soup and bread rolls

The link to the Passionate Penny Pincher will enable you to receive the free PDF version of the Crocktober cookbook, with 20 recipes + some fancy extras, like a recipe for taco seasoning mix (I already have one I use instead of a packet), and ranch dressing mix...something I've been wishing for.  After you receive this year's and last year's Crocktober PDF recipe book you'll probably want to unsubscribe, because other you'll get daily emails with great penny pinching ideas, that are only useful if you live in the US.  Totally unhelpful for this Aussie gal.  But the book looks really worth that little hurdle.

If I get myself into gear, the other recipe I'd like to try out is Pumpkin Bars, which I saw being made by Jennifer at Glitter and Jams, on YouTube.  We, of course, don't get our mashed pumpkin from a can because Aussie's are apparently not quite as pumpkin obsessed as our US friends, but that recipe looked awesome!  I think this recipe looks pretty much like the one Jennifer made.

What are you eating for dinner this week?  And how do you go with your slow cooker?

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