We are gone almost every night at dinnertime. The girls dance, the boys have TKD, and we all have debate. That schedule wreaks havoc with dinner. I honestly can't remember the last time I used my oven. I don't like it to be on when I'm not home (we really need a new one), and I don't find that I have time to make dinner once the afternoon rush is on. Thus - it's
Taco Bell the crock pot for us. There are three ways that I make the crock pot even easier than it already is. First, I don't defrost, brown, or in any other way pre-prepare anything that goes in it. Frozen chicken, pink roasts, everything goes in in its original state. Second, I always use crock pot liners. Eating at 8:30 or 9:30 at night means that cleaning up is the last thing I want to do. Yes, I know it's not good for the environment. I don't care. Third, I take every single shortcut there is. I'm not a homesteader, a frugal blogger, or any of those other things I really admire. I use canned and cartoned anything I can. I still manage to make some darn tasty dinners (N.B., I absolutely can cook from scratch, and when I have time, I do).
|Image Credit: CampbellsKitchen.com|
For example, early yesterday afternoon I threw two cartons of Mexican Tortilla flavored chicken broth, black beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilis, frozen chicken breasts, and tomato paste into the crock pot. About 5 hours later, I served bowls of delicious tortilla soup. I added cheese and crumbled tortilla chips to the top and everyone inhaled it. Usually I would, of course, have added spices, but with the flavored chicken broth, I didn't need any. It took me about 3 minutes to "make" dinner. It took 30 seconds to clean it up. The recipe is one that I have made before, but I have used regular chicken broth and my own spices in the past. By taking this additional shortcut, I saved the time of finding the spices and loosely measuring them (*very* loosely!). Plus, the broth was really good!
I am always looking for shortcuts like this one. When Henry and I were first married, I would sometimes spend 3-4 hours cooking dinner...but I was 21, in college, and had nothing better to do. Those days seem like a million years ago.