The kids are back in school – and sure they are gone during the day but you’re just as busy – if not more so – than ever! Come join us for #MumsNight Monday Oct 8th as we discuss “Slow-Cooker, Back to School Weeknight Meals.” We’ll be sharing Slow Cooker tips, recipes and more! Plus, you can enter now to win a Crock-Pot!
We’ll be sharing tips, personal stories and tools to help you spend less time in the kitchen – and be less stressed by the weeknight! Please join us on Twitter from 8:30pm -9:30 pm BST – Monday Oct 8th Follow @TransatlantiMom and the hashtag #MumsNight to view the discussion – and be sure to add the hashtag #MumsNight to each of your tweets to join the conversation. This event will be hosted by myself @TransatlantiMom and @MediocreMum who is an absolute whiz in the kitchen and SuperWoman with a slow-cooker! MediocreMum hosts a weekly linky #scsunday where she shares our slow cooking recipes on a Sunday.
We hope to see you on Twitter on Monday and can’t wait to learn your tips & tricks and share a few of our own. Also – you can register to win a free Crock-Pot slow cooker, courtesy of Crock-Pot UK
Enter to win a New Designs Crock-Pot (colour may vary from the one pictured)
The perfect size Crock-Pot® slow cooker for 2 to 3. Accommodates varied cooking needs and time constraints with high, low and keep warm settings. Clean up is a snap with dishwasher safe removable stoneware that doubles as a convenient serving dish complete with a dish-washer-safe glass lid.
More Crock-Pot New Designs product info is available here from their website.
For more information about Crock-Pot or for slow cooker recipes visit their Facebook Page *I have not been paid or compensated by any brand for this post or giveaway. Any questions please ask – or feel free to visit my disclosure statement.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full Giveaway Rules
Only persons residing in United Kingdom who are at least 18 years of age can enter.
Oct 2, 2012 @ 06:30 am (BST)
Oct 8, 2012 @ 09:00 pm (BST)
- Only those over 18, who reside in the UK may enter.
- Entrants must be over the age of 18
- Entrants must be based within the UK
- 1 winner will be selected at random to win the prize
- Entrants must follow @TransatlantiMom on Twitter to qualify for entry
- Entrants must comment on this blog post to qualify for entry
- Entrants may earn additional entries daily by sending out tweets or liking the Crock-Pot UK Facebook Page
- Entrants need not attend the #MumsNight Twitter Party on Twitter Oct 8 2012, 8:30-9:30 BST to qualify (but it would be really nice if you did!!)
- TransatlantiMom will not share your data with 3rd Party companies with the exception of the winner to Crock-Pot who will use the information you provide for the purposes of communicating with the winner.
- This competition is run separately from Twitter and is by no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter.
Entrants can enter the Sweepstakes for free by emailing transatlanticmom @ gmail (dot) com and requesting details about alternate registration.
So I was very inspired by last week’s #MumsNight – Slow Cook / No Cook lazy cooking ideas. Everyone shared so many fantastic recipes and ideas! While I only intended to spend about half the time on slow cooking – it became the conversation focus. Having not been a big slow cooker previously – I realized I must be truly missing out. But that’s not what sealed the deal for me. You see – with my husband and I working all day, someone else picks up our kids and serves them tea before we get home. Quite frequently my husband arrives in time to feed them too, (if he wanted to). It was at the end of a very long week last night that I learned my boys 4 & 6 had had Ramen noodles for tea, EVERY night.
When I expressed my displeasure to Hubs he said “But they love Ramen noodles!” My response? “They love chocolate and crisps too, but they aren’t for tea – these boys need some whole meals, protein and veg!” It was definitely time to change my meal planning and take action!
Previously my meal planning mostly consisted of me sketching out what we’d eat for dinner each night (making more for lunch leftovers) and putting in the order for grocery delivery, then also doing a few quick shops during the week for bread or butter or milk, minor staples that may have run low. But clearly just having a full fridge and a plan aren’t cutting it.
So, my new plan is to involve the boys in the menu planning – and then to prep the dinner the night before and to slow cook it during the day so it’s ready for their tea and our dinner.
For the meal planning I decided to change it up a bit. They are very hands on and visual so the written sketched out list wouldn’t cut it for them. Luckily I came across this great idea on Pinterest, to photograph family meals and make each meal into a magnet. Children can then help choose the weekly meal by placing the food magnet into that week’s calendar squares. (via heartofwisdom.com )
I explained it to the boys and they are very excited about it. We’ve already photographed three meals from this weekend, Lumache Carbonara (told the boys it was Mac & Cheese), Slow Cooker French Onion Soup and also Roast Chicken and Vegetables (our Sunday standard).
Of these – I was most surprised and delighted by the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup. The flavor was spot on and it was sooooooo easy! I think I’m a convert to slow cooking, it only took once!
So for the Lumache Carbonara, we served this with a side of salad and garlic bread. The entire meal for 5 people was less than 5 pounds (and made leftovers!)
Of the three dishes this was the quickest and easiest. I bought the Lumache pasta (any other shell type pasta will work too), and the sauce (Sainsbury’s fresh Carbonara sauce) along with a fresh garlic baguette and bag of salad on my way home from work. The pasta took about 11 minutes to cook, the garlic baguette about the same – and I mixed the salad while it cooked. The sauce I microwaved for about a minute – and mixed after draining the pasta. Meal accomplished in under 15 minutes and for less than 5 pounds.
Next up was the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup – I took a look over a few recipes online but wasn’t completely happy with them so modified them a bit for a richer tastier version.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 slow cooker (duh)
- 3 large onions sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (or more if you like)
- 1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt (or half salt/ half garlic salt)
- 4 beef bouillon cubes
- 8 measuring cups of water
For the toast:
- 1 baguette
- Gruyere cheese
Thinly slice the onions and put the onions and butter into the slow cooker on medium heat for about 20-30 mins to sauté until a bit brown around the edges. Add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, bouillon cubes and water and cook on medium to low for about 5 hours. (You can actually eat it about after 2 hrs once the onions are soft – but the longer you leave it the better the taste) Check the taste throughout – you may need to add more water if it’s a little salty for you or a little more Worcestershire sauce if it’s not flavorful enough for you.
For the toast on top, once you’re ready to serve the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup, slice the baguette, grate the cheese and put the cheese on top of the bread slices in a pan. Put under the grill for about 4 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the one, serve the soup and put the cheesy bread on top.
Serve with a fresh green salad.
For 5 people this meal again came in well under $5
So next up is our weekly Sunday night staple, Roast Chicken and Vegetables. The vegetables vary by season, but the general ones include potatoes, celery, carrots and onions.
- 1 large roasting chicken
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 garlic cloves or about 1 teaspoon of garlic puree
- 1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt
- 4 large carrots
- 2 jacket potatos
- (2 celery stalks and 1 onion optional)
Each week when we order groceries it includes 1 large roasting chicken. I like to do it on Sunday evenings so we have a good meal to start the week, and leftovers of chicken and roasted veg to incorporate into dishes throughout the week. The large chicken is 5 GBP itself so with the vegetables and or side of bread/yorkshire pudding and salad comes to about 7GBP and makes several more meals out of leftovers. This is probably the best bargain meal you can make for a family in terms of flavor, fillingness and frugality!
This meal, is definitely one of the easiest and tastiest. First take the chicken and place it in a large baking dish. In a small little bowl, gently heat the butter in the microwave until soft and then add the garlic (either pureed or pressed) along with seasoning salt. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Then around the neck of the chicken, reach your hand underneath the skin but above the chicken breast from the neck end – break through the small membrane around the neck so your hand reaches under the skin over the top of the chicken breast from the neck end. Take the butter/garlic/spice mixture and spoon it under the skin over the breast from the neck end – being sure to get it all the way towards the back. After this under the skin breast area has been saturated massage the butter/garlic/spice mixture into the outside of the chicken on all sides.
Cut the lemon in half and put the 2 half pieces into the internal cavity of the chicken from the rear.
Slice the vegetables and put them around the chicken. Place the whole thing in a fan oven pre-heated to 180C and cook for about 1 hour 20 minutes, turning it halfway through front back and stirring the vegetables around a bit.
Poultry is cooked if the juices run clear when the deepest part of the bird is pierced with a thin skewer. If the juices are pink continue cooking for a few minutes and retest Adjust times according to your particular oven. We always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. ( You don’t want to mess about with undercooked chicken.)
You can serve this with a side salad or even Yorkshire Pudding
So those are some of the main meals we had over the weekend and I plan to put the slow cooker to good use this week with a selection of slow cooker meals to provide the boys with a more nutritious tea and have dinner ready and waiting once we return home from work. Here’s the plan for this week, which we’ll photograph and add to our visual menu plan. What’s not listed below is that each night we also have some type of green salad, either romaine or spinach based. What do you think? Any suggestions?
Mon – Chicken sundried tomato and rice
Tuesday – stroganoff and noodles
Wednesday – Gnocci & Marinara, side salad or garlic bread
Thursday – Chicken and dumplings
Fri – Chicken, noodles and peas
Sat – Italian pesto bean pasta
Sunday – Macaroni & cheese
Leftovers throughout the week for lunches etc
We will ill also have chicken salad / egg salad/ tuna salad for lunch fillers amongst other groceries and snacks etc.
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.