Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crock Pot Comfort Food

I'm always struck by the ridiculous, unimaginative names some recipes get.  For the Fourth of July I made Rainbow Gelatin Cubes, and this week I made 'Bean Dish'.  It was from an old spiral-bound compilation cookbook from a church or women's group, and there were many 'bean dish' recipes that were extremely similar.  I couldn't tell that one would be better or worse than another, and this one was easy to double and modify if I needed.  

Before I made this, I had never used a crock pot before.  It was never something I thought about doing, and there was never anything I wanted to make in a crock pot.  But as I was chopping and slicing I got so excited about how easy it was that I set my heart on learning the art of cooking with a crock pot.  Next on my crock pot list is a roast, probably with lots of veggies!

Here are some of the leftovers.  I roughly doubled the original recipe because we were taking it to a potluck, but since everyone brought a main and a salad/dessert, there were plenty of leftovers.  Hearty, comforting, and quick to reheat :)

Crock Pot Beans

(I'm including exactly what I used, because I loved the way it turned out.  Feel free to mix up the beans and meat, or the sauce if you want more kick, etc!)

1 16-oz can pinto beans, drained
1 16-oz can light red kidney beans, drained
1 16-oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 16-oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained
roughly one pound turkey bacon, chopped
1-lb can Bush's Baked Beans (don't drain, just throw it all in!)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and broken up
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups ketchup
1 tsp Tabasco
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard

Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot (or half for a small) and let sit on high setting all day or until hot.  Stir after combining and throughout the day as you remember.

We took this to the Sayonara Party potluck, and one of our students, Tomoko, dished herself a bowl.  I love when people like the food I make, and it was especially gratifying to hear her say, "I like!" as she ate.  Both she and our other student Yuri were sweet girls, and I was sad to say goodbye on Saturday.  This is the first year I've had "sisters" my age, and it was tons of fun living with them for two weeks.  

Hitting up Krispy Kreme! On the left is my friend Eimi, whose family is from Japan, and then me, Yuri, and Tomoko.

They loved American food and would try anything.  Night after night we all agreed that we were "very full", and then went back for dessert.  On their last night here, they wanted to make Japanese food for us, and it was delicious.  There was a rice dish with tea and a crunchy topping, and a pancake called Okonomiyaki.  I was amazed enough that they didn't follow any recipes, and even more when Tomoko told us that she had never made it before, just watched her dad do it.  

She said she would email me the instructions from Japan, but I have a feeling it won't be the same if I try to make it :)


  1. I am impressed with your baking and cooking skills.For such a young age,you really know your way inside the kitchen.I have no doubt that you can cook Japanese dishes,you just need to get the right ingredients and sauces.

  2. Thanks so much! When I do try my hand at okonomiyaki, I'll definitely get it up here :)