Friday, February 28, 2014

Colds and Antibiotic Soup


This last week a cold descended upon the Miller household. Very quickly I might add! One morning my youngest son woke up with sniffles and a sore throat and by the next day we all had it along with chills and sinus congestion. The first thing we all started doing was making garlic tea. I’ve found garlic to be amazing for colds. The next thing I did was make soup with lots and lots of garlic.

Garlic is amazing for fighting colds and flu symptoms. Garlic has incredibly health promoting qualities. It is said to be an effective antibiotic and natural virus killer as well as an immune enhancer, anti-fungal, and so much more.

A friend of mine had said she made antibiotic soup for her family and I was intrigued by the name! She shared the recipe with me, which came from a friend of hers, who originally got the recipe from someone at a homeschool group a few years back. I tweaked the recipe some to make it a little easier to make. And my whole family ate the soup for a couple days in a row and not only was it good, but it truly helped with the cold symptoms.

So here is my version of the soup…

Antibiotic Soup

1 large whole chicken, 4 to 5lbs, preferred
1 ½ gallons of water
2T salt
2 large onions, chopped & 1 medium onion, chopped
60 cloves of garlic (yep, that is not a misprint!), chopped
3 or 4 cups sliced carrots

Put the whole chicken, water, salt, the 2 large chopped onions (save the other onion for later) and 30 chopped cloves of garlic (half of the amount called for in the recipe, the other half will be used later) in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6 to 7 hours. Pour broth through a strainer and into another stockpot to separate the chicken/onions/garlic from the broth.

Put broth back on stove and bring to a boil. Add remaining onions, garlic cloves and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for another 20 or 30 minutes. While the soup is simmering de-bone the chicken, chop the meat and add it back to the soup. Heat, taste and add more salt if you feel it needs it (along with any other seasonings you would like) and serve.

If this is more soup than you need (it does make a LARGE pot), freeze leftovers. It would be great to have on hand the next time you are sick or to be able to take it to someone who is sick.

You can add more veggies if you would like. We liked the fact that it is very brothy. It was soothing, comforting and good tasting and easy for the sickies in the household to eat.

It would seem with the amount of garlic I put in this soup that the soup would have a strong garlic taste. What we found interesting is that it did not. You could taste the garlic, but it was not overwhelming.
 


Here is the original version of the recipe I was given. I’ve added both versions to the printable recipe.

Antibiotic Soup
Yield: 10 servings
[Allow min. 2 – 2 ½ hours prep/cooking time]
1 whole chicken
Simmer slowly in water in a soup kettle/Dutch oven, 1 hr. to “all day long”. (The longer it simmers the more beneficial nutrients are leached out of the chicken bones into the broth!!)
--------------------------
Meanwhile, make Garlic Broth.*2 complete heads of garlic!
Using the side of a hammer or the flat side of a meat tenderizer, gently smash open each head of garlic, and then each clove, to remove all papery coverings; then smash/chop each clove into smallish pieces, placing garlic in a small pan.2 c. chicken broth2 T butter. Place in pan with garlic; bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour.
-------------------------
When chicken is done: Remove chicken from broth, allow to cool some; de-bone the chicken and return meat to soup pot, along with Garlic Broth.[If not adding vegetables or seasonings, heat to serving temperature, or place in freezer containers. If adding vegetables or seasonings: To taste, add --Seasonings (opt): salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, sage, parsley, etc., to taste [Go a little easy; this soup is for sick folks.] Onion, chopped (opt.), Celery, chopped (opt.), Carrots, chopped (opt.)
Add to soup pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20-25 min. before serving or placing in freezer containers.


 
Print:
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/Antibiotic%20Soup.pdf

 
 
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Love and Marriage

 


Even though my husband & I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this summer I still feel inadequate to give advice on marriage. Maybe because individuals are all different, the dynamics of each relationship is different; people are at different places in their lives and walking different paths. But one thing that has gone through my mind over the years is the two guidelines I’ve found as the basis for married life. Just two guidelines, but within those guidelines is everything that makes a marriage work, in my view. And they are complex but at the crux of marriage. They are from the Bible:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

I realize that in the intricacies of life and marriage this is too simplistic. But then again, much of how we react, how we interact with each other as a couple on a daily basis is a reflection on our ability to remember those Scripture verses and live by them.
 

Women desire to be loved by their husbands. They want to hear it, see it, feel it, and experience it. Men need to feel respected just as much as women need to feel love. To a man, respect is love. Women often times do not feel that their husbands are worthy of respect. Maybe they’ve made some poor choices, maybe they do not feel loved by them, maybe, maybe, maybe.. the list is long as far as what ‘could’ cause a wife to lose respect for her husband.

But then again, I may not be the most lovable person at times. I may be cranky, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, speak harshly and unloving, you name it… and my actions may not be something that can easily be loved.

However both of those Scripture verses never give conditions; only love her IF she does lovely things. Or only respect him IF he does something I can respect.
 
 

What I’ve learned over the years is that the Lord is asking us to give, give of our love, grace, and respect to our husbands, and I believe He is asking husbands to do the same.. give love unconditionally, but I am ultimately only in control of one person.. that is me.. So every day in every way I strive to show my husband the respect that he deserves, simply because he is my husband and the Bible has said this. I remember that love is an action. It is not always just those sweet romantic feelings, which are wonderful but not what daily life is always made of. If you look for ways your husband is showing love you may be surprised to see it in ways you never realized were love.

 

So in honor of the month of love this is just a reminder, in my inadequacy to give advice, to simply show love/respect every day in many ways. Keep the Scripture verses in mind as we interact with our husbands. The beauty of what I’ve learned over the last 30 years is that love is a choice. It is a choice I make every day no matter the situation. The more I give the more it affects him and he desires to show love to me in so many different ways. It is a win/win kind of situation. If we wait for our husbands to earn our respect, we lose and he loses too. Love & marriage is a daily choice to make our marriages the best we can.

 
 
 
 
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Menu Monday!

 


I’m trying out a few new recipes this week and will share the best of them! Leanne and Sierra are cooking dinner a couple nights and have planned the menu for those nights.


Monday
Chicken curry – made by Leanne & Sierra.. not sure what else they plan for the menu!

Tuesday
Homemade pizza, salad

Wednesday
Bbq pork roast, corn chowder, salad

Thursday
Marinated chicken, brown rice, garlic roasted brussel sprouts – Leanne & Sierras night to cook

Friday
Burrito casserole, tortilla chips & salsa, veggie platter

Saturday
Hamburger biscuit bake, green beans

Sunday
Shepards pie, salad
 
 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole



I was asked to share this recipe if it turned out. It was very good and easy!! It was a hearty hot meal for a cold winter night that my family devoured. I felt lucky I’d remember to pull some aside for a picture!
 



Crockpot Cowboy Casserole
2lbs hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½#’s red potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can, drained)
2 cups beans of your choice
4oz cream cheese
2t salt
1t pepper
1 cup grated cheese

Cook hamburger and onions until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Put hamburger/onion mixture into 6 quart crockpot. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top in the last half hour.
 
Serve with dinner rolls or biscuits and salad. 


 
I’ve been contemplating on turning this recipe into a freezer meal. I’m going to try using a package of frozen hash browns (the little cubes) in place of the potatoes (potatoes will turn brown in the freezer) and then putting it all into a freezer bag. I’ll keep you posted on how that works!

 
Print:
http://thefamilyhomestead.com/Crockpot%20Cowboy%20Casserole.pdf
 
 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for February: Final Update!


 


All 3 of my freezers are cleaned out! I managed to complete the task before the month ended and looking forward March’s challenge, which I’ll be posting about soon.

The second freezer started out looking like this…


And ended up…


The 3rd freezer is completely cleaned out and now is empty. My goal had been to consolidate into 2 freezers.

The fridge got a good cleaning as well



My 2nd fridge is much small and was cleaned out not long ago so it did not need anything more than a wipe down.

For anyone joining me this month in February’s homemaking challenge, I hope you were able to get this task marked off your list as well!


 
We Can Do This Girls!!




 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Canning Veggie Stock




After cleaning out my freezers I found several bags of vegetables that I had frozen from my garden for the purpose of making veggie stock. In order to save some freezer space I decided to use up all of the veggies and make a large pot of stock and then can it.

I know having stock canned on the shelf ready to use will be so nice. I often buy organic chicken stock from Costco because it is so convenient to have on hand. Now I’ll have my own shelf ready stock for soups and stews.

Veggie stock is very easy to make. I wrote a blog post on this awhile back. You can find the info on how to make it on my website HERE. In reality you can make veggie stock “almost” for free. If you save veggie peels, ends & pieces, limp look veggies that might otherwise get tossed until you have enough to make a batch of stock (1 to 2 gallons of veggies will make a lot of stock), then you are using food that would otherwise be thrown away to end up with food for the shelf that is almost “free”. What I do is have a gallon size zip lock bag in the freezer and use this to put the veggie bits in. When I have a couple full bags, it’s time to make stock. I also add an extra onion or two as well as garlic and salt.

After making my stock I then canned it. I ended up with 13 quarts and 1 pint jar. Canning stock is easy but you must can stock in PRESSURE CANNER… you can NOT can this in a boiling water bath. Vegetables are low acid foods and must be pressure canned.

When your stock it done, fill hot quart jars with hot stock. Put on a new lid and a ring. Pressure can the stock at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes. If you live at higher elevations make sure you adjust the pressure accordingly ( http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/p41.html#can )
 
(the weird look on the jars is reflection from the flash on my camera)



My next goal is to use up the beef soup bones in my freezer and make beef stock and can it.

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hot Process Soap Making

 
I recently made a batch of hot process soap in my crockpot. I hope to make another batch in the next few days. Hot process soap is an easy quick method of making soap.

There are 2 ways to make soap. One is called cold process and the other hot process. Here is the difference:

Cold Processed (CP): This method involves combining your liquid/lye mixture with your oils and stirring until the mixture thickens (also known as “trace”) . Then pouring the mixture into molds. In a day or two you unmold, cut the bars and let the soap lay out on a flat surface to cure anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks depending on the recipe. This ensures the soap is free from all traces of lye.

Hot Processed (HP): You follow the same procedures as CP but instead of pouring into your mold you keep cooking the soap. The soap is heated and cooked all the way through to the end (meaning there is no traces of lye left in the soap). After you remove it from the mold you can cut the bars and pretty much use them right away. Although the bars can still be a bit soft so letting them sit for a week or so can harden up the bars as excess moisture evaporates.

Both methods have there are pros and cons. There is more flexibility with cold process. You can add essential oils, additives, milk and such much easier. However you have to wait a few weeks for the soap to cure before you can use it. There are still traces of lye that need to evaporate before you can use the soap. Cold process soap will also give you nice smooth looking bars.

Hot process soap making is quick and easy. You can use the bars right away when you are done because you basically are cooking the oils/water/lye all the way to completion. When you are done you have soap with no residual lye left. Hot process soap is more mottled looking when done and not as pretty (in my opinion) as cold processed soap.

If you are not familiar with making soap you will want to make sure you are prepared with information and the proper equipment before you start. I don’t go into a lot of that in this blog post mostly because I already have a few web pages on making soap ( http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/homesteadcrafts.htm#Lets%20Make%20Soap  ) and an entire ebook on how to make cold process soap, step by step filled with pictures and information ( http://crystalscountrystore.com/handmadesoapebook.htm  ) … Please be knowledgeable on proper soap making procedures and cautions concerning the use of lye.

My soap recipe is a 4# batch (that is the weight of the oils). I don’t recommend any bigger batch in 6 quart crockpot. You won’t have room to stir.

Crockpot Hot Process Soap
18.9 oz coconut oil
30.8 oz olive oil
14.2 oz palm oil

20 oz water
9.2 oz lye

2.5 oz fragrance oil

I’ve blogged about this before so I did not take pictures of how to do this step by step. You can find my blog post that shows the instructions and tutorial HERE.

I used a rectangular 4# soap mold and ended up with 17 - 4/5oz bars. Here is a picture of my finished soap…
 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Menu Monday!

 


I am going through my freezers and finding several things I forgot I had!! So this week one of my goals is to plan my menu around some of the frozen food I need to use up! ~smile~


Monday
Corned beef (found at the bottom of one of the freezers), roasted red potatoes, corn on the cob (from the freezer), salad

Tuesday
Crockpot soup - creating this using what I have on hand: a small pork roast from my freezer, defrosted & cut up, cooked beans (freezer), zucchini (freezer) and I’ll add some tomatoes and seasonings… served with dinner rolls and a veggie platter

Wednesday
Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts

Thursday
Leanne & Sierra’s night to cook – menu unknown at this point

Friday
Bean soup, pepperoni bread, salad

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Taco casserole, salad

 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Menu Planning Simplicity



This week’s recipes are crockpot freezer meals. All of them were very good. My family enjoyed them and gave them 2 thumbs up! They are very easy to put together. The idea behind crockpot freezer meals is that you put all ingredients into a gallon size zip lock bag, label, and freeze. On the day you want to serve the meals put them in the crockpot. I often pull them out the night before and put them in the fridge. By morning they are not completely defrosted, but defrosted enough to be able to get into the crockpot. Then cook all day. I’ve also put them in frozen. To do this I’ve run warm water over the bag long enough to loosen the frozen bag so I can easily remove it. If I start the meal from frozen I most often start it on ‘high’ and then turn down to ‘low’ in an hour or two. However you do it, they make for easy simple meals and prep time goes very quickly.

I started with 8lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These are not the frozen ones. I cut up all my ingredients and then assembled the meals. The following 3 chicken recipes used all 8 lbs. My meals are on the larger size to feed my crew of 6 adult size appetites. If you are feeding less people per meal you could easily cut the recipes in half and end up with 6 meals.

Before I started working on my freezer meals I put a meal in the crockpot for that night’s dinner. I made crockpot chicken philly sandwiches. This meal could also easily be a freezer meal. Instead of putting all ingredients into the crockpot as I did, put them in a freezer bag instead.

I layered the ingredients in the crockpot…



Let it cook all day and then made the sandwiches in the evening. These were really good. You do need to use a slotted spoon to scoop out the chicken and veggies. I put sandwich rolls under the broiler briefly and then topped with the chicken/veggie mix and then a little cheese. Put them back under the broiler to melt the cheese. I served these sandwiches with some split pea soup and a veggie platter. The recipe also calls for provolone cheese slices. I used mozzarella cheese because that is what I had on hand.



After the chicken philly sandwiches were going I turned my attention to the other 2 chicken meals which were crockpot creamy chicken veggie bake and crockpot pot Asian chicken. There were similar ingredients to both recipes so it did not take long to get all everything ready..



Here is how to assemble (this is the Asian chicken)

 
Put the chicken in the zip lock bag:



Then add the veggies and sauce (I mixed the sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup so I could add it all at once):


Label and freeze..


I repeated the same process for the creamy chicken veggie bake:






The chicken recipes:


Crockpot Chicken Philly Sandwiches
 
2T butter, sliced into 3 or 4 pieces
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
1 pepper, green or red or yellow, your choice, sliced
2 - 3# boneless, skinless chicken, defrosted (breasts or thighs)
1t salt
1T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken broth
Hoagie rolls, 10 to 12
10 to 12 slices provolone cheese

Put butter slices on the bottom of the crockpot, layer onions and peppers on top. Lay chicken pieces on top of veggies and sprinkle salt over the top. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done cooking use a fork to break up chicken and stir everything together. Scoop onto hoagie rolls, top with slices of cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes to melt.


Crockpot Creamy Chicken Veggie Bake (Freezer Meal)
 
3 to 4lbs boneless, skinless chicken
16oz favorite frozen veggies
1 cup chicken broth
8oz cream cheese
1 cup or so grated cheddar cheese

Put all ingredients in a large gallon size zip lock bag. Seal bag, label and put in freezer.

On cooking day put all in crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low. Serve with French bread, biscuits, rice or as I did, mashed potatoes…. and a salad or veggie platter on the side.


Crockpot Asian Chicken over rice (Freezer Meal)
 
2 to 3lbs boneless, skinless chicken (not previously frozen)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 small to medium onion, chopped
½ t chopped ginger
1 ½ t lemon juice
2t hot chile paste (more or less depending on your desired heat level)
1 green or red pepper, sliced
2 cups broccoli pieces

Put all ingredients into gallon size zip lock bag. Seal, label, freeze. On cooking day put contents of bag in crockpot and cook 6 to 7 hours. Serve over rice.


That is all for this week!!

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updates from the Homestead



Well it looks like we’ve got our winter blast after all. Snow and ice hit our area and blanketed us for several days. Compared to what others in the mid-west and east coast have dealt with, it was minor. But for us it was a few days of keeping the fires going round the clock, shoveling stairs, clearing the driveway and me worrying about my son who has a delivery route to do. I think that was the most difficult part. Knowing he was driving in snow and ice and praying he got home safely. He made it just fine, a few “near misses” with a ditch and a cement wall!! But he did his job and came home safe and sound. As I write this the snow and ice are slowly melting and the roads are clear.

My daughters and I were able to get out of the house finally after a week of being cooped up. It felt good to get out and to also get needed groceries in the house. You know it’s a crisis when you run out of half n half for your coffee! Ha, ha!!

Here are a few pics from our storm. Some were taken by me and others were taken by my daughter Sierra.. it is pretty to look at and I might enjoy it more if I knew my son and husband did not have to commute to work in it all….


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for February Update!

 


We’ve had a winter storm hit our area so it has taken my attention as of late. However I was finally able to get moving on my project. As of right now I have one freezer cleaned out, defrosted, wiped clean and food back in it.


It went from this…


To this…


To this..



I still have more organizing to do in that freezer as I clean out the other 2 and more items are added.


The 2nd freezer is now empty and those items are in the 3rd freezer and it has been turned off and is defrosting.


I found several bags of veggies that I have saved for using to make veggie broth. Most of them were from my garden last year. I currently have those veggies as well as some from my fridge that I needed to use up simmering on the stove and will can my broth tomorrow.
 


I also found a lot of miscellaneous items such as bags of veggies, small bags of precooked soups, meat that had gotten lost and fallen to the bottom of the freezer. My menu plan may change somewhat this week as I work to use up some of these foods. I’m certain that freezer clean out needs to be done a couple times of year!

If you’re joining me on this homemaking challenge, how is going for you?
 
We Can Do This Girls!!





Monday, February 10, 2014

Menu Monday!

 


Monday
Tacos w/all the trimmings

Tuesday
Homemade pizza, salad

Wednesday
Bbq meatballs, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Valentines Dinner: shrimp pasta, garlic roasted red potatoes, salad 

Saturday
Beef stroganoff, salad

Sunday
Crockpot cheesy cowboy casserole, veggie platter w/ranch dressing

 
 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Quiet Time Thoughts




This year has started out very well for our family. We are seeing some issues resolved, making progress in projects, moving forward in areas that seemed all but stalled, thanked the Lord as a family member finished the last of her chemo and begin to move forward in her life, so many praises! It has been a blessing in many so many ways.

However, the last few years have seen some difficult times for my family. We’ve dealt with many issues seemingly hitting us from all sides. It has seemed at times like standing on the shore line and the waves keep rolling in threatening to knock us over and drag us out. Have you ever had a time in your life like this?

How does one get through it all? Strength from God, grace from God and His never ending mercies come to my mind immediately. He never promises there will not be difficult days (Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.), the storms in life will come and I’ve learned sometimes all you can do is hang on to the Lord and look to Him for answers and direction and continuing walking forward each day.  

As we walk through these difficult times I remind myself that God has many things He is trying to accomplish in every trial we deal with. We don’t always see them. We don’t always understand why or how, but I’ve learned that He has never left my side. Sometimes what I see would have been a simple solution to an issue never happened and this has left me wondering why? I take faith in knowing that God is accomplishing more than what I can actually see. He has a plan and in my humanness I don’t always understand it.

As we have dealt with various trials we've had to walk by faith, which in turns strengthens our relationship with Him and His perfect will for our life. And not only can these trials in life greatly increase our faith but can have an effect on those around us as they watch us walk through these times and offer prayer and support. We can also be strengthened as we offer love and prayer to others who are hurting and suffering. We see the hand of God working in their lives and it builds our faith at the same time.

Here are some of the Scripture verses I’ve been reading during my quiet times this week. As I’ve been praying for loved ones in my life that are walking through trials I find needed encouragement and spend time praying these Scripture verses for comfort and strength in their walk.


Pro 3:5 & 6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Isa 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

This is my favorite most comforting verse:
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. "Selah"

Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Deut 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

 
 
 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Menu Planning Simplicity

This week’s Menu Planning Simplicity is focused on 2 separate times I spent in the kitchen working on not only meals for the week but also I was able to put a couple extra meals in the freezer.

Before I got started on anything I put a large pot of beans on to cook. I knew I would need them for one of my recipes. While I was at it I cooked extra beans as well so that could have them done ahead of time for the chili that I was planning on preparing that week. Any time I can coordinate my weekly menu to cook extra quantities for meals later on in the week, I do this. It saves me time and money. It does not take any more time to cook up 6 or 8 cups of dried beans as it does to cook up 2 or 3. If I serve beans twice in a week and cook them up separately then I’m working twice as much on the same job and spending twice as much on electricity to cook them. I had enough beans for a double batch of the Southwest Stew recipe I’ll share in a moment and enough to put in my freezer for chili later on in the week.

I did the same with rice after I had the beans going. I knew I would need brown rice for the next couple of meals so I got a double batch of rice cooking.

After the beans and rice were started I cut up an 8# pork roast that I had bought from Costco....



I took half of the meat and put it in my crockpot and made Orange Pork. This is similar to orange chicken but made with pork instead. The recipe does not make that glazed type orange sauce, but rather is more of a liquid sauce that goes perfect over rice. Which is how I served it. I was able to serve half of it for dinner the night I made it and put the other half in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer for a future meal..



Crockpot Orange Chicken (or Pork)

2#’s chicken or pork meat, cut up into bite size pieces
1 cup water
3T orange juice concentrate (frozen orange juice concentrate before being made into orange juice. If you don’t have this, use 1 cup orange juice in place of the water and o.j. concentrate)
¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3T soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
½ t minced ginger root
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ t red pepper flakes
3T cornstarch
2T water

Put chicken or pork in crockpot. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water. Pour over chicken or pork in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. About 15 to 30 minutes before serving combine cornstarch & water and add to crockpot, stir and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve over brown rice.

 

After I had the orange pork going I took the rest of the pork and made a double batch of Southwest Stew. When the beans had finished cooking I mixed everything together in a large pan. Since I had my crockpot already in use I put the sw stew in my roaster oven to simmer. Also the single version of this recipe fills a 6 quart crockpot up pretty full and I was making a double batch so the roaster oven was a better option for me.


When it was done cooking I put half in the fridge for eating the next night and the other half in a zip lock bag for freezer. I served this meal over rice as well.


Southwest Stew

2 lb boneless pork cut up into cubes
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cans diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups cooked beans of your choice (pinto, red, black, etc)
2T chili powder
2t cumin
1t salt


Combine all ingredients and put in crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


 
A couple days later as I was preparing dinner I again worked to save some time. I had planned on a hamburger potato casserole in the crockpot for that night’s dinner and was planning to make chili the following night.

I cooked up 5#’s of hamburger with 2 large onions all chopped up and added. I began by assembling the casserole. It was an easy recipe. Everything is put in the crockpot, stirred and then topped with a bag of frozen hash brown potatoes (the “southern” style, meaning they are little cubes). Then it is cooked and towards the end topped with cheese…




Crockpot Hamburger Potato Casserole

2lbs hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 cup cream (or half n half)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 16oz package frozen hash brown potates, “southern” style, meaning little cubes
1 to 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

In a large frying pan, cook hamburger with onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is soft. Add to crockpot. Add Rotel tomatoes, cream and salt & pepper. Top with hasbrowns. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. In the last hour, top with cheese.


After that was going I assembled my chili for the next day. I had the cooked hamburger that I added to a ziplock bag, then I added the beans (made previously, frozen, then defrosted for this recipe), and the remaining ingredients for my chili. This could have easily been frozen at this point but I knew I would be using it the next day so I just stuck the whole thing in the fridge. The next morning before I left the house for the day I poured it all into crockpot, set it on low, and headed out the door knowing dinner was all taken care of.

 
Crockpot Chili
2#’s hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pepper, chopped (any type: green, red, yellow)
1 cans (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 cup sliced celery
5 cups cooked beans (reserve some of the bean broth)
1T hot pepper sauce, such as the brand Tabasco
1 ½ t salt

In a large frying pan cook hamburger, onions and garlic until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Put in crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Add 1 to 2 cups of the reserved bean broth. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

If you would like to make this into a freezer meal, combine all ingredients in a gallon size ziplock bag, seal, label, and freeze.