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Help me be a better (cooking) mummy

(38 Posts)
sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 15:19:51

Having read a few threads on here recently about good food I need your help.

My and dh work full time but we both prefer home cooked food rather than convienience type stuff. Please help me with some good old fashioned, home cooked recipies that don't take all day to prepare.

I work quite close to home so I could pop back at lunch to stick a casserole in the oven or something.

I'm going to try meal planning so that I only buy the ingredients I need at the shop and not a load of prepacked crap

So, come on ladies - I know you've got a ton of ideas please help!!!!!!

CountessDracula Mon 21-Mar-05 15:21:35

Get a slow cooker.

sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 15:22:24

and put what in it????

ThomCat Mon 21-Mar-05 15:23:58

Me and DH work full time too and both get in at 7ish, and never eat convenience food, we cook from scrathch every night. What time do you get in from work? We usually eat about 8ish, sometimes a bit later, is that too late for you? I'll come up with a few receipes when I have an idea and do you like chicken, fish, veggie options, etc etc.

unicorn Mon 21-Mar-05 15:24:21

tons of veg.. chicken pieces and a cook in sauce...


CountessDracula Mon 21-Mar-05 15:24:44

Sorry, make a stew and put it on at lunchtime, will be divine by 8pm

Merlin Mon 21-Mar-05 15:25:25

You can get excellent slow cooker books in any bookshop - full of lovely recipes. Actually your post has reminded me that I want to buy a new slow cooker - a much bigger one - cos my family sized one got broken - anyone recommend one over another?

sweetmonkey Mon 21-Mar-05 15:27:37

we bought a slow cooker a couple of weeks ago and it had recipes thta came with it. you can do casseroles, shepherds pie(although havent tried itt in there yet etc)

« Thread started on: Oct 25th, 2002, 7:38pm »

3 medium russet potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 tsp beef flavor concentrate
1 pound ground beef
1 can (14-15 oz) green beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Scrub about 3 med russet potatoes & cut into small-ish chunks, leaving skin on. (If you cut spuds into too large size pieces they will take too long to cook since everything else is basically done.) This made 1 layer on bottom of my 5-qt crockpot. Season spuds with salt, pepper & garlic powder to your own taste. Brown 1 lb of ground beef with 1/2 chopped onion, drain fat. Put on top of spuds. Mix can of soup with 1 tsp beef concentrate flavor. Drain can of cut green beans & put in crockpot. Cover & cook on high for 3 hrs, stirring couple of times. Turn to low & sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top & cook for 30 mins or so. Makes 4.


PAM® No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups diced red potato
16 ounce package baby carrots
10¾ fluid ounce can condensed cream of celery soup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
3 pounds Butterball® Boneless Breast of Turkey Roast, thawed, if frozen
1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning blend
¼ cup instant mashed potato flakes
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, if desired

Coat a 5-quart slow cooker with no-stick cooking spray.
Place onion, potato and carrots in slow cooker.
Stir together soup, water, poultry seasoning and salt; pour over vegetables.
Remove turkey breast roast from package and dry with paper towels.
Lift string netting and shift position on roast for easier removal after cooking.
Sprinkle seasoning blend over roast and place roast on vegetables.
Remove roast from slow cooker.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir potato flakes and parsley into vegetables.
Let stand 5 minutes.
Remove string netting and cut roast into slices.
Serve turkey with vegetables.

Eight-Layer Casserole
« Thread started on: Jan 18th, 2003, 11:39pm »

1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons imitation bacon bits
1 small onion, chopped
15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup long-grain rice
8 3/4 oz can whole-kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

Directions: Crumble ground beef evenly over bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle with bacon bits, then onion. In a medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, water, chili powder, salt, and black pepper; pour half over beef and onion layers. Sprinkle rice evenly over top, then corn. Top with remaining tomato sauce mixture, then bell pepper. Cover and cook on LOW about 5 hours or until rice is tende

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stew
« Thread started on: Jan 28th, 2003, 4:09pm »

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stew

Serving: 8

1 pound skinned, boned chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound skinned, boned chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups mushrooms, halved
2 cups water
1 cup frozen small whole onions
1 cup Sliced celery, 1/2-inch slices
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 teapsoon paprika
1/2 teapsoon salt
1/2 teapsoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teapsoon dried thyme
1/2 teapsoon pepper
14 ounces chicken broth
6 ounces tomato paste
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups frozen green peas

Combine first 14 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting for 4 hours or until carrot is tender.

Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended.
Add cornstarch mixture and peas to slow cooker, stir well.
Cover and cook on high-heat setting 30 additional minutes.

Calories: 218
Total Fat: 3
Carbohydrates: 17
Protein: 29

sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 15:28:19

I generally get in between 5pm and 6pm.

I'm going to attempt a lasagna this week but I still cheated and brought the Ragu sauces - I love cooking and would love to have the time (and flair) to cook it from scratch.

I'll give most things a go but I'm not too keep on fish - although weight watchers do a nice fish pie (cod).

would be great if you could give me some ideas Thomcat!!!!

Merlin Mon 21-Mar-05 15:33:04

sweetmonkey - which one did u buy?

sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 15:34:13

they are fab sweetmonkey - thanks!!

Just the sort of ideas I was looking for!!!!

sweetmonkey Mon 21-Mar-05 15:35:18

i didnt .i asked jeeves, found loads on there,did normal msn search and couldnt really find alot
the recipes were from a mixture of sites, think i have 4 or 5 more if anyone wants them

Merlin Mon 21-Mar-05 15:36:42

sorry sweetmonkey I meangt which cooker?!!

Sponge Mon 21-Mar-05 15:37:21

I did a thing that was incredibly easy and very good at the weekend. jamie O out of the latest BBC Good Food.
Season some chicken pieces and put into an oven-proof dish that they fit quite snugly into. Halve some cherry tomatoes (we did red and yellow but I don't suppose it matters much) and quarter some plum tomatoes and scatter over. Tear up a big bunch of basil and scatter over. Put a few whole unpeeled garlic cloves in. Chop up a red chilli and add in if you fancy it. Drizzle over some olive oil and mix it all up a bit - pushing the tomatoes down between the chicken a bit. Put in the oven at 180 and cook for about 1.5 hours until the chicken is browned and crispy skinned.
If you want you can add a canof cannelini beans or some sliced new potatoes for the last hour. I did the potatoes which was really nice. When it's done squeeze the garlic out of its skins and mix into the juice.
Whole thing took about 10 minutes to put together and was really simple and tasty. We had it with some ciabatta and a green salad.

sweetmonkey Mon 21-Mar-05 15:38:25

oh i dont know to be honest, the bloke went out couple of weeks ago and bought a slow cooker and a steamer, i printed recipes off for both just so we had ideas of what to cook and we ve only used the steamer .ooops
must start using slow cooker!! recipes have made me hungry now!!

soapbox Mon 21-Mar-05 15:48:12

Sweetheart - avoid the ready prepared sauces - they are as full of additives as the ready meals you are trying to avoid!!

I second the slowcooker route - I bulk cook in mine (its huge) and then freeze in portion sized trays. I take a meal out of the freezer in the morning and pop it in the fridge and it is ready to be reheated when we get in at night!

I put a slowcooker meal on on Sat morning and one on Sunday am. This, along with Sunday roast left overs which also get frozen, keeps us going for the week.

If we fancy anything different during the week it tends to be quick meals - e.g. baked pots and tuna and coleslaw, omelet, pasta with tuna and mushroom (heat a tin of tuna or salmon,stir in some finely sliced mushrooms, a small pot of low fat natural yoghurt and a pinch of paprika cook fo 3 mins or so then stir into freshly cooked pasta - you can make this without the fish and it is still really tasty), pasta with smokey bacon sauce, (fry small onion and garlic and two rashers of chopped smoked bacon, stir in a tin of plum tomatoes and simmer for 15 mins stir into freshly cooked pasta) etc etc

I never spend more that 10 mins in the kitchen during the week unless I'm in the mood for a bout of cooking

sweetmonkey Mon 21-Mar-05 15:50:59

Slow-Cooked Shredded Beef Tacos
« Thread started on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 07:31am »

Slow-Cooked Shredded Beef Tacos

This is a great dish for those that like to prepare dinner in
advance. Just throw the beef and onion in a slow cooker with
our tasty seasoning mix and some water, and don’t touch it for
6-8 hours! When you return, you’ll be minutes away from a
delectable taco dinner.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup water
1 package (1.25 ounces) ORTEGA® Taco Seasoning Mix
1 bottle (16 ounces) ORTEGA® Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce
1 cup (7-ounce can) ORTEGA® Chopped Green Chiles
1 package (12) ORTEGA® Taco Shells
shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, SARGENTO® ChefStyle Shredded
Mild Cheddar Cheese, sour cream

PLACE beef and onion in slow cooker. Combine water and seasoning
mix in small bowl. Pour over beef and onion. Cook on LOW for 6 to
8 hours or until tender. Remove meat to cutting board; shred beef
with two forks. Place beef in large bowl. Stir in taco sauce and

FILL warmed taco shells with beef mixture. Top with lettuce,
tomato, cheese and sour cream.

Makes 6 servings

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Cubed chicken meat slow cooked with potatoes, vegetables and a simple curry mixture. A quick and easy recipe for a chicken vegetable curry.
Serves 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 480 minutes
Total time: 500 minutes
Calories: 260.34
Calories from Fat: N/A
Total Fat: 2.90 g
Saturated Fat: N/A
Cholesterol: N/A
Sodium: N/A
Total Carbohydrate: 25.54 g
Dietary Fiber: N/A
Sugars: N/A
Protein: 33.02 g
Vitamin A: N/A
Vitamin C: N/A

1 pound cubed skinless, boneless chicken breast meat
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
2.5 cups water
2 tablespoons curry powder
0.5 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed stir-fry vegetables
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Combine chicken, potatoes, broth, water and curry powder in slow cooker.
2. Cook on Low setting for 8 hours (or on High setting for 4 hours).
3. During last hour of cooking (last 1/2 hour if cooking on High), add vegetables. Immediately after stirring in vegetables, dissolve cornstarch into some of the cooking broth and stir in. Cover and continue cooking to comple

Slow Cooker Green Beans, Ham and Potatoes

2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
3 ham hocks
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
ground black pepper to taste

Halve beans if they are large, place in a slow cooker with water to
barely cover, and add onion and ham hocks. Cover, and cook on High until simmering.
Reduce heat to Low, and cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until beans are
crisp but not done.
Add potatoes, and cook for another 45 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, remove ham hocks from slow cooker, and remove meat from bones.
Chop or shred meat, and return to slow cooker.
Season with garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, bouillon, and pepper.
Cook until potatoes are done, then adjust seasoning to taste.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to put beans, potatoes, and ham into a serving dish with a little broth.

Ez's Slow Cooker Hot Chili

" Chili lovers should enjoy this very much. Sprinkle with Colby Jack cheese, which melts well and doesn't get stringy. "

1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
4 (11.5 ounce) cans tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, drained
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup water

1 In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion, green bell pepper and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the beef and cook until brown. Transfer these ingredients to a slow cooker.

2 Then, to the slow cooker, add tomato-vegetable juice, soup, chili beans, cayenne pepper, chili powder, soy sauce and water.

3 Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 2 hours.

Makes 8 servings

Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
« Thread started on: Jun 19th, 2004, 3:17pm »

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

1 ½ lb. browned ground beef
8 oz. or ½ pkg. mild ground Italian sausage, browned with ground beef
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped (you may want to use more) OR
1 (28 oz.) can whole Italian style tomatoes, cut up and undrained
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) can tomato puree
2 to 3 cans (8 oz. ea.) tomato sauce
1 c. dry red wine
1 ½ tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 tsp. salt (I would cut it to ¼ tsp)
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
12 oz. dried pasta, cooked and drained - for 2 servings
shredded Italian cheese - Asiago

Brown ground beef and sausage till browned in large skillet. Meanwhile, combine remainder of ingredients, minus the pasta, in crock-pot. Cover and cook on high heat till meat is browned. Add browned meat and cover; turn crackpot to low and cook on low heat for 8 to10 hours. Or you may cook on high heat for 4 to 5 hours. Remove bay leaf and discard. Pass pasta and sauce and cheese. Makes 6 large servings or 8 medium servings.

Grandma's Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

" This is a simple crowd pleasing recipe that can sit in a slow cooker until it is time to serve. "

1 (19 ounce) can black bean soup
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil

1 In a slow cooker, combine black bean soup, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper and celery. Season with garlic, chili powder, parsley, oregano and basil. Cook for at least two hours on High.

Makes 8 servings

Broccoli Rice & Chicken
« Thread started on: Apr 23rd, 2003, 11:49am »

Broccoli Rice & Chicken
2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless breasts cut in strips
1 1/4 cups uncooked converted rice
1 package Knorr's Cream of Broccoli Soup Mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
pepper, to taste

Place rice in a lightly greased crockpot. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Top with chicken pieces. Mix together the soup mix and broth. Pour over chicken and rice. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Sponge Mon 21-Mar-05 15:51:28

Actually some of the jarred sauces aren't full of additives. I'm not saying they're particularly nice but I've been to the Dolmio factory and their sauces have no additives apart from some starch stuff to thicken it up and no presevatives - they're pasteurised to keep them fresh. So you shouldn't feel too guilty about using them - I just don't like them.

ThomCat Mon 21-Mar-05 15:55:24

Will be back with some receipes when I am at home.
If you get in at 5-6 then ther'e no excuse!!!! I'll get you cooking some lovely thinngs for tea by the end of the week.

What do you fancy?

Chicken based receipes to start and we'll go from there? (no slow cook things I'm afraid)

soapbox Mon 21-Mar-05 15:56:41

Sponge sorry - I really meant the Homepride and Colmans sauces and sauce mixes. Good to hear that Dolmio is okay! Would still rather make my own though

pupuce Mon 21-Mar-05 16:02:37

Can I ask a daft question... why would you use Ragu sauce to make lasagna?
I mean do you add meat to that sauce and then make the layers???
According to friends I make a really good lasagna (I think it's good but they seem more impressed LOL).... it's only
chopped onion + chopped/pressed garlic in some oliove oil, add mince, brown it, add cans of tomatoes + some puree + salt/pepper/herbes de provence..... and the cook it for 1 hor or more but you don't need to sit next to it adn you can bactch freeze it!
I don't see why using Ragu would make it really any more work?? But I have never bought ready made sauce so don't know.

sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 16:04:00

Thanks everyone!!! This is fab.

Thomcat - dh and I are lovers of red meat - we eat chicken occasionally but prefer lamb, mince, beef recipies.

I have to say though - this is largly due to the fact we're sick of eating sweet and sour chicken with rice!!!! If you can give me some more tasty things to try that would be great.

I'm going to spend this week using up all the crap in my freezer so that next week I can become a domestic goddess!!!!!

I'll also be investing in a slow cooker when I get paid!!!

Thank you!!!!!

sweetheart Mon 21-Mar-05 16:06:55


I haven't tried using it yet but I think you just brown off some mince then put the mince, pasta and sauces in a dish and stick in the over for 40 mins.

I looked at a cook book and it said loads of indredients which had to be simmered for ages and then transfered to a dish and cooked again!!! Seemed like alot of messing about to me.

I really want to get away from all these types of sauces though so this is a great help!!

hatsoff Mon 21-Mar-05 16:08:07

not very traditional but very easy - variations on roast vegetables. Any combination of the following are great, serve with pasta or cous cous, and/or a piece of baked fish. takes about 10 minutes to chop it all up, coat in olive oil, a bit of basil, lots of black pepper 20-25 minutes in a hot oven
peppers of all colours
onions/red onions/shallots/garlic
sweet potatoes
tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
bacon/proscuitto/chirizo draped over it all goes gorgeously crispy
or you can put lumps of feta or haloumi or taleggio or mozeralla
you can even throw in some haricot or barlotti beans (best if you've got lots of tomotoes)
I do variations on this ALL the time. And if you don't go ott with the meat or cheese it's pretty healthy

flic23 Mon 21-Mar-05 16:11:17

Hi i lived of pre-packaged frozen food until about thrree months ago until I started watching healthy eating shows and scared myself. I now wont let any thing but fresh ingredients into my home. I was the worst cook and just thought i couldnt do it, that was until i forced myself. I have to admit I am not half bad. Things like casseroles and cottage pie only take a few minutes to prep especially if you use a food processor and then just do their own thing. If you love really good homemade lasgagna then make a huge one at weekend when u have the time and freeze portions. Also my recipe uses the basic recipe you find anywhere but instead of fussing around making bechamel sauce (which I hate doing) I just sprinkle parmasan ontop of each meat layer and then top the whole thing which sliced mozzerella and spread reduced fat creme fraich over that and sprinkle with lemon zest I swear it is the best one I have ever tasted!

Also chicken is great for speedy tasty food. Marinading is fab eg. last night i mixed olive oil , white wine vinegar, fresh orange juice and garlic bunged the chicken in it and its still there I just need to roast it on top of some rosemary in the oven and yummy roast chicken at the end with some frozen veg and potatoe wedges

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