Tag: packed lunch

Vegetable Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

Everyone’s working extra hours these days, and my crockpot is no exception.  Last weekend, I made Lentil Soup overnight, poured it into containers, and then got the crockpot clean and ready for this recipe.  The stew by itself is a hearty vegetable and bean stew which is good, but a little boring.  It’s the cornmeal dumplings that make the difference!  The texture of the dumplings is hard to describe; they are firmer than a matzoh ball, but moister than a biscuit.  The steps at the end of the recipe take a few minutes, but the dumplings are well worth the time!




Vegetable Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

1 (20 oz.) package peeled and diced butternut squash
1 (16 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 (16 oz.) bag Trader Joe’s frozen romano beans
1 c. water
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cornmeal
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 t baking powder
1 egg, beaten
2 T milk
2 T canola oil

Place squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, edamame, beans, water, and Italian seasoning in crockpot.  Stir and cook on High for 5 hours.  Lift cover and smash butternut squash pieces against the side of the crockpot to thicken the stew.

Mix flour, cornmeal, cheese, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix egg, milk, and oil in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until moistened.  Drop the dough by spoonfuls into the stew.  Replace the cover and cook on High for 45 minutes.

-Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Crockpot Cookery

Crockpot Lentil Soup

When things get hectic, and they always do, I like to go back to the basics.  The celery and carrots in my vegetable drawer looked pretty tired, but I hate throwing away produce.  While I got a good night’s sleep, the soup simmered in the crockpot and the vegetables came back to life.  I stirred in a little balsamic vinegar at the end for extra flavor.  You’d never know this soup is just lentils, vegetables, and spices because it tastes much richer.  Getting back to the basics can be really good.


Crockpot Lentil Soup

1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 c. lentils
1 t minced garlic
1 t Italian seasoning
4 c. vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes in juice
2 T balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients except vinegar in crockpot.  Cook on Low for 12 hours.  Stir in vinegar and serve.

-Lightly adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Crockery Cookbook

Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Looking for some comfort food?  This Broccoli Mac & Cheese from Skinnytaste will definitely hit the spot.  I followed the recipe almost exactly, although I used whole wheat rotini pasta instead of elbows.  It was fun to make your own cheese sauce for this dish, and there was plenty of sauce to cover the pasta and broccoli.  I kept going back for just another spoonful, and this is a dish that I will look forward to eating for lunch!


Ginger Lentil Soup

I started reading Joy the Baker last year, and found myself drooling over her recipes.  She is well known for her sweet treats, but I was looking for something a little lighter.  So instead of baking, she inspired me to make this Ginger and Lentil Soup.  There is nothing like the smell of freshly cut ginger.

I cut the recipe in half, and then made a few changes.  First, while I do love the French green lentils in the original recipe, I can only find them at Whole Foods, so I went with the standard brown ones which happened to be right in my cupboard. I also added some green to the pot in the form of Chinese broccoli, but either bok choy or Swiss chard would probably work as well.  After a month filled with heavy foods, this soup was light and refreshing, but still a satisfying meal.



Ginger and Lentil Soup

1 T canola oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 T minced garlic
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T minced fresh ginger
1 t cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
2 c. vegetable broth
2-3 c. water
1 1/2 c. lentils
1 large bunch Chinese broccoli, large stems removed and coarsely chopped (appx 3 cups)

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onion, and saute for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and starting to brown.  Add garlic, carrots, and ginger, and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add cumin and cayenne pepper and stir well.  Add vegetable broth, 2 c. water, lentils, and Chinese broccoli or other greens, and simmer covered for 1 hour.  Add more water if soup is too thick.

-Adapted from Joy the Baker

Crockpot Tomato Soup

There is nothing like hot tomato soup on a really cold day.  It’s pretty easy to make tomato soup on the stovetop, but the crockpot seems to intensify the rich tomato flavor.  In any case, you won’t go back to eating Campbell’s.

I wanted to keep things simple, so I modified this recipe.  Just four hours later, I had a pot of gorgeous tomato soup.  Serving the soup over barley makes it a bit more like a meal, but I won’t stop you if you’d rather make a grilled cheese sandwich.


Crockpot Tomato Soup

1 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 c. vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 – 1 1/2 c. cooked barley

Heat olive oil in a frying pan.  Add garlic and onion, and saute for 10-15 minutes.  Place in crockpot, along with tomatoes, broth, and bay leaves.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Remove bay leaves, and serve over cooked barley.


Crockpot Pumpkin Spinach Ziti Casserole

It’s finals week(s) and I’ve been living on popcorn, clementines, peanut butter, and coffee.  But on Sunday, I decided to let my crockpot make my dinner for me.  I’ve been toying with the idea of making a lasagna in the crockpot, and that’s how I stumbled across this recipe for Pumpkin White Bean Lasagna.  But since you need to break the lasagna noodles anyway to fit them in the slow cooker, I decided to modify the recipe to use whole wheat ziti.  And of course, I snuck in one more vegetable and some Parmesan cheese while I was at it!  As you can see from the list of ingredients, this is pretty much a pantry meal with no special purchases required.  It took all of 20 minutes to assemble in the crockpot, and then I went on with my day.

When I came home, I was pleasantly surprised that the pasta had cooked fairly well.  This meal is soft, warm, and comforting.  It lacked a little bit of flavor though, so next time I would add more seasoning to the ricotta mixture.  In the meantime, I added a bit more sauce and some Parmesan cheese and it was a great dinner, with plenty leftover for lunches for the week.  Now, I have no excuses left and must go study!




Crockpot Pumpkin Spinach Ziti Casserole

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (16 oz.) container fat free ricotta
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (28 oz) can + 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen spinach
4 heaping cups whole wheat ziti (buy a 12 oz. box)
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained

In a small bowl, mix pumpkin, ricotta, and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.  In a larger bowl, mix tomato sauce and frozen spinach.

Coat the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray.  Place a heaping 1/2 c. of sauce on the bottom of the pot.  Add a heaping cup of dry pasta.  Add 1/3 of the cheese mixture, followed by 1/3 of the beans, and 1/4 of the remaining sauce.  Repeat layers of pasta, cheese, beans, and sauce 2 more times.  Add a final layer of pasta, and spread the remaining sauce on top.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

-Adapted from GeekyPoet


Crockpot Potato Vegetable Casserole

I declared this past Saturday a “No-Homework” day.  My house was a mess, the laundry was piled high, my refrigerator was empty, and I needed a break.  To celebrate the occasion, I told my friend Tara to come over for dinner.  OK, it was a little ambitious to think I could completely clean and organize my house in one day and get dinner on the table for us.  I am lucky to have friends who aren’t very fussy, and will pretty much try anything.

I decided to use my crockpot to make this Layered Vegetable Casserole.  No, this is not a typical Saturday night dinner, but it is a pretty decent meal and reminded me a little of potato skins.  I used mostly frozen vegetables here, but I see this as a dish that could be changed from season to season based on what’s available.  And of course, if you have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, that would make it even better.  Next time I would use a little more sauce which I think would help the vegetables cook more easily.  There are a few more versions of this recipe floating in my head, but in the meantime enjoy!



Crockpot Potato Vegetable Casserole

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 c. corn
1/2 c. peas
1 T Italian seasoning
1/4 t black pepper
3 large potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen broccoli
1 1/2 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar

In a bowl, mix tomato sauce, carrots, corn, peas, and spices.  Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray.  Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom.  Add 1/3 of the broccoli, followed by 1/3 of the vegetable sauce.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat layers (potatoes, broccoli, sauce, and cheese) 2 more times.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until potatoes are soft.  Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

-Adapted from Happy Healthy Mama

Taco Bowls

Do you need a really easy crockpot chicken recipe?  Then check out these Taco Chicken Bowls from Budget Bytes, one of my new favorite recipe blogs.  It looks like a great meal, whether you’re cooking for a family or just yourself and the freezer.

Do you need a really easy vegetarian crockpot recipe that uses only the ingredients which you have on hand?  Then check out my version below!  You don’t need to use your crockpot for this one, I am sure a pan on the stovetop would work.  But it is a lot easier to just turn the crockpot on High and forget about it until it’s dinnertime.  This dish may not be particularly unique, but it was a hot balanced meal that hit the spot.  And even better, it makes a great lunch for the next day!



Crockpot Taco Bowl

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8 oz) package frozen corn
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1 t minced garlic
1/2 c. water
Brown Rice
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream

Place beans, tomatoes, corn, spices, garlic, and water in the crockpot and stir.  Cook on high for 3 hours.  Serve mixture on a bed of brown rice, topped with shredded cheddar and sour cream.

-Inspired by Budget Bytes


Not Boring Chicken Salad

Raise your hand if you think chicken salad can be really boring….   Yeah, me too!  Although I did like the Celery Leaf Chicken Salad I made earlier this summer.  So when I graciously accepted leftover Beer Can Chicken, I decided to make chicken salad that was anything but boring.  With celery from the vegetable drawer, an apple from the fruit basket, and sage that was tucked away in my freezer, this ended up quite tasty.  There was enough chicken salad for 2 wraps plus a snack.



Apple Sage Chicken Salad

1 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
3 stalks celery, diced
1 apple, chopped
1 T chopped sage
1-2 T light mayonnaise
2 c. baby spinach
2 Joseph’s Whole Wheat, Flax, and Bran lavash

Combine chicken, celery, apple, and sage in a bowl.  Mix in mayonnaise and add salt and pepper to taste.  Divide spinach between the two wraps.  Add chicken salad and roll up.

Mexican Pasta Toss

We’re at the tail end of tomato season, and I was determined to make one last dish with roasted grape tomatoes since I loved them on the Italian Baked Potato.  The rest of this dish just kind of came together with what I had on hand.  It’s very mild, so if you want to kick it up a notch, go for it!  Maybe some sauteed peppers or a dash of cayenne? 


Mexican Pasta Toss

1 pint grape tomatoes, roasted in a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes
2 c. whole wheat shells, cooked and drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. corn, cooked and drained
1 t chili powder
Shredded cheddar cheese

Toss tomatoes, pasta, beans, and corn in a large bowl, and season with chili powder.  Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.