Crock pot meals offer easy home-cooked goodness

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For a delicious, home-cooked meal without a whole lot of prep time, abc13's Patricia Lopez says crock pots are a lifesaver! (KTRK)

You can have dinner hot and ready when you come home from work with just one simple old-school tool: your crock pot.

Pinterest has thousands and thousands of recipe ideas to prep and everything in between, moms know this one-pot wonder saves time and money.

Here are a few suggestions for some savory success:
    Make sure your pot is big enough. The average for meals is a 5-6 quart sized crock pot.

    Don't overfill your crock pot more than two-thirds full.

    Don't open the lid or you'll slow down your crock pot.

    When cooking meat, make sure food is cooked at the proper temperature.


I had a great time cooking this delicious garlic lemon chicken. With just six ingredients, it was a breeze. Just season your chicken with salt and pepper, and stuff the bird with lemon, onion and garlic. That's it. Put the whole chicken in the crock pot for five hours. The result: an amazingly juicy chicken.

Lemon and Herb CrockPot Roasted Chicken Recipe



The Ingredients
--one thawed and skinned whole chicken. It wasn't as gross for me this time! yay! But I'm not pregnant, so if you are and are prone to pukeage, be forewarned...
--head of garlic
--2 lemons (yeah, those are lemons. I tried to find yellow ones, and even went outside at 3:30am (I had insomnia) with a flashlight to find riper ones, and nearly scared the neighbors cat bald, but could only find green guys. They still tasted okay.)
--salt and pepper
--a bunch of fresh rosemary (this is from my mom's garden. hi, mom! thanks for the rosemary!)

The Directions
After you skin the chicken and keep from puking, rub it inside and out with a bunch of salt and pepper.
Plop it into the crockpot.
Peel your garlic and shove a bunch of the whole cloves into the bird cavity and throw some more on top and around the chicken.
Slice the lemon and put slices on top, around, and inside the bird
Wash the rosemary and do the same. If you are using dried rosemary, use a good amount---probably 2-3 tablespoons of dried herbs.

Do not add water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. I put this on at 4am, and had it for lunch at noon. Then I took a two-hour nap!

Another great meal idea: Crockpot meatballs. Get a package of ready-made meat balls, mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and the buns. Cook for two to three hours, and then put those meatballs on a bun with cheese.

For more delicious recipes, check out my Pinterest.

Easy Meatball Subs



Here's what you'll need:
Frozen meatballs (I used about 1/3 of the package)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
sub buns
Microwave the frozen meatballs for a minute or two, just to thaw them a bit. Put them in a pan and pour the sauce over the top and let it heat for several minutes. I cut the meatballs in half so they would stay on the sandwiches better.

Split the buns open and toast them under the broiler in the oven. Put the meatballs on the buns and top with cheese. Stick the sandwiches back under the broiler to melt the cheese.

That's it. Dinner's on the table in about 10 minutes. You can't beat that!
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