Last year, at this time, I was racing all over the southern tier between Whirling Dervish's sports. He was running cross country for the school's modified team and playing recreation league football. As soon as he crossed the finish line, I'd be tossing a meal at him in the car while he put his pads on. You would think that I'd have oodles of time on my hands this year, since WD isn't doing any fall sports.
Somehow life doesn't work that way.
I'm just as involved at school, except now I have both the elementary school and high school volunteering. Snuggle Bunny is playing soccer and WD is still playing lacrosse. His travel league went to their last tournament this past weekend, but he still has lacrosse conditioning sessions through October. And of course the start of the school year means multiple curriculum nights, parent-teacher conferences, and fundraisers. We keep it all on our giant dry erase calendars in our message center.
I looked at my giant family calendar and saw that we had lax conditioning for WD from 5-6:30, soccer practice for SB from 6-7 and grade school curriculum night also from 6-7. When you have a confluence of all of those things, how do you feed your family without resorting to throwing food at them in the car?
Enter the crockpot.
I love my crockpot. My mother bought one for me several years ago, and it gets used quite a bit during the school year. I tend to dump in random things and they always come out yummy.
Faced with driving around all evening, and not wanting to feed my kids at 4, I pulled out my trusty crockpot and started tossing things in there. It was a blowsy sort of day with a chill in the air, so I decided to go with southwest flavors to help warm us up. The southwest chicken stew served with garlic toast was a real hit with the boys.
Here's what went into it.
6 ish potatoes - peeled and chopped into good sized chunks
1 large onion - peeled and chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes - if we hadn't already had a frost, I'd have used fresh from the garden
1 can black beans
1/2 bag frozen corn
5 chicken quarters
2 tbsps tapioca starch
Brotherhood Winery holiday wine
I didn't measure out the spices, because I've found that you can't really overseason a crockpot(unless you accidentally open the scoop side vs the shake side of a spice container.) I'm a firm believer in cooking with wine that you would want to drink. Brotherhood is the oldest continuously run vineyard in the nation. It was open during prohibition, because it made sacramental wine for the church. Their holiday wine is cinnamony and nice on a blustery day. Again there was no measurement, because it was what was left in the bottle from the previous night(about 2 inches.) The beauty of the crockpot is that all the flavors meld and there's really no way to go wrong.
I encourage you to get creative with your crockpot and post your own creations.