Yogurt-I tried this once and it worked okay, although I’d say it was more the kind of yogurt that’s good for using in recipes in place of buttermilk (pancakes, waffles, etc.) since it was so runny, although I could have strained it through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and it would probably have been fine. Honestly, I usually use this recipe from Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life because it’s very easy, although it doesn’t make as much…unless you use multiple thermal coffee mugs.
Chickpeas-beans, water (make sure you use a lot of water…if there’s not enough the beans won’t be covered once they expand during cooking and they will be inedible), overnight or all day. Then you can freeze them, use them in hummus, or add them to salads, soups, or whatever you use your canned beans for.
Garbanzo beans (Psych! Those are the same as chickpeas)
Many other dried beans– Same method. Cooking times vary by bean, so google your bean before you cook it so you can not end up with undercooked or mushy beans.
Whole chicken– Whole chickens are much cheaper to buy than boneless skinless parts, and then you can make stock. If I’m going to eat meat, I prefer use the whole thing! You can do a fancy sauce, or just stick the thing in there and put it on high for a few hours. Longer if it’s frozen (I never think ahead enough to thaw them beforehand). You can add a few small potatoes or carrots or parsnips if you want to serve them as part of the meal.
chicken stock– after we eat our chicken, the bones go straight into the crockpot and then I cover them with water and make stock overnight, then strain it and make soup for the next night. Maybe Leftover Soup?
vegetable stock (my friend J keeps carrot peels, apple peels, onion bits, etc. and sticks them in the freezer until she has enough to fill a pot. Easy and free using bits you would have otherwise just thrown in the trash or compost.
Apple Butter– cook apples down until they are apple sauce (I like to peel and core them, although I got a fancy shmancy apple peeler corer slicer thing for christmas so I’ll probably do that next year), then take the lid off, add spices and cook them down more until they are apple butter. Then make biscuits. Or toast. Not in the crockpot though.
Dal– Indian Red Lentil stew…served with chapates or brown rice or both. Delicious and very good for you!
Sausage, potato, and kale soup-the only ingredients that aren’t in the title are salt, pepper and some kind of stock. Brown the sausage first. It tastes better. Wash the kale and rip it into smallish pieces. Half a pound of sausage is enough to make a pretty big pot of soup. Cook it all up and use a potato masher to mush up the potatoes so the soup will be creamy and delicious.
Leftover Soup-combine veggies from the freezer, crisper, or pantry, cover with any kind of broth or water, cook all day and then spice it up as you like it…curry spices and a wand blender will make everything better. Okay, not everything. But this soup.
My favorite Leftover Soup usually consists pretty much of these things:
- a few potatoes, washed and quartered, if they’re big (no peeling)
- carrots if I have them (again, washing is good enough)
- a jar of tomatoes (pint or quart…dealer’s choice)
- 1-4 cloves of garlic
- salt & pepper
- frozen summer squash, winter squash, or other veggies you froze because you didn’t know what to do with them at the time. 😉
- maybe an apple or two
- some wine
- curry spices-either curry powder, or some configuration including some or all (but not limited to) ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chili powder, mustard, and/or cumin.