Better Times Cookbook | Justpeace | Better Times | |Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City

For information about our plans for adapting our"urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for our home.

One of life's true pleasures in the kitchen is the faithful crockpot. Load it up as you head out to work, open it up for dinner. Much less bother and much better tasting not to mention much more nutritious than fast food. Another great thing about crockpot recipes is that many of them can be adapted for use in solar cooking (more information about solar cooking may be found in the Solar Cooking Archives (not a Justpeace site).

Another possibility is the insulated non-electric cooker, which is basically a box, bucket, or barrel big enough that four inches of insulating material can be packed on all sides, top and bottom, of the covered pot. This method works best with recipes with more liquid (soups, stews, beans, etc). The food is heated to boiling, then immediately covered and placed in the insulating pot (lining the inside of the outer container with one of those mylar space blankets or aluminum foil also will help retain heat.) This should be good for 3-4 hours of cooking. "Insulating material" could be hay, straw, cloth, newspapers, sawdust, etc.)

Crockpot cooking recipes courtesy of Diana Rattrary, Southern US cuisine editor, at, used with permission.

Apple Brown Betty

3 lbs. cooking apples -- 10 slices of bread, cubed (about 4 cups) -- tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg -- 1/8 tsp. salt 3/4 c. brown sugar -- c. butter or margarine, melted

Wash apples, peel, core, cut into eighths; place in bottom on crock. Mix bread cubes, spices, salt, sugar, butter; toss together. Place on top of apples and cover. Cook on low setting 2 to 4 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Baked Beans from dried beans

1 pound dried small white beans, rinsed -- 4 cups Water -- 1/3 cup Molasses 1/4 cup Brown sugar -- 1 Onion, chopped -- 1/4 pound Salt pork, in 1" cubes -- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard -- teaspoon Salt

In crock pot, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low 13 to 14 hrs., stirring occasionally, if possible. 6 to 8 servings.

BBQ Beans from canned beans

2 lg. cans pork and beans -- 1 cup brown sugar -- 2 med. onions, chopped 1 lg. bell pepper, chopped -- 1 lb. bacon 1 regular size bottle BBQ sauce

Empty beans into slow cooker. Add brown sugar, onions, pepper and BBQ sauce. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on paper to remove excess grease. Cut into small pieces and add to bean mixture. Cook on low for 2 to 4 hours.

Bean Soup

1-1/2 cups Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained -- 4 cups water 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce -- Seasoned salt and pepper to taste -- 2 med. potatoes, diced -- 2 carrots, shredded 2 small onions, chopped -- to 1 cup diced ham

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Stir. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Chopped frozen broccoli -- 2 cups cooked noodles -- 3 tbsp. chopped onions -- 2 tbsp. butter -- 1 tbsp. flour -- 2 cups shredded American cheese -- Salt to taste -- 5 c. milk

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on low for 4 hours. 8 servings.

Broccoli Rice & Chicken

2 pounds uncooked chicken -- 1-1/4 cups uncooked converted rice -- 1 can Cream of Broccoli Soup 1 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.

Corn Chowder

2 cans (16 oz) whole kernel corn, drained -- 2 to 3 medium potatoes, chopped -- 1 onion, chopped -- teaspoon salt, pepper to taste -- 2 cups chicken broth -- 2 cups milk -- 1/4 cup butter or margarine

Combine first 6 ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Puree in a blender or food processor, if desired, then return to pot. Stir in milk and butter; cook on high about 1 hour more. Serves 6 to 8.

Chicken for a Crowd

18 to 24 chicken pieces -- 1 c. maple syrup -- c. soy sauce -- 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce Mix together maple syrup, soy sauce and cranberry sauce.

Boil chicken pieces for about 7 minutes. Drain and place into slow cooker; add cranberry sauce and mix to cover all. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 to 6 hours, until tender. Drain and serve.

Bachelor's Easy Stew

Stew meat or hamburger -- 1 can Carrots, drained -- 2 small Potatoes -- quartered -- 4 Cubes beef bouillon -- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs -- 2 cups water

Put all ingredients in the crockpot. Add water and turn on crock pot on LOW for 8 to 9 hours. Thicken with a mixture of flour and a little cold water, if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with biscuits.

Chris' Crock Pot Dressing

8-inch pan cornbread 8 slices day old bread, toasted and cubed -- 4 eggs -- 1 med. onion -- c. chopped celery -- 1-2 tsp. sage or poultry seasoning -- tsp. black pepper -- 2 cans cream of chicken soup -- 2 tbsp. butter or margarine

Lightly grease crock pot. Crumble cornbread into mixer bowl. Add all ingredients except butter. Pour into crockpot, dot top with butter. Cook on high 2 hours or on low 3-4 hours.

Enchilada Casserole

1 (14 oz.) can tomatoes -- 1 small chopped onion -- 1 clove minced garlic -- tsp. ground red pepper, tsp. salt -- 6 oz can tomato paste -- lb. ground beef, browned -- 1 can beans, drained 1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix -- 2 cups shredded cheese -- 9 corn tortillas

Sauce: Blend tomatoes with onion and garlic in blender. Pour in medium saucepan. Add pepper, salt and tomato paste. Heat until boiling, then simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Place 3 tortillas in bottom of crockpot. Layer on tortillas 1/3 of ground beef, 1/3 tomato sauce and 1/3 Cheddar cheese, then 3 more tortillas. Repeat each layer 2 more times, ending with cheese. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serves 4.

Green Chile Grits

2 cups regular grits -- 6 cups water -- teaspoon paprika (optional) to 1 teaspoon salt -- 4 to 6 oz chopped mild green chile dash cayenne -- 1 or more jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 9 hours or on high 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If cooking on high add 1/4 to cup more water if too thick. Similar to polenta, you serve right away or you can refrigerate the mixture in a buttered loaf pan for a few hour or overnight, unmold, slice ( inch thick), and fry in butter until browned. Serves about 8

Ground Beef & Potato Meal

1 lb. ground beef -- 1 large clove garlic -- 1/4 tsp. pepper -- tsp. thyme -- 6 med. potatoes -- 2 large onions -- 1 can cream of mushroom soup c. water

Cook ground beef and garlic in skillet until lightly browned. Stir in pepper and thyme. Peel and slice potatoes and onions. Put potatoes and onions into buttered crock pot. Add browned beef and top with remaining potatoes and onions. Mix mushroom soup with water and spread over top of contents. Cover. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Squash Casserole

5 cups yellow squash, canned or frozen, or cooked and mashed -- cup melted butter -- 1 can cream of chicken soup -- 2 slices cubed bread -- 1 cup sour cream

Place squash in slow cooker with butter and cook for 1 hour. Add soup as it comes from the can, and cook until hot. Add bread and sour cream and cook until bubbly.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound small dried red beans, soaked overnight and drained -- 1 onion, chopped -- 3 cloves garlic, minced -- salt and pepper, to taste -- 6 cups hot cooked rice -- 1 cup chopped green onions -- 1 ham bone, cracked

Place beans in crock pot and add remaining ingredients, except rice and green onions, with 1-1/2 quarts water. Cover and cook on high 2 hours. Turn heat to low and cook, covered, 10 to 12 hours. Remove ham bone and mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the remaining liquid. Remove meat from bone and return meat to pot. Season with salt, pepper and serve with rice, topped with chopped green onions.

Crock Pot Rice Pudding

2 c. cooked rice -- 1 c. scalded milk -- 2/3 c. white or brown sugar -- 3 eggs, beaten -- 1 tsp. salt -- 2 tbsp. vanilla , 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg -- c. raisins -- 3 tbsp. soft butter

Combine all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased crock pot. Cook on high 1 to 2 hours. Stir during first 30 minutes. Recipe can be doubled.

Split Pea Soup

3-1/2 cups. dried split peas -- 1 cup Carrots, diced in half inch sections -- 1 cup Onion, finely chopped -- cup Parsnip; peeled and diced (optional) -- cup Celery with leaves, chopped -- 1 teaspoon Dried thyme, teaspoon Salt, teaspoon Pepper -- 3 cans 13.3/4-oz. chicken broth --3 cups Water -- large Smoked ham hocks --

Garnish: Garlic croutons, chopped Parsley

In a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker, combine everything except ham hocks and garnish. Add ham hocks, submerging them in mixture. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 8 to 9 hours., until peas are very soft. Remove ham hocks; skim fat from surface of soup. Trim fat from hocks. Cut meat from bones and shred; stir into soup. Ladle into 6 bowls. Garnish each serving with garlic croutons and parsley.

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