Thankfully the frigid temperatures are slowly becoming less frigid and my Crock Pot has done virtually ALL of the cooking this week. I have exerted little to no effort to get dinner on the table all week long. What I'm doing now is trying to figure out exactly how I can repeat this next week without the rest of the household catching on to my lazy cooking habits.
So after testing / trying 4 recipes from the Year of Slow Cooking blog, here's the judgment:
Baked Potato Soup: Lord have mercy.
Get in your car.
Drive your car to the market.
Buy all of the ingredients (if you don't already have them).
Make this immediately.
This was, hands down, some of the best Baked Potato Soup I've ever tasted. In fact, it rivals the Baked Potato Soup at Houston's. While living in Atlanta, I made it a mission to get to Houston's every Wednesday for the Baked Potato Soup and a Grilled Chicken Salad.
I did make a few simple modifications. First, I halved the recipe to not wind up with 18 gallons of Baked Potato Soup (but I might be regretting it now). I replaced the chicken stock with water and chicken bouillon; replaced about 1/2 cup of the water with fat-free half & half. Before gently mashing the potatoes (keeping some texture) I removed about 12 ounces of the cooking liquid. Then added low-fat cream cheese, a heavy splash of fat-free half & half and a little of the cooking liquid.
Taco Soup: Almost too easy, but it was good - not great, but good. (Considering the resident princess ate almost an entire bowl, I think it's safe to say it was good.)
Macaroni & Cheese: Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, right? If you don't, this might change your mind. Of course the resident princess dove right in with both hands. I have to admit, when I threw everything in the Crock Pot I was a little skeptical. Anticipating a slight disaster due to the cooking time, I used a larger shaped pasta (corkscrews) so the pasta wouldn't turn to mush. I think the strategy paid off. I think. Maybe. Regardless, it was mmm-mmm-good.
And last, but not least...
Brown Sugar Chicken: All I have to say, is don't waste your time, electricity, or the chicken. Edible but not all that.
All in all an interesting week of meals. Julia Child would be terribly ashamed of me. I used less than 3 Tablespoons of butter this week. I'm so ashamed.
Next project: Planning the "Wish Upon a Starfish" mini cakes (complete with Ariel or "fish" theme) I'm making next weekend. The resident princess has a birthday party and I'm disappointed to not have found an over-the-top, extraordinary cake. And no cupcakes this year. All kids get a decorated mini cake and the parents get Brown Sugar Pound Cakes.