Crock Pot Soup

A good and hearty soup is the basis of a nutritious meal for millions of people around the world. We in America are blessed with an abundance of foods. No matter how modest your means, a healthy and tasty meal can be put together in no time, inexpensively and with little effort on your part. The crock pot can provide the answer for “What’s for dinner?”. A crock pot soup is one of the simplest, most nutritious, effortless solutions, earning you a good cook’s reputation along with family applause and appreciation. Add some biscuits or garlic bread, and you’ve got a meal that passes the nutritionist’s critical eye.

In our own family, a quota on attendance meant we could not attend a funeral service this week for a beloved grandson in Ocala, and a military burial service for him at Florida National Cemetery was postponed to a later date.


If you’re unfamiliar with crock pot soup recipes, you need to take a look at some cook books. A crock pot soup is easy and fast to prepare, cooks itself while you’re out doing errands, shopping, or at work. Fifteen minutes in the morning and another ten minutes when you arrive home in the evening is all it takes.

One of the many virtues of a crock pot is its ability to cook tough cuts of meat to tender perfection over many hours of slow cooking. Oddly, although your meat may require many hours of cooking to achieve a tender result, vegetables which cook in minutes in the microwave, need hours in your crock pot soup recipes to render a still somewhat crunchy accompaniment. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it works.

A crock pot soup needs just broth, pasta or grains (such as rice),your veggies, meat, seasonings and some long, slow cooking to make a hearty and delicious dish.

For a thicker, creamed sauce for your crock pot soup, let your base crock pot soup cook all day. When you’re ready to finish your soup for serving, make a simple roux of flour and butter in a saucepan. How? Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan over low heat, whisking in an equal amount of flour.

Continue, constantly whisking until the mixture thickens, almost to the consistency of a paste. From the crock pot soup mixture, ladle a couple of cups of broth into a cup, gradually adding the broth to the roux, stirring all the while. When the roux and broth mixture thickens, to the consistency of a thick gravy, remove from the heat. Add enough broth to make a soupy consistency.

Return the roux to the crock pot in a gradual manner, whisking all the time. Your crock pot soup will thicken to a delicious texture, producing a hearty dish, filling and nutritious. Don’t add salt until the dish is finished, when you can fine hone the final taste of your crock pot soup.

When making a crock pot soup, toss in your favorite grains, meats and veggies. An appropriate sauce can make this dish a hit. Seasoning can add a definite snap to your crock pot soup creation. Give this impromptu recipe a try. You may well find yourself on the cutting edge of casual cuisine.

Lemon Pepper

Where did the idea of combining lemon zest and pepper originate? It’s hard to say, but this mixture has withstood the scrutiny of centuries of cooks. A standout with chicken, seafood, vegetable and pork or pasta dishes, it adds that just-right extra zing and “bite” that brings variety to your dishes. Using this seasoning on a plain dish of vegetables may just coax the kids into eating their veggies! Stir-fry dishes incorporating this combination with rice, vegetables and seafood or chicken adds a tempting note that’s irresistible.

Continuing our series of recipes for everyday dinners that can be cooked with a minimum of fuss using just one pot, saute pan, casserole or oven tray, here are some suggestions for really tasty chicken dishes.


Lemon pepper seasonings may be purchased at the grocery store, or made in your own kitchen. These ready-made seasonings may simply pique your appetite, providing a good starting point. Try it with broccoli for a delicious new taste.

If you’d like to make your own, experiment as your taste dictates, using these approximate proportions of dried seasonings:

4 parts parsley
2 parts lemon zest
1 part each of basil, thyme, cracked black pepper and garlic.

Mix the herbs and store in an airtight jar for a handy all purpose sprinkle for vegetables, seafoods and poultry.

Lemon pepper adds a particular zest and liveliness to a ho-hum meal, giving a “bite” to an otherwise bland dish. Foods which benefit from a lemon pepper seasoning include fish, chicken, seafood, pork, pasta, salads and soups. Used in a marinade, lemon pepper is an important ingredient in your kitchen pantry.

Lemon juice, in a marinade mix, tenderizes the meat and is especially effective with poultry. For one cup of marinade, mix ½ cup of lemon juice with an equal amount of chardonnay and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Season with a teaspoon of dill and ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper and you’re good to go.

The marriage of pasta and lemon pepper is so divine, you can find lemon pepper fettuccine at the market. Starting with the pasta, you can throw together a mean dish quite easily. Chopped onions, sliced olives, green onions and bite-sized cooked chicken are tossed with the cooked pasta and dressed with a little olive oil, lemon juice and dijon-style mustard.

This versatile seasoning and seafood go together like peas in a pod. Tilapia, Tuna and Halibut are delicious partners. Brush the fish with butter, sprinkle on your seasoning and microwave until the fish flakes.

Another must-try recipe is Cajun catfish. Mix a cup of flour with lemon pepper and a pinch of cayenne (to your taste). Dredge the fish and fry in a little olive oil.

Another simple and tasty dish is prepared in the crock pot. Brush boneless chicken breasts with butter, season with lemon pepper and cook until done. Any leftover meat may be chopped and used in a fried rice dish, adding the vegetables of your choice.

It’s clear from a review of these uses for lemon pepper, the seasoning promotes good dietary habits. Try a few of these ideas to improve your health.

Beef Jerky

Many people are dieting to lose weight. It seems that each time I go out to lunch with friends or family members; someone is on a weight loss program. I have tried my share of programs over the years to drop a few pounds here and there. A few years ago I needed to lose at least eight pounds to fit into a dress that I wanted to wear for a special occasion. I could get the dress zipped, but it was uncomfortable and it looked too tight. My husband wanted to lose a few pounds at the same time so we decided to go on the low carb diet, which was the craze at the time.

One of the most popular, filling snacks that you don’t need to refrigerate is beef jerky, and with so many mouth-watering flavors, we can see why it’s such a household staple now.


We both started losing weight immediately and we liked the amount of food that we were able to eat. We both like meats and cheeses. I bought a wide variety of cheeses and different low fat low sodium meats to take for lunches. For dinner we would have a protein along with a green leafy salad. For breakfast I made sure that we had boiled eggs in the fridge and the low carb cereal bars to take along for mid morning or afternoon snacks. My husband also had plenty of beef jerky in his desk to have as a snack. I liked to eat the beef jerky, but I was concerned about the amount of sodium.

One of the women I work with was impressed with the amount of weight I was losing. She asked me what diet I was following so I told her. She thought that her husband would be able to follow this also. She started bringing similar foods that I was for lunch. One day she gave me a recipe to make your own beef jerky. She knows that my husband does a great deal of hunting. She also had a beef jerky maker that she let me borrow. We made some and found that it tastes very good. You mix lean ground meat along with spices and then put the mixture through a press to form logs or strips, which ever you prefer. The mixture is then placed either in a dehydrator or in a low oven, until the meat is cooked and the moisture has cooked out.

We found that this was a great way to use the lean cuts of wild game that we had in the freezer. This made a nutritious and low fat snack that was much less expensive than buying the beef jerky in the stores. Also by making the snack yourself you can control the amount of sodium that goes in it as well as the spices used.

Dinner Recipe

Incorporating more whole foods into your nightly dinner routine will make you feel more energized, plus there are plenty of ways to make something that’s good for you in the same time it takes to whip up a box of mac and cheese.


I love cooking. Cooking relaxes me, it soothes me, and it makes me feel capable. Not everyone is the same though. For some people, cooking and trying to decide what to cook just makes them feel anxious and stressed out. I know some people who dread the end of the day because it means that they have to try to decide what to feed their family. Many of them resort to convenient, packaged meals because it requires little thought. Let’s face it, we all do that once in awhile. But packaged meals don’t present the most healthy or balanced food options and using them on a regular basis is not the best idea. There are many dinner recipes that can take away the anxiety by presenting you with simple and easy meals.

Most family cooks are mainly concerned with finding fast and easy dinner recipes that the entire family will love. They’d prefer to come home at the end of the day and find a fully cooked meal on the table but that’s not overly realistic. What is realistic is the many recipes that can be found that will make your life easier. If you choose to buy a cook book (either in a book store or in one of the many online book stores), look for a book that uses simple ingredients that you would use everyday anyway. If you have no idea what cumin is, don’t buy “The Cumin Lover’s 100 Easy Dinner Recipes” book because they likely won’t be easy for you. I love to use my crock pot so I enjoy different crock pot recipe books or books that have an entire crock pot section.

If you are in a rush and need a dinner recipe using something specific – let’s say chicken breasts – there are many free recipes on line that can help you with your meal. Within only a couple minutes you can find recipes for several chicken dinners. In less than a minute I found a recipe for a chicken casserole (which I highly recommend because it means only one pot to wash afterwards!), chicken stir fry, and chicken fingers. All of these dinner recipes are easy to prepare and have a minimum number of ingredients.

While you are looking at dinner recipes, you’ll find other useful information online as well. You can find sites that will help you to plan meals (which sounds like a lot of work but will take away the need to look for recipes at the last minute), keep your kitchen sanitary, and prevent health risks.

Dinner recipes do not have to be extravagant or have a zillion ingredients. In fact, by finding about ten tried and true recipes, you can make your evenings simpler and more relaxed. Once you are comfortable with these recipes, you’ll soon be looking for more to challenge yourself with.

Potato Salad

When we think of summer, we think of picnics, barbeques and fun family times. One favorite summertime food is potato salad. It has been around forever, and everyone will swear that they have the one “true” recipe for making this hearty salad. While everyone’s tastes are different, everyone can agree that a picnic without potato salad is like a trip to the beach without a Frisbee. With potatoes being the world’s leading vegetable crop, it is not surprising to learn that, on the average, one United States citizen consumes 140 pounds of potatoes in a single year. You can believe that Americans are not indulging in just baked potatoes alone; they are enjoying potato salad by the ton!

This meat-and-potato dish gets big flavor from a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar and creamy tahini. That earthy mixture beautifully coats bacon and scallions that are then tossed with the mild chicken and creamy potatoes for a scrumptious, warm entree salad.


There are numerous ways to make potato salad and thousands of recipes from which to choose. There are German, Italian, Caribbean Sweet, Deli and French versions all with their own special twist added to the recipe. Resourceful individuals will be able to even find a recipe for Soul Food potato salad. All potato salad has one thing in common of course, the potatoes. Some prefer to use red bliss potatoes, while others prefer to use chopped up baking potatoes.

There are a variety of different ingredients that can be used when you are preparing a big bowl to take to a picnic or for a day at the beach. Some common ingredients are eggs, celery, onions and pickles. Some of the more unique items that have been thrown into potato salad are corn, bacon, apples, sour cream, green beans, garlic and sugar.

The consistency of it varies as well. It truly depends on individual taste but many people swear by chunky potato salad, where the boiled potatoes are chopped into bite size chunks. Many gourmet restaurants and diners also serve a whipped version which can feature other vegetables as well as fragrant cheeses. Potato salad is enjoyed both hot as well as cold, and can be used as a side dish or enjoyed as a meal all by itself. Some chefs prefer to dress up their potato salad a bit with garnishes. Commonly used garnishes include parsley, scallions and sliced cherry tomatoes.

If the idea of getting into the kitchen and concocting your own bowl of this favorite is a bit overwhelming luckily it isn’t hard to find store bought versions. Most grocery stores now have deli sections which feature an array of almost homemade salads. You can buy a tub of potato salad there and dress it up with a few sprigs of parsley. No one will be the wiser that you didn’t spend hours making it. Your corner deli will also have a tasty version of potato salad for you to purchase.

No matter your preference: hot or cold, chunky or creamy, a tasty potato salad will always be a favorite among the masses. It makes a great side dish as well as a hearty midnight snack.