The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How to get many meals from a crockpot cook up.

Yesterday Andy made it home before I did. He said when he pulled into the carport he could smell casserole cooking and he came in and lifted the lid to see chicken casserole. When I came home I could smell chicken casserole before I even opened the garage door!

This is life with a crock pot. Dinner is done when you are tired. You are greeted by the smell of dinner as if someone kind has made it for you. Bliss.

Now I might do this with chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, mince even...  and I will give those variations over time. This is a farmhouse style chicken casserole with variations and it is a great stew or casserole and on the first night you could serve it with rice or mashed potato or even a bread roll, as you would a stew. It is really good.

I brown nothing before using the crockpot. I just never have. The recipe is roughly a kilo or more chicken, I had breast I sliced each one twice, 2 or 3 onions chopped, a few sticks of celery chopped, a can of drained corn, about four carrots chopped.... and what ever other vegies you think. I had a bunch of sad broccoli so I chopped that and in it went. Sprinkle over pepper. Add 1 can cream of chicken soup or you could use 2 cups chicken broth or make it with stock cubes. (At the end taste and adjust seasonings to your liking).
Stir. Let it go all day. Try and stir it once or twice along the way at least. It cooks to be so tender. Really you can add whatever you want!

Now after dinner I make the rest into pies. I would never cook a crock pot for one meal. Load it up and get five or six meals, depending on the size of your family of course.

To make pies I simply use frozen puff pastry. If you make pastry then make a big lot ready to go. I always keep pastry in the freezer as so many things can be made into a handy pie.

I make family size and individual size pies. I have a large muffin/texas muffin tray and this makes a great sized pie. If you freeze them you have a quick meal anytime. 

Whatever your container spray oil it and line with pastry. I just cut squares and make them fit, I work fast no fuss. This tray is for Chloe. One side I have topped with pastry and one side I topped with mashed potato and cheese. This gives two quite different pies. If I know pies are coming up I will have mashed potato or sweet potato in a meal in the last couple of nights, I'll do extra so it is ready. 

There are so many ways to decorate a pie. You can use a biscuit cutter and cut shapes to add to the top. I roll up any left over strips and make a rose and cut some little leaves... pop them on. When they bake they look lovely. Get the kids to make all the scraps into decorations and poke a few holes. 

If I am giving a pie as a gift I will try to make it look nice. This takes seconds once you have done a couple.

If you have really little kids making pies in a regular muffin tray or even a mini one is very handy, plus they look so sweet and you get so many portions! I have made a family size one for Lucy as her husband eats a lot and individual ones for Chloe. Picking them up has attracted them both over tonight I note :)

I love pies as they freeze well and are a complete meal in a neat package. They are a great way to deliver a meal to someone.

You can reduce the pastry if you use little individual casserole dishes and add pastry only to the top making "pot pies" or use no pastry and top with potato and cheese. This is yum and browns well looking equally good. I do some of each and then your cook up has produced a few different meals. Since your pie filling is cooked already you just cook your pies until the pastry or topping looks golden like you want it. If it is to be re heated I under brown it a little so the second time it will finish.

It's lovely to have a cook up, so easy with the crock pot and to have a series of meals from one day. I wrap and label the ones for the freezer. I love having a heap of meals in there. If I was sick or we had no money for a week there are enough meals to see us through. This is like money in the bank.


  1. HI Annabel, these pies look delicious! I'm just wondering if you freeze them before you cook them or after? I'm thinking lunches for myself this winter, now that I work from home...
    Another fantastic idea!


    1. Little Moo thank you. You could do either. I tend to cook them as then I am thawing and re heating which is a bit quicker than thawing and cooking. But if you do this cook them lightly so they don't end up too brown on re heating. But really either way is fine and they freeze well. If you have cooked them you could just microwave re heat for quick lunches, this might be good for you working at home. I will follow up with other kinds of pies like beef and lamb so you will end up with a whole variety! xxx

  2. These look exquisite Annabel. How is it that everything you touch breathes 'pretty'?

    1. Thanks Mimi! Sometimes I am "pretty messy" as well! You are such a wonderful cook I think this is a big compliment.xxxx

  3. Thanks, Annabel. I will make some of these pies when I have suitable leftovers. DS 5 is now eating 2 breakfasts and second helpings at dinner, and I've struggled to adapt! Looks like I'm cooking for 4 now...


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