Creative Slow-Cooker Meals

I cook it, Amoeba eats it.  Lately I have been cooking two crock pots at a time!  That doesn’t mean we have been eating twice as much, but we have been eating twice as good!

When my schedule gets busy I’ve always relied on a a couple of favorite crock pot soup recipes.  I also have crock pot recipes I prefer for roasting beef, pork and chicken, but until I discovered Cheryl Moeller’s cookbook, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals: Use Two Slow Cookers for Tasty and Easy Dinners, I only used multiple crock pots on my holiday buffet table.

Many of the recipes in Moeller’s book are actually brilliant suggestions.  Do you have trouble keeping enough tortillas warm and at hand when you’re serving your favorite Mexican dish?  Then check out page 175 and marvel at how easy the solution is.  If  you’re like my sister-in-law and don’t care to eat food that’s been simmering in a pot all day, this cook book is still for you.  Many of the recipes have 2 to 4 hour cook times.  Some even cook in an hour or less.

And did you know you can bake homemade bread in your crock pot? This weekend I will be baking whole wheat bread using the recipe on page 180.   I’ll let Amoeba pick dessert, Apple Upside Down Cake (p. 246),  Caramel Baked Apples (p.224) or maybe the Molten Lava Pudding (p. 253) from the gluten free section.

My new favorite crock pot recipe can be found on page 228.  It is Hungarian Goulash, and we scarfed it down with crock pot baked biscuits.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the Spaghetti recipe on page 138.   I guess what I am trying to say is, this isn’t a recipe book that will spend a lot of time languishing on the shelf.  It’ll be working in the kitchen.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:



and the book:


Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Cheryl Moeller is a seasoned mother and a standup comic. She is also a syndicated columnist with her own blog ( and contributes monthly to several online parent websites. Cheryl has coauthored two books on marriage with her husband and has written for and Marriage Partnership. Cheryl does comedy for parenting classes, MOPS groups, wedding or baby showers, church retreats, women’s conferences, and those in line at the grocery store.

Visit the author’s website.


From the celebrated coauthor of The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:

  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp

… and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Spiral-bound: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736944915

ISBN-13: 978-0736944915

AND NOW…THE FIFTH CHAPTER (click on pages to enlarge):













The Christian Community Women’s Luncheon

Was a success! Everything went without a hitch and the ladies say they had a great time.

Around 55 people attended this year’s CCWL. I was the kitchen facilitator, so all things food fell to my leadership. I am not a micro-manager, as their usual leader is. Many of the women liked having more freedom, but a few of them didn’t. Even so, we all worked together well.

I let the table crew, Gloria, Mary and April, set up and decorate tables. They picked the color-scheme and decorations and had a blast. They also did a lovely job using live tulips and pansies and bright spring colored table clothes.

For lunch we served various salads and asked the women of our church to drop off assorted nice serving bowls (we had 7 tables and served lunch family style at each one). I appointed the table committee to sort the bowls and decide which ones went together for each table. My job was to make the salads and fill the bowls. I had a couple of kitchen helpers. April and Mary also did dishes and kept the coffee and tea pots filled. Peter — the only man in attendance — was my assistant cook and he made the most incredibly gorgeous fruit trays. Pam was in charge of baking the dinner rolls and Kathy put the dessert buffet together. Irene and Candy helped where needed with set up and clean up. All of us did some of the cooking at home and brought things in for salad assembly Tuesday afternoon.

The main meal consisted of Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad (my recipe), Parmesan Pea Salad (Candy’s recipe), and Molded Cranberry Salad (Irene’s recipe). All were great hits. Pastor slipped in the back door and made himself a plate. He had no wish to make an appearance at the lady’s luncheon, but he’d heard there was chicken salad in the kitchen and wanted “a taste”. He took a tiny bit and went to his office — then came back and filled his plate. He now has a standing order for chicken salad whenever I make it.

After the luncheon was over half the women at the banquet flooded into the kitchen to help. That’s how church women are. At one point I said, “Excuse me” to Irene and there was no where for her to move. She said, “What do you want?” And I said, “Since you asked, I think about three more women in the kitchen would be nice.” Irene looked quite startled. Across the room April said, “You know, I think you are right. There are still a few women in the Fellowship Hall. Why don’t we call them in here?” Then Irene said, “Well, if you think the kitchen is too crowded, you could go home and get out of the way of the clean up crew. Your job is over.” I finished packing the fruit to freeze and did just that.

I was in the kitchen from 9:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. My feet aren’t used to that any more and they wanted me to sit down! Instead I came home, grabbed some orders and delivered Avon.


Quilly’s Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad

  • 10 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 5 celery ribs, diced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard

Stir together chopped cooked chicken; celery ribs, diced; green onions, thinly sliced; toasted pecans; sweetened dried cranberries; mayonnaise; and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill up to 3 days.


Candy’s Parmesan Pea Salad

  • 2 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen petite peas
  • ½ C celery, chopped
  • 2 T green onions, sliced
  • ½ C sunflower seeds
  • ½ C grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream

Mix all ingredients. The frozen peas will cool the other ingredients, but it will need a bit of time for them to defrost before it can be served.


Irene’s Molded Cranberry Salad

  • 6 oz. pkg raspberry Jello
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 16 oz can cranberry sauce (whole or jellied, but whole adds texture)
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • ½ C grape juice (or red wine)
  • ¼ C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple & grape juice. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into mold or 9×13″ dish until set.

I’ve Given It All Away!

The prize:

Insulated lunch bag, sandwich makeover recipe booklet, and $3.75 in meat, cheese and mayo coupons provided by's Kraft Foods Ultimate Sandwich Makeover House Party™.

Four people entered my second chance drawing for this wonderful insulated lunch sack, a sandwich recipe booklet, and the $3.75 cents worth of coupons. (First drawing here: Lunch at Quilly’s.)   Two of the coupons ($1.50 All Natural Big Cheese; $1.50 Oven Roasted Carving Board Meats) were worth about 50% of the product’s original purchase price. The third coupon is for 75 cents off a bottle of deli spiced mayonnaise. Good stuffs.

The Contenders:

Mama Zen’s: Make Your Own (And Keep Your Hands Off Mine!) Sandwich
Kraft Carving Board Roast Beef, a slice of cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, and the Horseradish Dijon.

Tilden’s: Speecy – Spicy Ham Sammich
Seeded rye bread, toasted liberally spread the Sandwich Shop Horseradish and Dijon mayo on the toast. Add some Kraft Big Slice pepper Jack and melt under the broiler. Add some crisp iceberg lettuce, thin sliced red onion and thin sliced beefsteak tomato. Finally top with Oscar Mayer Carving Board Ham and the other piece of toast.

Stacy Lynn’s: Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Homemade bread spread with Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo’s garlic & herb flavor. Add Oscar Mayer’s Carving Board ham, one large slice of tomato (sandwich size), then Kraft Big Slice Swiss cheese. Spread outside of sandwich with garlic butter and sprinkle with basil then toast till golden and cheese is melty.

Church Lady’s: Ham & Cheese Pretzel Roll Melt
A pretzel roll spread with the horseradish dijon, then topped with the Oscar Myer ham and a slice of Kraft Swiss cheese (toast lightly to melt cheese).

The Winner:

Mama Zen!

Send me your mailing address
and I will get your wonderful insulated lunch sack
and these great, money saving coupons
out to you in the next mail.

I’m Giving It All Away!

If you read Lunch at Quilly’s thoroughly then you know you were invited to enter a drawing and win this:

Insulated lunch bag, sandwich makeover recipe booklet, and $3.75 in meat, cheese and mayo coupons provided by's Kraft Foods Ultimate Sandwich Makeover House Party™.

Three people entered the drawing for this wonderful insulated lunch sack, a sandwich recipe booklet, and the $3.75 cents worth of coupons. Two of the coupons ($1.50 All Natural Big Cheese; $1.50 Oven Roasted Carving Board Meats) were worth about 50% of the product’s original purchase price. The third coupon is for 75 cents off a bottle of deli spiced mayonnaise. Good stuffs.

Tilden’s Hotsy-Totsy entry:
7 grain bread, the Sandwich Shop Hot and Spicy mayo, Kraft pepper jack big cheese slices, Kraft Carving Board roast beef or Kraft Carving Board ham. To all of that I would add field greens, beefsteak tomato, dill sandwich slices and black olive.

Church Lady’s Spicy Turkey Melt:
Open face Peppridge Farm Sandwich Thins, spread with Chipotle Kraft Mayo, then topped with Carving Board turkey. Top the turkey with a juicy slice of tomato, then add a slice of Kraft Pepper Jack cheese THEN….lightly toast to melt the cheese. Yumo.

Beth’s Breakfast Bliss:
I would chop up some of the ham and scramble it into srambled eggs with chopped onion, tomato, jalapeno and shredded cheddar, pepper jack, and Colby cheeses. Take a whole grain tortilla (warmed) and spread chiplotle mayo and guacamole on the tortilla. Lay the eggs down the center. Top with salsa and a bit more shredded cheese. Roll it up and serve burrito style.

If you just finished reading those recipes I know you’re hungry!  Don’t you wish you’d have entered the drawing?  Well guess what, you can!  I have yet another insulated lunch bag and set of coupons to giveaway.  Unfortunately, Beth won’t be able to enter this giveaway — that’s because she’s already won this one! — However, Church Lady and Tilden are invited to try again with different sandwich recipes.  Be sure to read the rules.

Here’s a list of products available with the coupons:

  • Oscar Mayer Carving Board Meats — turkey, chicken, ham, roast beef.
  • Kraft Big Slice Cheeses — Pepper Jack, Cheddar, Swiss, Colby (all natural and reduced fat choices)
  • Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo — Olive Oil & Cracked Pepper, Chipotle, Garlic & Herb, Horseradish Dijon, Hot & Spicy

Happy sandwich making!  Oh, and congrats, Beth!



Ice Cream & Vinegar

I bet you just cringed. There is no way you’re going to take a perfectly good bowl of ice cream and douse it in vinegar. Too bad. You don’t know what you’re missing!

Of course I am not talking about any old ordinary vinegar. This stuff is special and tasty enough to drink right out of the bottle. I know you don’t believe me so I’m going to show you the labels on the bottles.

See! I told you so! And I’m going to tell you more:

When my friends were here for the sandwich party we used a bit of the Cherry Balsamic vinegar as dip for our fresh fruit.  It was heavenly on the pineapple!   And for dinner tonight Amoeba and I enjoyed a mixed baby greens salad with dried cranberries, pecans, and Cherry Balsamic vinegar.  We loved it.  Last week we had spinach salads, as suggested, and that was yummy, too.

Now, back to the ice cream — night before last I put just a splash, maybe a half teaspoonful of the White Balsamic Vinegar with Peach on my half cup of ice cream.  It was yummy.  Tonight I got adventurous and mixed a teaspoonful of Special Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Sauce with a teaspoonful of the White Balsamic Vinegar with Peach and drizzled that over my ice cream.  My taste buds danced with joy.

If you are interested in trying these vinegars for yourself, visit Rhonda at  You’ll notice she has a long line of products.  Stay tuned because I have just started talking about them and I have lots more to say!