Crockpot Maple-Glazed Walnuts

The countdown is coming to a close. Christmas is coming in just a few days. I’m already looking forward to the food, family, and fellowship. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that no holiday is complete without some nuts. Whether it’s quirky cousin Larry, or the edible kind. These are the nuts you want. Trust me, you want these walnuts at your festivities. They’re A-mazing. As soon as I had them spread out and drying, mouths were watering. At least half of them disappeared before packaging. The pilfering was getting a little out of control. I had to put them up. For the kids sake, as well as my own. I don’t even like walnuts all that much, and I could have easily eaten the entire batch. But I didn’t. (You have no idea the amount of self control that required)

Is there a foodie in your life? In your family? If you can resist the temptation to gobble them all up, give them as a gift of love (that’s sure to be a hit). That or bring a batch to share at the table. On second thought, bring two batches. They certainly won’t last long.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Maple Glazed Walnuts

These are my new addiction. Sprinkle them over ice cream for a dessert that is to die for.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Maple Glazed Walnuts 2

recipe adapted from Vegan In The Freezer

1 lb bag of shelled walnuts, whole or halved
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Put the butter, syrup, and vanilla into your crockpot. Turn on low and allow the butter to melt completely (only takes a few minutes).
2. Mix in the walnuts and mix from the bottom so all of the coating is all over the walnuts and not on the bottom of the pot.
3. Cook on low 1 hour then stir. Cook another one half hour to one hour more.
4. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool – completely.
5. Pack in an airtight container. The walnuts will keep in the fridge about 6 weeks and will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.

Crockpot Pizza Dip

Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving. Millions of people run around like chickens with their heads cut off, scouring stores for great deals and irresistibly good prices. Occasionally, myself included.

That being said, I have a minor obsession with the day after Thanksgiving for a different reason. In our home, that’s the day we go to the tree farm and carefully pick out and cut down our Christmas tree for the year. We roast marshmallows, we sip apple cider, and then we load up and head home to deck our halls. It’s one of my favorite days of the entire year. It’s also typically a big production, and I don’t want to waste a minute I don’t have to on anything else, including dinner. So usually that day, dinner is a fend for yourself night, or a snack supper. Last year, I made this recipe as part of our snack selection, and I am happy to say it will be returning again this evening. Easy for me, and a total kid favorite. Happy Mom, Happy Sons. All is merry & bright.

Whether you’ve been out fighting the crowds and shopping until you drop, you’re too busy bringing in the good cheer, or you’re hosting a family & friends this appetizer is sure to please your hungry crowd with hardly any effort at all on your part.

Crockpot Pizza Dip

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Pizza Dip

recipe adapted from Real House Moms

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar (8 oz) pizza sauce, or you can substitute spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup diced pepperoni slices
1 /2 cup cooked, crumbled sausage (optional)

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for about 1 hour.
2. Once all ingredients are melted and stirred to combine, turn crockpot down to warm.
3. Serve warm with crusty bread slices.

{Crockpot} Perfect Baked Potatoes

It may come as a surprise in 2013 when everyone has gadgets and gizmos, whose-its and what’s-its galore for everything, but we don’t use, own, and probably couldn’t even operate a microwave. While I love a hearty baked potato, I’ve never had good luck making them in the oven. They’re either overdone, or more often than not, underdone and then I’m left checking them every 10 minutes until they’re cooked through. Meanwhile, with burns on my fingers and a growling stomach, everyone else has already finished eating every other scrap of their dinner. Hopefully, by this time the potatoes would finally be done. When a friend mentioned making them in the crockpot, I believe I said, ‘No Way!’

Yes, way! Every single time, my baked potatoes come out perfect. Hence, the name. There’s no longer any guess work involved and I can easily plan ahead, get them going, and set to be finished and edible when I’m ready to serve dinner. Added bonus: 1. I save money since I no longer need to heat up the oven. The general rule of thumb is that 8 hours in the crockpot only uses half the heat of 1 hour in the oven. 2. This same technique works great for sweet potatoes too! Loaded sweet potatoes have now become a new fall favorite of mine.

{Crockpot} Perfect Baked Potatoes

4 Sons 'R' Us: {Crockpot} Perfect Baked Potatoes

  • russet, yukon gold, or sweet potatoes (you don’t want to fill your crock pot more than 3/4 of the way full to prevent under/over cooking between the potatoes on top and the ones on the bottom)
  • olive oil (optional)
  • salt & black pepper, to taste (optional)
  • aluminum foil

Directions

  1. Wash and scrub your potatoes thoroughly. Remove any eyes or bad spots if necessary. Let the skins dry before proceeding (only takes a few minutes).
  2. Prick each potato with a fork 6-8 times per potato. Do NOT skip this step! The holes allow steam to escape as they cook. Exploded baked potato isn’t fun to eat or clean up.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil onto each potato. Using your hands, rub into the skin all over the potato. Repeat for each potato. You can omit this step, but I like the extra crunchy skins the olive oil creates.
  4. Salt and pepper, to taste, the skins of the potatoes.
  5. Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil, sealing them up tightly.
  6. Place the wrapped potatoes in the slow cooker, foil seam side up. There’s no need to grease the crock pot or add any liquids. Cook them ‘dry’.
  7. Cook them on low for 8 hours, or until tender when pressed with fingers. Slow cooker times may vary a little.
  8. Remove the potatoes. Remove the foil. Cut a slit in the top along the center of each potato to open them up, and serve with topping of your choice.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Baked Potatoes4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Baked Potatoes 2

Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

I’m always on the lookout for new things to do with ground beef. I buy two 6 lb packages of lean ground beef each month from Costco. One gets divided into 1lb packages to freeze and use for meals. The other gets divided and made into meatloaf and meatballs. My boys love meatballs with their spaghetti. They love meatball subs. But, that’s about as adventurous as they were willing to be when it came to the sacred ‘meatball’. That was until this recipe. They loved it. The sweet and sour sauce was rich and delicious. I love it when I can get fruit into any meal. They devoured it and asked for more.

These are by far, the BEST crock pot meatballs I’ve ever had. They’re simple. They’re easy. They’re filling. AND they’re budget friendly! All of which made this recipe a keeper for a busy Mom with a boat-load of growing boys to feed.

Really, this is a must try. No longer are meatballs only for Italian-style dishes. Or the typical, tried and true, bland crock pot ‘cocktail’ style recipes that have been done countless times before.

Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

 

recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • 32 oz of pre-packaged frozen meatballs or about 2 lbs of frozen, homemade meatballs
  • 13.5 oz can of unsweetened pineapple chunks, drain and reserve juice
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

  1. Place meatballs in crock pot and top with green pepper and drained pineapple chunks.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and soy sauce.
  3. Pour sauce over meatballs, pineapple and green peppers.
  4. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.
  5. Serve over cooked white rice.