You know what I love? My Crock Pot. I know I've mentioned this before too. The funny thing is my mom bought me my first one about 7+ years ago and at that time I was adamant that I didn't need one nor would I ever use it. Fast forward to circa 2012 and I discovered that it's the only way I want to cook! Of course, that's not always practical. On many occasions I have left the office midday to go home to start dinner in it and then head back to the office. Thankfully I live close by. However, it's not easy to break away from my desk sometimes so I found that cooking in my Crock Pot became my Sunday dinner goal. Personally, I find it heart warming to come in and out of my place on Sunday in between church, visiting family, or other errands to the aroma of what's cooking all day long. Maybe I find home cooking aromas sentimental?
Anyway, well the tides have turned in a favorable way now that the loved one gave me the Wemo Wi-Fi enabled Crock Pot for Christmas. God bless that man for buying me kitchen toys that I won't splurge on for myself. The Wemo Crock Pot is great because you can start it remotely from an app on your phone, adjust the cook time and temperature if needed, or stop it altogether. Downsides would be the Crock Pot may turn off if your Wi-Fi cuts out, so I just check the app periodically to see it's progress. It's love I tell you.
A couple of weekends ago I used this bad boy to prepare dinner for the loved one, knowing I wouldn't be home all day. In full confession it was a Monday because I had Monday off for Labor Day, but that just means it was like a Sunday. In 10 minutes time I had everything chopped and placed into the Crock Pot, left my place, and started it from my phone an hour later to cook for 8 hours. Genius. This left me with ample time when I got home later in the day to prepare riced cauliflower, bread and the desserts I decided to add last minute (literally) based on the ingredients I had in stock. I made the following: Cajun chicken and shrimp, riced cauliflower, coconut flour bread, crust-less pumpkin pie, and banana pumpkin ice cream. ALL PALEO.
I've used the recipe for Crock Pot Cajun Chicken and Shrimp by Miss Diggy for four years now. Every single time I've made it it has been a HUGE hit. My dinner patrons have always raved about it. The best part is that it requires so little prep time! Well, I've been eating Paleo for a while now and recently adhering to the Whole 30 regimen (except yes, I drink alcohol still so I cheat) so this time I made it without adding the sugar it calls for. In fact, I haven't added sugar to it since the first time I made it. It doesn't need it!. But, you know what's funny?!?!? I actually thought it tasted really sweet this time! I guess my taste buds have adjusted after the Whole 30 experience because the only thing that could have caused that is the red bell pepper.
Instead of serving this with rice, which I have in the past, I riced cauliflower in my food processor and then sauteed it with ZERO oil in my new copper pan. #Winning Cauliflower naturally has a lot of water in it so it was easy for it to soften up to a rice-like texture as it heated up. The infomercial for the Copper Chef pan DID NOT lie. I've prepared eggs and meats in this thing too. Love it.
On to the good stuff...or better stuff. RECIPES! I'm going to list this in order of how I prepared them so you can also see how I accomplish all of these things so quickly. Time management + multi-tasking = a full spread dinner menu. He's a lucky man.
Paleo Crock Pot Cajun Chicken and Shrimp: follow this recipe linked here, but omit the added sugar. Also, be careful of the Cajun Seasoning you use because some have sugar added to it. I have made this before using chicken breasts too but tend to use chicken thighs. It cooks in the Crock Pot for 8-10 hours. When preparing for 2 people I only cut the meat quantity in half, all other ingredient portions remain the same, and then I usually have 1-2 servings remaining for left overs.
The following items I prepared within the last 1.5-2 hours before dinner was to be served.
Coconut Flour Bread: You can prepare this in the last hour or two of your meal being finished in the Crock Pot. It takes 35-40 minutes to bake. You may be tired of me mentioning this recipe so I won't detail out the recipe again but will note again that I do not add the honey to it. You can review it in my two previous posts about it. But, rest assured two things: 1) you will not be disappointed and 2) if I have 6 eggs and coconut flour, I'm making this bread again and again as a compliment to many meals.
Riced Cauliflower: Once the bread was in the oven, I riced the cauliflower as it was the main compliment to serve with the entree. I wanted to make sure to have this done and out of the way. This is so simple it's crazy. Wash your cauliflower and cut off the florets. Place them into a food processor and pulse it on the chop setting until you get a rice like texture. Wait until the meal is finished cooking to saute your riced cauliflower or it will get soggy. Crock Pots shift automatically to a warm setting plus retain heat so do not worry about how long it takes to heat up the riced cauliflower (which isn't long). Cauliflower naturally has a lot of water in it so you do not need to add oil if sauteing in a nonstick pan. You can saute with a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil if you do not have a non-stick pan.
With the riced cauliflower ready to saute, I left it sitting and WAITING to saute until the Crock Pot entree timer was finished. Now on to the DESSERT portion of the menu...
Knowing I had over an hour left before the loved one was due to arrive and that the man loves desserts, I literally thought to myself, "What fall-themed dessert can I throw together using pumpkin?" Have I mentioned he's a lucky man? I'm quick on my toes. I remembered this Crustless Pumpkin Pie I made for Thanksgiving last year for my gluten intolerant sister. It was a hit! Well, I also knew that cutting this recipe in half for the two of us meant I had extra pumpkin. I simply COULD NOT let the pumpkin go to waste. So, I also whipped up my next easy go-to dessert: Paleo banana and pumpkin "ice cream".
Paleo Banana and Pumpkin "Ice Cream": This is a no-brainer if you have bananas. You'd be bananas not to make banana "ice cream". ;) There are a bunch of ways to make this once you puree the bananas. You can add whatever you want into it and freeze it. I've used just bananas. I've added Greek Yogurt, or almond butter, vanilla extract, and pumpkin. This evening I pureed two bananas in the food processor, added 1/2 can of pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and cinnamon (to your taste preference). That's it! I pushed it to the back of the freezer and crossed my fingers it would freeze in time.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie: Once the "ice cream" was in the freezer doing it's thing, I focused on the pumpkin pie. I followed this recipe linked here but divided everything into two and I only had lite coconut milk on hand so just went with it! It still turned out great, though I suspect it would have been even better with the full fat coconut milk like last year's. I let the pie cool off to room temperature this particular evening (or really just whenever we finished dinner) and then served it. I didn't follow the full instructions like I did last year to also refrigerate it for 2 hours. Who has that kind of time?
Finally, as an honorable mention for my creativity with using what I have on hand, I did attempt** to whip up a coconut milk whipping cream. It was a fail. You can't make whipped coconut milk successfully with lite coconut milk. At least I couldn't and that's also what I read online, but I figured it was worth a shot anyway. So what did I do next just for presentation right before serving it while the loved one waited patiently with wine? I whipped up egg whites to make a meringue and broiled it for color, then drizzled honey on it for the loved one. It was pretty, but ehhhh. I didn't add any sweetener to the meringue itself, so while it made the presentation pretty it really didn't add anything to the pie itself. He really liked the pie, but preferred it without the meringue. You win some, you lose some right?
I hope you try these recipes sometime and would love suggestions if you have any on dishes you've had success with. Enjoy & please share this page with your friends!