Janet's Notebook
Crock Pot Recipes Will Save Time in the Kitchen

Crock Pot Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Crock pot recipes have been a staple in my kitchen for years. I've said it before, but it can be your best friend on a busy day.

I was having a conversation the other day with someone who was just given their first crock pot. She was looking for easy crock pot recipes and I definitely had a few I could suggest.

With Easter coming soon, I know I always search for ways to use extra ham. I've already pinched Angie Robinson's (Findlay, OH) Crock Pot Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham for that reason. "I grew up loving scalloped potatoes and ham," explains Angie. "My kicked up creamier version uses evaporated milk which gives a sweeter taste and goes well with the ham."

Angie does include a basic version of her recipe too, but I would suggest going with the kicked up version. It's so creamy with just the right amount of cheesiness. Add a side salad and you have a very easy meal and a great use for leftover ham.

"I came up with this Crock Pot - Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe," shares Cindy Dozier (Kansas, OK). "My family loved it - it's easy as the crock pot does most of the work."

The chicken is moist and flavorful from all the spices with a hint of heat from the Creole seasoning. The red peppers give it a bit of sweetness and crunch while the mushrooms add a nice earthiness flavor. This is a fantastic and easy pasta dinner recipe your family will love!

Stefanie Rowell's (Kenai, AK) Cheesy-Green-Chili-Chicken Crock Pot Enchiladas are so easy to assemble and great to transport if you're bringing dinner to a friend. "These enchiladas are hearty and filling," says Stefanie. "Alaska can be cold and windy, and we are always wanting something hot and comforting to combat the chill in the air."

We didn't find this enchilada recipe too spicy - just the right combination of flavors. If you like things on the spicier side, use a hot salsa and add a tad more chili powder. You can save time by purchasing a rotisserie chicken at the store and shredding the chicken. Everything melds together and makes one great meal.

"In an effort to get a great meal when I am working or have stuff to do, I find myself using my crock pot a lot," states Judy Wisniewski (Pennsauken, NJ). "The store had eye roast on sale but because it is a lean roast I often find it a bit tough. Not this time - it was fork tender and tasted delish."

Judy's Tasty Crock Pot Eye Roast is the perfect example of how crock pot cooking can be so good. Meats really have time to become soft and tender, so you can save money and buy a more inexpensive cut of meat.

And is Judy's roast recipe ever tasty! Coffee, red wine, soy sauce and seasoning cook down and the outcome is a fork tender roast. This is an impressive meal and no one needs to know how easy it is to make.

Sheila Kremer's (Tyndall, SD) Loaded Nacho Dip is literally loaded with all kinds of texture and flavor. "[This recipe] is always the first to go at get-togethers," says Sheila. "If there's any left the next day, it's great over scrambled eggs or baked potatoes."

I love a recipe that can reinvent leftovers. The nacho dip is full of ground meat and yummy bacon. The onions are cooked with the meat mixture so they are nice and soft. This dip makes a lot, so it would be perfect for a crowd. If you use a cooking liner like Sheila suggests, your cleanup will be a breeze.

The one thing about crock pot recipes is they are easy. You can make appetizers, main meals, and even dessert! Check out Karen McCall's (Mt. Vernon, IL) creamy Cheesecake in Your Crock Pot recipe when you can (trust me!). If you're a beginner or a master cook, this week get out your crock pot and create something tasty. Happy Pinching!

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