Menu 6- Dust off that Crock Pot for Five Dinners that "Work It" while you Work... or Play!

Today, I did it.  I really did it.  I joined the Crock Pot craze...
and reverted to my youth! fashion, everything old really is new again.

And as I stood in the line to pay at Target, I couldn't help but think of watching I Love Lucy and her antics (Vitameatavegamin! ;-)  And June Cleaver, and 60's and 70's (when the Crock Pot was invented) women everywhere.  With beehive hairdos and ruffled aprons, yelling at misbehaving children, "wait until your father gets home!" And where the highlight of the day was getting a home cooked meal on the table- every day, in red lipstick, and pearls!

Yes, I was born a century (or two) too late.

But Crock Pot cooking doesn't have to include Cream of Mushroom Soup, BBQ, Pot Roast or Stove Top Stuffing. Crock Pots really can be the new black when it comes to healthy, creative, gourmet and SIMPLE cooking!

Here's a week of meals sure to comfort your heart and soul, 2011 style...

Bon Appétit, my sweets!

Monday: Coq Au Vin Stew  with Mashed Celery Root
Notes: Celery Root is a great substitute for potatoes.  Prepare it the same way by boiling until tender and mash in food processor or with hand blender (make sure and get out all the lumps!).  Add heavy cream, butter, kosher salt and pepper and some dried Italian seasoning adds a nice flavor.  Sprinkle all with some minced flat leaf parsley.

Note: The Collards are vegetarian, but feel free to add some bacon... which makes ANYTHING better!

Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Country Ribs, Oven Baked Carrot Fries and Chef Di's Salad w/Ranch, Craisons and Peas
Note: For the salad, I use the Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Packet.  Make the night before if you want it very thick!  Wash and tear a head of red or green leaf lettuce in bite-size pieces and add in craisons and defrosted frozen baby peas to taste... I like a lot!

Thursday: Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Roasted Fennel and Grape Tomatoes
Note:  For the fennel, slice in thin rounds and place on baking sheet.  Top with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes.  For the tomatoes, you can easily roast them on the same pan with the fennel.  Just cut in half, season with salt and pepper and drizzle on olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.  Simple!

Note: I use lettuce leafs instead of tortillas for a low carb meal- try it, you won't miss it!