Too Busy to Cook: A Teacher's Life

NCTE-Talkies Present

"Too Busy to Cook :  A Teacher's Life"

Quick ideas for days you wish you had a full-time chef at your house

Click on a recipe link and get cooking directions !

Sweet and Sour Shrimp (20 minutes prep & cook)  by Monica B. (Massachusetts)

Shopping list:

  • Reynolds Hot Bags or heavy-duty aluminum foil,
  • 1 pound medium uncooked shrimp,
  • 1 can pineapple chunks,
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts,
  • 1 whole white onion (or a bag of prechopped onion from the bagged salad section),
  • 1 whole red pepper (or 6-8 rings from supermarket salad bar),
  • brownulated brown sugar (pours easily),
  • stick butter,
  • Old Bay seafood seasoning,
  • lemon or lemon juice,
  • Success boil-in-bag rice.
  1. Oven 375 degrees.
  2. A Reynolds Hot Bag or a large square of heavy-duty foil.
  3. On foil, place shrimp in a single layer.
  4. Drain pineapple chunks (large if you love it, small if it's no big deal to you), then spread chunks over shrimp.
  5. Drain water chestnuts & spread over pineapple & shrimp.
  6. Chop onion and spread over pineapple & shrimp.
  7. Seed & chop red pepper (or get chopped pepper from the supermarket salad bar) and spread over all.
  8. Sprinkle a cup of brown sugar over all.
  9. Cut up a half stick of butter into squares & scatter over brown sugar.
  10. Sprinkle a tablespoon of Old Bay seafood seasoning over all.
  11. Sprinle a tablespoon of lemon juice (or squeeze 2 large lemon wedges) over all.
  12. Seal foil packet and place on a cookie sheet.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. While shrimp bakes, put a bag of Success Rice into a bowl of water and microwave for ten minutes (two bags for more than four people). It will be ready at the same time as the shrimp.
  15. Be careful opening shrimp packet; steaming hot.
  16. Pour into a serving dish. Serve with rice.

Refrigerate leftovers. Reheats well in microwave.

Chicken Casserole (40 minutes prep & cook) by Monica B (Massachusetts)

Shopping list:

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts,
  • Swiss cheese slices,
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup,
  • milk,
  • white wine (optional),
  • 1 bag Pepperidge Farm stuffing,
  • parsley flakes.
  1. Oven 400 degrees.
  2. In a 13 X 9 Pyrex baking dish, lay four to six chicken breasts.
  3. Cover chicken breasts with Swiss cheese slices.
  4. In a bowl, mix cream of chicken soup with half a can of milk and half a can of white wine (or a whole can of milk) and pour over chicken & cheese.
  5. Sprinkle the stuffing over everything.
  6. Scatter parsley over top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Rotel Roast   from Jamie H (Texas)

  • 1 3-4 lb. roast (rump, round--good quality and what will fit into a
    crock pot)
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced rotel tomatoes and chilies
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans or black beans--boil for 10 minutes and drain before adding.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients into a 4 or 5 quart crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours (or until beans are done).

Fool-proof and so delicious! Can be easily adapted for larger families!

Crock Pot Pork Roast by Olivia F.  (South Carolina)

  • Pork roast (3 pounds is good) to fit crock pot
  • Onion
  • Cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the roast, sliced onions, a handful of whole cloves (about a  teaspoonful) into the crock pot. Add about 1/2 cup water. Cook overnight. Next morning, remove roast. Remove bones and fat. Break up meat into small pieces. Put back into crock pot with more chopped onion and a bottle of barbeque sauce. (I prefer a mustard-based sauce.) Cook the rest of the day. Serve on buns.

Mama makes a BBQ sauce with ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and brown  sugar--about equal parts to taste. About a cup of sauce is sufficient.

Chalupa by Cindy H.  (Arizona)

  • 3-4 lbs pork roast or boneless skinless chicken 
  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans (washed, but no need to soak)
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 1 T. salt

Combine in crock pot. Cover with water and cook all day.

I have served this to my husband's graduate students when he has the whole class over and it always gets rave reviews and is sooooo easy!!

Creamed Chicken  by Deb B.

  • 1-2 pounds boneless chicken breast
  • l can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cheddar cheese coup
  • garlic powder
  • 8 oz. sour cream

Put the breasts on the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle with garlic powder. Mix the three soups (undiluted) together and spread on top. Bake for 8-10 hours. Before serving, mix with 8 oz. sour cream. Serve over rice.

Don't be put off by the look of the recipe before it cooks. Also, no need to cut up the chicken. When you stir in the sour cream, it breaks into bite-sized pieces.

Crock Pot Pork Chops by Deb B.

Put a sliced onion on the bottom of the crockpot. Arrange 6-8 boneless chops over the onions (you can use ones with bones). Spread undiluted cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup over the chops. Cook for about 8 hours. You can also put potatoes in with the onions. 

Also, a turkey breast easily fits into the new oval crockpots. A little stove-top stuffing, and you're set!

Potato Soup by Olivia F. (South Carolina)

  • Three or four potatoes
  • One can of chicken broth
  • chopped onion

Boil the potatoes in the chicken broth until tender. Mash potatoes. ( I like smooth potato soap; my husband likes the potatoes chunky.)

Brown bacon or Italian sausage. Drain on paper towel. Add browned meat and 1 cup of milk (or more depending on how thick you like your soup). Heat through to almost boiling.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Makes about six servings.

Here is an crock recipe my family loves. I had it going when our carpeting was being installed and everyone was arriving for Christmas. (Don't ask. That's the way it is around here!)

Carpet Crock Pot  by Marcia C.

  • 1 package flour tortillas (large)
  • 1 1/2 pound of crumbled, cooked hamburger, seasoned with taco seasoning OR two cooked chicken breasts, diced and seasoned with taco seasoning
  • Two cups grated cheese (any kind. I like Tilamok)
  • 1 (16 ounce)can Ranch beans (or any spicy bean)
  • 1 (16 oz.)can corn, drained
  • 1 can sliced olives, drained
  • 1 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 16 ounce enchilada sauce
  • IF you like it spicy, add one small can chopped green chiles

To Make: Place one flour tortilla on the bottom of crockpot. Then, layer corn, cheese, beans on top; add another tortilla. Layer meat enchilada sauce, olives, tomato sauce. Keep adding layers alternately, ending with a sprinkling of cheese. If you add green chiles, put them between the layers as you will.

Cook all from the time you leave in the a.m. until about 4:30. Leave lid on. It will stay warm until dinner. Serve with a green salad or with fresh, sliced jicama sticks with Ranch dressing dip.

For all you soccer moms, it is also good when practice is over and it's dark and time to eat!

Chicken Gumbo by Peggy S.

Pull the skin off a whole chicken. Season it with salt and pepper. Either whole or in pieces, place in crock pot with a 1# can of chopped tomatoes and juice, 1/2 package of frozen okra, 2 TBS. flour stirred into juice, 1 bay leaf, one small chopped onion, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. gumbo file powder- if you can get it. Put this on low before you leave for school. When you come home, put on a pot of rice. While the rice cooks, take the chicken out, pull meat off bones in shreds, skim chicken fat from juices, mix the chicken back in to warm up, and serve in bowls over rice.

My mother-in-law, the queen of the crock pot and any other gadget since Mr. Ronco hit the scene, devised this and it's good. Don't sweat the okra. It cooks into the "soup" and virtually disappears, but is a necessary ingrediant for gumbo.

Shrimp Fried Rice by Susan E. (North Dakota)

Cook one box Rice-a-Roni Fried Rice according to directions. While rice is cooking, boil 3-6 ounces of frozen shrimp for a couple of minutes until they are cooked, or open and drain a 3-oz can of shrimp. Dump shrimp in rice (I prefer "dumping" to "adding" -less pressure). Dump in a drained can of water chestnuts, a cup of frozen peas, and anything other vegetables you feel like dumping in. Cook till vegetables are hot - not long. Dribble in soy sauce to taste. If you don't feel like using shrimp, leftover meat would probably work, too.

Chicken Cacciatore by Michelle G. (Florida)

Combine in deep skillet or crock pot:

  • 1 can Tomato Sauce or Peeled Crushed or Diced Tomatoes
  • Minced Garlic (from Jar works fine)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Oregano, Salt, Pepper and other spices to taste.
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Cook until boiling -- then reduce heat to med.

Throw in cut up chicken pieces

Cook or bake for at least one hour -- or as long as you like (if baking, after an hour reduce temp to 250.

Mussels in Red Sauce by Michelle G.  (Florida):

Combine in deep skillet:

  • 1 can red clam sauce
  • curshed or minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes

Cook until boiling

Throw in 1 pound of frozen mussels

Cook unti mixture returns to boil (until mussels open) -- about 10 minutes maximum.

Serve over pasta of choice

Four-Bean Hotdish by Mary-Sue Gardetto

  • several slices of bacon cut into small dice (Omit if you don't want to have bacon.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 16 oz. can pork & beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz. can green beans, drained
  • 1 15-1/2 oz. can butter beans, drained
  • 1 15-1/2 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard

Place all in a crock pot and cook 6 or so hours.

Mixture may also be put in a casserole in a 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour.

Cajun Rice & Beans by Mary-Sue Gardetto

  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, washed & drained
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (about 14 oz.)

Put oil in skillet and add garlic and onion. Cook about 3 min. Add chopped carrot and green pepper and cook another 5-8 minutes. Add seasonings plus salt and pepper to taste. Add stewed tomatoes and let everything simmer a few minutes. Add washed and drained beans and simmer 10 minutes  more.

Serve with rice.

Questions for Too Busy to Cook: A Teacher's Life

Have a question? Ask it now.