Mealtime Mama: A Crock Pot a Day…


by Rhonda Franz, nwaMotherlode contributor

Laura Keeney lives in Rogers and is a busy wife and mom to two boys, one girl, and a boxer named Luke. When she’s not shuttling her kids to baseball, soccer, and dance, she might be spotted at Starbucks drinking coffee and hiding behind a book.

Historically, spending time making meals isn’t something she enjoyed. Last year, however, she discovered a blog written by a woman who resolved to use her crock pot everyday ( Laura decided to follow along and embarked on culinary journey that led her to—at last—her inner cook.

After finding out about the crock pot blog, what made you decide to try it?

Baseball season. With two boys in baseball, it became too easy to pick up a fast food supper before or after practice and games. I wanted to save money by cutting down on eating out. It was also important to me to provide my children with healthy meals that contained ingredients I could pronounce.

How has it been different from the way you normally prepared meals?

I don’t have to worry about timing the meal. Usually, I had to think about the different parts of the meal and when to cook this or that. With the crock pot, the food is ready when it’s time to eat. I put the ingredients together after lunch and clean up only one mess.

How has your family responded to these meals?

They have enjoyed them! It’s been an adventure for all of us—trying something new. I actually had to purchase a crock pot to do this, having sold mine several years ago. I just wasn’t using it then. Now, my kids are quite ready to eat since the smell of supper wafts through the house in the afternoon. It makes me feel like a regular domestic goddess!

What are some of the best recipes you’ve made?

The best ones: Chicken Teriyaki, Korean Ribs, Tortilla Soup. There was no bad meal from the blog, but I only tried ones the writer really liked.

What are some of the disadvantages of using a slow cooker?

Planning. I really had to learn to plan ahead. This includes deciding in advance what I was fixing and making a list for shopping. I was forced to think about dinner before dinnertime and there was no getting things ready at the last minute. I am not a planner, so this was difficult for me. But as I’ve gone along, the website got me excited about preparing ahead.

The photos are a great motivation, and the writer also adds humorous detail about the process and the recipes. On some days though, it’s just good to do something simple like throwing frozen chicken breasts in the cooker with a little sauce and make a helping of rice before dinnertime.

What has been the best thing about this experience?

I’m now more confident in the kitchen. I didn’t used to enjoy cooking, and didn’t think I was very good at it. With several successes right off the bat, that was motivation to keep it up. I discovered how easy it was to have meals ready for my family.

All this has also helped me develop good habits with regard to the cooking process: preparing healthy food, putting it on the table, and everyone liking it. I wasn’t relying on processed foods or half-prepared meals from a box.

And hey, I really started feeling like a grownup when I started using seasonings other than salt and pepper!

What’s cookin’ in the pot this week?

This week, I plan on doing a roast and some chicken. And I just got a lasagna recipe that I cannot wait to try!

At this point, Laura’s kids chimed in.

Bekah, age 6, likes the Roast. Jacob (11) loves the Chicken Tortilla soup, and Isaac (9) says, “It’s all good.” They’re all excited about the lasagna.

Stephanie O’Dea, writer of the blog was recently featured on Good Morning America. She’s happy that Laura has found the site functional.

“I love meeting new people [through the blog]. I began slow-cooking as a newlywed as a way to save time and money, and now as a parent, I am even more impressed with how the crock pot can create a tasty, satisfying meal with little hands-on time.”

Home of the crock pot blog:

The recipes Laura recommends can be found here:

Chicken Teriyaki:

Tortilla soup:

Korean Ribs:

Rhonda Franz lives outside of Lowell and is the mom of two young boys, Marek and Gareb. When she’s not, you know, doing all the things moms do, she writes, reads, watches movies, walks in her neighborhood, and blogs about a variety of things at

She actually enjoys cooking, but longs for the day her kids are old enough to clean up the colossal mess she makes in the kitchen.


  1. Great Crokpot article! I love crockpot cooking for company dinners. I can visit with my guests. Then when we’re ready to eat, heat up a vegetable and pop some rolls in the oven. All the work is done way ahead of time, alone without distractions.

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