Yesterday was the first day of swim team and our family's debut into the big, wide world of organized sports for kids.
Granted, we're only dipping our toes in the water (punny, eh? ;) ) with the low-commitment "half-lappers" program for not-quite-swimmers.It's basically glorified swim lessons, with some sweet and energetic teenagers from the "real" swim team as coaches.
Apparently, you can come to however many or few of the every afternoon practices you want. My daughter will "compete" in the swim meets, whatever that looks like for preschoolers who use kickboards? I'm sure it'll be completely adorable...and it only takes 30 minutes.
Still, this mama's a little nervous about crossing the threshold into the world of extracurricular activities, which seems to inevitably result in one-the-go meals, overtired kids, and parents who are so over it already.
I've been thinking of ways to counteract the frenzy, and at the top of the list is Le Crock Pot!
I've confessed before that I'm a former Crock-Pot hater. But, with some practice, I've learned which slow cooker recipes suit our tastes. My most recent find is this recipe for delicious pork ribs - perfect for a simple summer dinner.
I had never made ribs before, let alone ribs in a Crock Pot, but let me tell you, I will be doing it again.
When I ordered pastured pork ribs from the farmer, I expected the longer ones (spareribs, I think?). But I really liked how these little ones (baby back ribs?) turned out. They're easy to handle and had more meat on them than I expected.
*** Looking for affordable pastured ribs, delivered to your door? Order here! ***
My only complaint is that I didn't order enough.
What was I thinking ordering only a pound of ribs, knowing full well the bones probably accounted for half the weight? I actually sliced up a smoked sausage link I had in the freezer from a previous delivery and threw it in with the ribs, just to be sure it would feed all four of us. We loved the rib-sausage combo, so I'd recommend that if you have a sausage-loving crew like I do.
And if you're the bar-b-q sauce on your ribs type, check out Diana's easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce over at My Humble Kitchen - it's robust with a great balance of sweet and tangy, and it's corn syrup-free!
You can imagine how giddy happy I was that this took under 10 minutes to prep, only 3 hours in the crock pot, and was ready the minute we walked in from our late afternoon swim practice? I had even pre-cooked and seasoned the frozen vegetables earlier in the day, so the healthy side dishes only required a quick reheat.
So, my official evaluation of our swim team experience thus far is:
New swimmer does not cry & can't wait to go back
Delicious, healthy dinner ready within minutes of returning home
+ Serving it on paper plates
Day 1 Success!
If I could guarantee dinner would be this easy, healthy, and great-tasting every night for the next eight weeks, I'd pre-register us for the next season of swim team, too!
- 2 lbs pastured pork ribs (small, baby back ribs pictured)*
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (recommend organic & MSG-free)
- 6 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 Tbsp pastured butter or lard
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- BBQ sauce (optional)
- Slice the rack of ribs and place individual ribs in a Crock Pot.
- Mix all remaining ingredients, except BBQ sauce in a small bowl. Pour over ribs, using clean hands to coat all ribs evenly.
- Cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 5 hours.
- Serve with BBQ sauce if desired.
- * subbing a pound of pastured smoked sausage (cut into 2" pieces) for half of the ribs is an excellent combination!
What are your tips, tricks, and recipes for feeding your family on busy evenings? I'd love to hear any and all of them!
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