WELCOME

Welcome to this slow cooker/crockpot blog. I believe slow cookers are the best thing to happen to modern day cooks. I used mine often when I worked outside the home and continue to do so even in retirement. It is so nice to put food on and forget about it. Slow cookers also allow us to cook many things we would normally have to use the oven for; what a relief in hot Texas weather! Some of these recipes are mine, many are ones I have collected over the years.

Friday, August 31, 2012

SPICY RICE PUDDING

2 cups milk
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick

Spray slow cooker or crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the milk, rice, raisins, sugar, butter, vanilla, and cardamom in the cooker; stir to mix together well.  Add the cinnamon stick; cover and cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 5 hours on low.  Pudding is done when the rice is very soft and the pudding is thick and creamy.

Remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Variation: This pudding is good served topped with sliced banana.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CROCKPOT COUNTRY CAPTAIN (WW Recipe)

1 can (14.5-oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 lb chicken legs, breasts, thighs; skinned
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thin
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 tsp toasted coconut, optional
4 tsp dried currants or raisins, optional

This recipe needs a 5-6 quart size crockpot or slow cooker.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, tomato paste, ginger, curry, cinnamon, and salt in the cooker.  Lay the chicken pieces over the vegetable-spice mixture.  Place lid on cooker and cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.  Chicken should be fork-tender.

Approximately 1/2 hour before the cooking time is up, mix the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth.  Stir into the slow cooker.  Add the apple and peas; stir to blend.  Cover and cook on high for approximately 20 minutes until the mixture simmers and thickens and apples are just fork tender.

Sprinkle with the coconut and currants  or raisins just before serving, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings of 1 piece of chicken and 3/4 cup vegetables/sauce
Per serving: Approximately 224 cal, 3 g fat (2 g sat), 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 26 g pro
This is a WW recipe and a serving = 5 WW points

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SPICED APPLE BUTTER

9 cups applesauce
5 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Place all the ingredients in a crockpot or slow cooker.  Place lid on cooker and cook mixture on high for about 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cook until red and thick, about 18 hours. It is not necessary to stir unless you just want to.

Can in jelly or pint jars or keep in refrigerator for several weeks.

Great on hot biscuits!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CREAMY CARROT SOUP

1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled, trimed & cut-up into pieces 3-inches long
1 medium yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
32-oz vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp cream
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp instant potato flakes or granules for thickening soup, if desired
chopped cashews for garnish, if desired
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, if desired

Sprinkle the onion and garlic over the bottom of the slow cooker or crockpot; top with carrots.  Add the vegetable broth and water.  Place lid on cooker and cook for 6 hours on high or on low for 8 hours.

Uncover soup and stir in the the brown sugar, ground ginger, cream, salt, and instant potatoes, if using.  Using either a blender, immersion blender, or food processor, puree carefully until of the desired consistency.

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish with the chopped cashews and cilantro, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: Approximately 108 cal, 2 g (1 g sat) fat, 2 g pro, 21 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 7 mg chol, and910 mg sodium

Note: I first got this recipe from an old Family Circle magazine.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

PORK RAGU WITH PASTA

2 cans (14.5-oz each) Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 lbs country-style pork ribs
1/2 lb zucchini, diced
1 lb whole-wheat farfalle pasta, cooked according to pkg directions, drained - saving some liquid
1 cup shredded 4-blend cheese (Italian-style)

Spray crockpot or slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the tomatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, half the salt, half the pepper, oregano, and pepper flakes.  Stir to combine.  Add the ribs and spoon the sauce over the ribs.  Sprinkle the zucchini over all.

Place lid on cooker and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Remove the ribs from cooker; shred the meat.  Discard bones and fat; stir the shredded meat back into the cooker.  Stir in the rest of the salt and black pepper.

Stir 4 cups of the sauce into into the prepared, drained pasta.  Add some reserved pasta liquid, if desired.  Stir in the cheese and serve.

Remaining sauce can be frozen for future use.

Yield: Serves 6 (with 4 cups leftover sauce for freezing).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BRAISED SHORT RIBS

3 lbs beef short ribs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup flour
2 tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup water

Add the salt and pepper to the flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate.  Dredge the ribs through the seasoned flour to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the coated ribs to the hot oil and brown on all sides.  Remove ribs from skillet to a crockpot or slow cooker.

Add the sliced onions and the water to the cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 7 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the ribs to meat platter.  If desired, combine a fourth cup of flour to a fourth cup of water stirring until smooth.  Pour mixture into the juices in the cooker, stirring well.  Cook for a few minutes until thickened to desired consistency and serve with the ribs.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SWEET & SOUR PORK OVER NOODLES

2 tbsp canola oil
2 lb pork shoulder for stew, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced
1 can (4-oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 can (14 1/2-oz) tomato sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
8-oz egg noodles, cooked, for serving

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Season the pork with the salt and pepper; add to the skillet and saute 6 to 7 minutes, browning both sides.  Add to the crockpot or slow cooker.  Layer the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms over the pork.

In a small bowl combine the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce; pour over all in cooker.  Cover the cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Serve the pork mixture over the hot cooked noodles.
Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOLDEN LEMON POUND CAKE IN A COFFEE CAN

1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) lemon gelatin
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water

Beat all the ingredients together in a large mixer bowl; beat until well blended.

Grease and flour a 3-lb (metal) coffee can and pour the cake batter into the can.  Place the can in the crockpot and place 4 thin or 6 thick paper towels over the top of the can.  Put the lid on the cooker and cook on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Do Not Lift Lid and Peek until the last 30 minutes to hour of the cooking time.

Note: If using the larger 4 1/2-quart crockpot, cook 4 to 5 1/2 hours.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

CHICKEN PARISIENNE

This is an old recipe that came in the little booklet with my very first crockpot many years ago.

6 medium chicken breasts (This was in the days before boneless skinless breasts halves!)
salt and pepper
paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine, vermouth (optional)*
1 can (10.5-oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4-oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup dairy sour cream

Sprinkle chicken breasts lightly with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Place chicken in crock-pot.

Mix the white wine, soup, and mushrooms until well combined, mixing in the sour cream now if you will be cooking on low setting.  Pour over the chicken breasts in crock-pot.  Sprinkle with more paprika.  Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. (High 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours with sour cream added during last 30 minutes of cooking.)  Serve the sauce over chicken with rice or noodles.  Recipe may be doubled for the 4 1/2-quart crock-pot.


*I have found that chicken broth is a great substitute for the wine.

Friday, August 17, 2012

VEGETABLE SOUP WITH GROUND BEEF ATLANTA-STYLE

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (15-oz) kidney beans, rinsed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup uncooked rice
2 cans (16-oz each) stewed tomatoes
3 1/2 cups water
5 beef bouillon cubes
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans

Cook the beef in a skillet with the onion and garlic until beef is browned, stirring to break up the meat.  Drain of the excess fat.  Place the meat into a slow cooker or crock pot.  Add the kidney beans, carrots, celery, rice, tomatoes, water, bouillon, parsley, salt, basil, pepper, and green beans if using fresh. (If using frozen green beans, add during the last hour of cooking.)  Stir mixture to combine well.

Place the lid on the cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

WW VEGGIE-STUFFED ONIONS

4 (3/4 lb each) Vidalia onions
1 (12-oz) pkg frozen soy crumbles, thawed
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 pkg (10-oz) frozen peas and carrots, thawed
the grated zest of 1/2 lemon
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 cups tomato puree without salt
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Trim the bottom of each onion so it will stand upright (But do not cut all the way through.  The onion will be stuffed with the vegetables.)  Trim around 1/4-inch off the top of the onions.  Using a sharp knife or a melon baller, cut out the centers of the onions.  Trim off skins and outer layer if necessary.  Discard the centers or chop, bag, and freeze for future use.

To make the filling, combine the soy crumbles, rice, 1 cup of the peas and carrots, lemon zest, sage, salt, pepper, and allspice in a medium mixing bowl.  Fill the onion cavities with the filling, packing in firmly.  Place the onions into a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker/crockpot.  Sprinkle remaining peas and carrots around the onions.

Mix the tomato puree, broth, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the fresh dill, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl; pour around (not over the top of!) the onions.  Cover and cook until the onions are fork-tender - 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.

To serve, sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon dill.


Yield: 4 servings
Per serving of 1 stuffed onion with 1/2 cup sauce): 313 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 447 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 35 g protein, 127 mg calcium
WW Points = 6

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BISTRO-STYLE SHORT RIBS

3 lbs beef short ribs
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 3/4 cups marinara sauce
1 3/4 cups beef stock

Cut the short ribs into individual rib pieces.

Spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray.  Brown ribs on all sides.

Place the onion, carrots, and celery in the bottom of a 5-quart crockpot or slow cooker; top with the ribs.  Blend the marinara sauce and the beef stock together; pour over the ribs and vegetables.

Place lid on cooker and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or until the ribs are fork tender.  If cooking on high setting, cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WISCONSIN BEER AND CHEESE SOUP

Note: I have never made this soup but it has been recommended as a good one for those of you who have asked for a beer/cheese soup.

2 to 3 slices pumpernickel or rye bread
1 can (14.5-oz) chicken broth
1 cup light-tasting beer
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp dried thyme
6-oz  American cheese, shredded
4 to 6-oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice bread into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for around 10 minutes or until crisp, stirring once. Set your homemade croutons aside.

In a 4 1/2-quart crockpot or slow cooker, combine the broth, beer, onion, garlic, and thyme; cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Turn cooker to high.  Stir in the cheeses, milk, and paprika.  Cover and cook for another 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the soup is hot and the cheeses are melted.  Stir soup well the blend in the cheeses.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with the homemade croutons.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, August 13, 2012

APRICOT AND ALMOND CRISP

1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 tbsp cold butter
1 to 2 tbsp fat-free milk
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cans (14-oz each) apricot halves in juice, drained and cut in half
3/4 tsp almond extract

Spray a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker stonebake interior with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the topping:  Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, wheat germ, and almonds in a medium bowl.  Using a fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Gradually add milk, tossing lightly with fork, just until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Mix the granulated sugar and ginger in a medium bowl.  Add the apricots and almond extract; toss to coat.  Transfer apricot mixture to slow cooker.  Sprinkle with the topping; lightly spray with nonstick spray.  Cover and cook until topping is crisp and begins to brown, about 4 hours on low.
Serve with a scoop of WW Ice cream if desired.
NOTE: This is a Weight Watchers Recipe that serves 6.
Per serving of 1/2 cup: 210 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 5 mg chol, 25 mg sod, 39 g carb, 4 g fiber, 5 g prot, 46 mg calc
WW Points: 4

Saturday, August 11, 2012

WEIGHT WATCHERS CHICKEN, SAUSAGE, AND WHITE BEAN STEW

4 carrots, suartered lengthwise and sliced
1 leek, cleaned and chopped, white and light green parts only
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsps hebes de Provence OR Italian seasoning
3 (5-oz each) skinless chicken thighs
3 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 oz (3/4 cup) turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 can (19-oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Combine the carrots, leek, garlic, and herbs de Provence in a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker or crockpot.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and set over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.  Turn chicken and sprinkle bacon around the chicken.  Cook, stirring the bacon occasionally, until the chicken and bacon are browned, about another 4 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and bacon to the cooker.  Add the wine, broth, salt, and pepper to the skillet; bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Pour the broth mixture over the chicken.  Top with the kielbasa and beans.  Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are fork-tender.  This will take about 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.

Using a large slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to serving plate and let stand until cool enough to handle.  It should be cooled enough in about 15 minutes.  Remove the bones from chicken and discard.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Stir chicken back into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high until chicken is hot, about 2 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each)
Per serving: 242 cal, 7 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 42 mg chol, 651 mg sod, 23 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 21 g pro, 98 mg calc
WW point values = 5

Friday, August 10, 2012

BARBECUE BEEF STEW II

1 boneless beef chuck roast, cut away fat and cut into bite-size cubes
2 cups water
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
3 large potatoes, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup thick steak sauce (such as A1)

Place all ingredients in a crockpot or slow cooker.  Cook on high for 30-34 minutes.  Lower heat to low setting and cook approximately 8 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TWO Bs: BEEF AND BARLEY

1 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 lb mushrooms, halved if small, quartered if large
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medium to large carrots, chunked
2 medium leeks, white and light green only, sliced
1 cup tap water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 cups beef broth
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

In the slow cooker or crockpot, combine the roast, barley, mushrooms, celery, carrots, and leeks.  Add the water, thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir in the beef broth and soy sauce. Cover and cook on low, without lifting lid, for 8 hours.

Remove lid and skim off any excess fat; transfer the meat to a plate and shred into bite-size pieces.
To serve, dip the barley/vegetable mixture into 4 shallow bowls and top with the meat.
Yield: 4 servings

Monday, August 6, 2012

WEIGHT WATCHERS WHITE WINE AND WHITE BALSAMIC CHICKEN

8 assorted pieces skinless chicken
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 can (14 1/2-oz) low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp flour
1 pkg (9-oz) frozen sugar-snap peas, thawed
5 plum tomatoes, sliced thick

Place chicken in a large crockpot or slow cooker.

Whisk together the wine, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.  Pour the wine mixture over the chicken.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of the broth into the slow cooker. (Cover rest of the broth and refrigerate.) Cover cooker and cook until the chicken in fork tender; 4 to 5 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Approximately 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, whisk reserved broth, balsamic vinegar, and the flour in a small bowl until smooth.  Stir about a fourth cup of the hot broth from the cooker into the flour mixture until smooth.  Stir the mixture into the cooker gently without disturbing the chicken.  Spread the peas evenly over chicken then top with the tomato slices.  Replace lid and cook on high until mixture simmers and thickens and the peas are just tender, about 25 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings.
Per serving of 1 piece of chicken + 1/2 cup sauce and veggies = 186 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 trans fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 233 mg sodium, 10 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 24 g protein, 44 mg calcium
Points value = 4

Note: The leftovers freeze well for up to 2 months.

Friday, August 3, 2012

OLD WORLD SAUERKRAUT SUPPER

3 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
2 large cans (No. 2 1/2) sauerkraut
2 small potatoes, cubed
2 small apples, cubed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
3 lbs Polish sausage, cut up into pieces
1/2 cup water

Fry the bacon until crisp; drain.  Add flour to bacon drippings and blend well.  Stir in sauerkraut; mix well.  Place sauerkraut mixture and bacon pieces in crock-pot.  Add all other ingredients; stir together thoroughly.  Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours. (High: 3 to 4 hours.)

This is another recipe from the little recipe book pictured above.  It came with my first crockpot many years ago.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

HEARTY BEEF STEW WITH TAPIOCA

2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut in chunks
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 large size can tomatoes
1/2 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1 whole clove (or 1/2 teaspoon ground clove)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Trim all the fat from the meat.  Put all ingredients in CROCK-POT.  Mix thoroughly.  Cover and cook on Low 12 hours. (high: 5 to 6 hours.)

This is an old recipe that came from this book I got with my first crockpot in the 1970s.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

TIPS FOR COOKING IN A SLOW COOKER OR CROCKPOT

Here are a few tips to make your crockpot or slow cooker meals turn out at their very best:
  • If you are cooking meats and vegetables together, place the vegetables in the bottom of the cooker with the meat on top.  This will keep the vegetables from drying out and will allow the meat to absorb more flavors from the vegetables.
  • When a recipe calls for cooking 10 to 12 hours on low, you may shorten the cooking time by first cooking on high for an hour then lowering the heat to low.  This can cut a couple hours off the low temp cooking time.
  • It is not necessary to brown lean meats before putting in the cooker.  Brown fatty meats first to eleminate some of the fat before placing in the cooker.
  • If a recipe calls for cooking pasta before adding to the cooker, be careful not to overcook.  Pasta should only be cooked to just tender, otherwise it will become too limp in the cooker.