Friday, March 4, 2011

Leader Enterprise - March 2011

Do hope you’re keeping warm this winter.  We should all have t-shirts printed “I survived the winter of 2011”!

We enjoy soup often during the winter. It seems to warm us inside and out and chases away the chill. Sometimes I make “Clean out the Refrigerator” soup. I cut up any leftover meat,add leftover veggies,pasta, rice or beans. If I have fresh tomatoes too soft to be eaten,they are added to the soup. May add chopped onion and celery;maybe some tomato juice.Serve with a salad and crusty bread and you have a great meal.

Other times, I place a large container in the freezer and add leftover veggies or broth then use them when making this soup. Or make a shepherd’s pie with the leftovers, add some cheese and a can of soup. Top with mashed potatoes and bake until heated through. Don’t throw things out, use what you have and it can be delicious.

I want to share some thoughts about crockpot cooking. Crock-pots are a great way to create a hearty,nutritious meal without a lot of effort. You can enjoy a well-balanced meal by throwing your ingredients in the crockpot, turning it on and letting it cook while you tend to other things. You don't have to slave away in the kitchen all day for barbecue meat that falls right apart or a simple dessert. You can make almost anything in a crockpot!

You may wonder if there’s a difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker. I may be missing something, but as far as I can tell the only difference are the settings. Some simply have ‘high’ or ‘low’. Others can have numbers from 1-5. Get to know your appliance and be sure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ever had a favorite stove top recipe that you would love to be able to do in the crock pot? Here is a handy conversion chart so you can make your favorite soups, stews and sauces into crock pot versions,based on the amount of time they cook on the stove top.

15-30 mins stove to=4-6 hours on low=1.5-2.5 on high
30-45 mins stove top=6-8 hours on low=3-4 hours on high
45 mins-3 hours=8-16 hours on low=4-6 hours on high.

While this conversion won't work perfectly for all recipes, it is a good rule of thumb if you want to try making those favorite recipes into slow cooker versions.

This is a simple idea from 365 Days of Slow Cooking. You can do this same thing with white potatoes. Check out their website at www.365daysofcrockpot.com for more great recipe ideas.

CROCKPOT SWEET POTATOES
Poke desired number of cleaned sweet potatoes with a fork,then wrap in foil.Place in slow cooker and cook 3 – 4 hours on low.Serve with butter,salt,pepper and some brown sugar too.


This is an easy crockpot recipe found in my cookbook.
Hope you’ll give it a try and a taste.I love recipes that give you options.

MINISTER’S DELIGHT
(so named because it is a great one to cook while you’re at church)
1-21-ozs.can apple,cherry,peach or blueberry pie filling
1 c.crushed pineapple,slightly drained,optional
1-18 ozs.box yellow cake mix
1/2 c.butter or margarine,melted
1/3 c.chopped nuts,optional
Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place pie filling in bottom, then spread pineapple over top. Combine dry cake mix and butter(mixture will be crumbly). Sprinkle over filling. Sprinkle top with nuts. Lay a paper towel over top of slow cooker,cover;cook on low for 2-3 hrs. Serve warm with ice cream. (Paper towel absorbs the steam and keeps top of dessert dry).

Next month,I will be sharing my latest prize-winning recipe:Cherry Chip Cheesecake Bars. I recently won a dessert contest online at The Book Club Network. I was blessed to spend $100 gift card at a high-end kitchen store, and was also sent two autographed books.. You’ll want to try this awesome dessert.

Check out my blog for some healthy recipes this month – www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com