Monday, March 19, 2012

Leader Enterprise - March 7, 2012 - Crockpot Cooking

I recently came across some wonderful recipes at www.eatathome.com using a crockpot and I just had to share them with you. I am also amazed by another blog-www.365daysofcrockpot.com. She has prepared a crockpot dish every day of the year! There is no difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker. Unless you are talking with the manufacturers, who prefer to call their own product one name or the other, they work on the same principle. Slow cookers may have a range of number settings instead of simply 'low' or 'high'. They are so handy to use during the summertime when you don't want to heat up your kitchen, but they're also great to use any time you are busy and want to have dinner ready when you get home from work or running errands. Who could argue that idea?

Crock pots are a good way to cook food without having to devote constant attention to a cooking appliance. People use crock pots to cook meals as pot roasts, chicken dishes, stews AND desserts! When your busy day allows you more time for preparation in the morning than in the afternoon, that's a good time to throw together a crockpot meal to enjoy later in the day with no fuss.
These recipes are made in using a 5-6-qt. crockpot. If using a smaller size, then I suggest cutting back on ingredient amounts & cooking times. As oven temperatures vary, so do crockpot temps,so be sure to check before alloted time is up.
Comfort food at its best!

SUNDAY CHICKEN DINNER
2-3 lbs. chicken (boneless or bone-in)

2 c. potatoes, chunked

4-5 carrots, chopped

1 onion, sliced

2 c. (1 can) chicken broth

1/2 c. water

1 (10-3/4 ozs) can cream of chicken soup

salt and pepper

Place chicken in bottom of the crockpot. Place the veggies on top.Stir the broth, water and soup together with salt and pepper. Pour over the veggies and chicken. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8. If you want to make gravy before serving,remove chicken and veggies. Turn the heat to high. In small bowl mix 2-3 Tb.flour with a little water and stir to make a thick paste. Slowly whisk flour mixture into broth. Cook several more minutes until thick. Serve with cornbread or biscuits and enjoy a delicious meal.

This is a yummy dish your family will think is 'take out' food. Add a box of fortune cookies and make it a fun meal.

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
2 lbs. chicken(may still be frozen), cut into large chunks

small onion, sliced

red and green pepper, sliced,optional

1-20 ozs. can pineapple chunks

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

2 Tb. cornstarch

1/4 c. cider vinegar

1/4 c. water

1 Tb. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. salt
Place chicken, onion and peppers in crockpot. Drain pineapple. Set aside for later. Mix pineapple juice with remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for about 4-5. Just before serving,add pineapple chunks; heat. Serve over rice.
CROCKPOT ALL DAY BEEF STEW

2 lb. stew beef
3 c. chopped potatoes
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 c. tomato juice
1 Tb. sugar
1/4 c. instant tapioca
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low 8-10 hours. If you want it to be ready sooner, use frozen stew veggies instead of fresh. Feel free to adapt it to your family's taste by adding mushrooms or tomatoes or maybe frozen green beans.
This is an OH-MY kind of dessert! It can be cooked in a smaller sized crockpot.
CROCKPOT APPLE CRISP

1 c. (dark)brown sugar

1 c. quick oats

1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. butter

3-4 c. peeled and sliced apples

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. chopped pecans

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir first 3 ingredients together. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork to make soft crumbs. In separate bowl, combine apples,  cranberries and pecans.Stir in half the crumbs, mixing to coat all the apples. Pour into greased crock. Stir water, sugar and cinnamon together. Pour over apples. Top with remaining crumbs. Before placing lid on crock, cover top with a couple of paper towels. (This will collect the moisture from the lid so you don't have a soggy dessert top.)  Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Simple pantry staples come together to make this delicious dessert.

PEACH CRISP

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c.butter, softened
2 (20 ozs.each) cans peaches, drained well
Grease inside of crock with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with pastry blender until crumbly. Place the drained peaches in crock and stir 1/2 the crumbs into the fruit. Top with remaining crumbs. Cook on low 3-4 hours.
This is a favorite that I included in my cookbook. May use reduced sugar ingredients if desired.

CROCKPOT CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE

1 (18 ozs) box chocolate cake mix

1 (3 ozs) box instant chocolate pudding

2 c. sour cream

4 eggs

1 c. water

3/4 c. canola oil (or part applesauce)

1/2 c. toffee bits, optional

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


In large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in toffee and chocolate chips. Pour into 5-qt.crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover(lay paper towels over top first) and cook on low for 4-5 hours.Center will be soft. Yield: 8 servings
This dish would make a great addition for any big family dinner.

 CROCKPOT SWEET POTATOES AND APPLES

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked

4 small apples, peeled and quartered

1/4 c.apple juice, plus 1-2 Tb.

2 Tb. brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

dash nutmeg

1 tsp. cornstarch

Place sweet potatoes and apples in the slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray. Stir the 1/4 c. apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Pour over the apples and sweet potatoes, stirring to coat. Cook on high for about 3 hours. Stir 1-2 Tbs. apple juice with 1 tsp. cornstarch. Stir into the sweet potatoes and apples in the slow cooker. Let cook for a couple more minutes; then serve.
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