Saturday, December 22, 2012

Leader Enterprise - Dec. 19, 2012 - Crockpot Helper

As we celebrate the REASON FOR THE SEASON and prepare to enter a new year, I think it's a great time to put your crockpot to work. I love that a dish can be cooking, with little attention, while preparing the rest of the meal, or delivering goodies across town. (Or maybe after seeing these yummy recipes, you'll want to add a crockpot to your Christmas list?)

Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs - recipe below

This pudding cake is full of gooey goodness. You can choose to add chocolate chips, peanut butter, or butterscotch - whichever your family prefers. Your friends and family will be impressed and may say 'M-M-MORE please'! This recipe does not use eggs.

CROCKPOT HOT FUDGE (PEANUT BUTTTER) PUDDING CAKE

1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar, divided
1 c. all purpose flour
6 TB. baking cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 TB. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. semisweet chocolate (or peanut butter) chips
1-3/4 c. boiling water
vanilla ice cream for serving
Coat a 3-qt.crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine 1 c. brown sugar, flour, 3 Tb.cocoa, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl,combine milk, butter, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Spread evenly into prepared crockpot. Sprinkle with chocolate (or peanut butter) chips.In a bowl, combine remaining brown sugar (1/2 c.) and baking cocoa (3 TB.); stir in boiling water. Pour over batter; DO NOT STIR. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours or until a toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Allow to set 15 minutes, covered,before serving. Serve warm with ice cream. Yield: 6-8 servings (Hint:lay a couple of paper towels over top of crockpot before placing on lid to catch any moisture).
This is an easy chocolate-y, caramel-y candy to make in the crockpot when you have plenty else to do. Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts for the peanuts.
CROCKPOT CHOCOLATE CARAMEL CLUSTERS
1-16 ozs. pkg. chocolate bark
4 ozs. block of German chocolate
1-12 ozs. bag butterscotch chips
1-16 ozs. jar salted peanuts
1-16 ozs. jar unsalted peanuts
10 Kraft caramels (the individuals from a bag)
Break the chocolate bark into blocks and place in crock pot. Now break up the German chocolate block and put in crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients. Place a paper towel on top of the crock pot before placing the lid on. Turn the crock pot on low and cook for two hours. DO NOT remove lid. I know it's tempting, but it's very important to not remove it. After two hours, carefully remove lid and paper towel. Stir mixture to incorporate everything well. Drop by the spoon full onto waxed paper and let them set up well. Share (if you can bring yourself to do so) and ENJOY!
It's always great to have room in the oven for other things, while the side dish cooks in the crockpot.
CROCKPOT CREAMY MASHED POTATOES
5# red potatoes, chunked
1 Tb. minced garlic, or to taste
3 tsp. chicken bouillon, or 3 cubes
1 c. (8 ozs) sour cream (lite or fat free)
1- (8 ozs)pkg. cream cheese, softened (lite)
1/4 c. butter
salt&pepper to taste
In large pot, cook potatoes, garlic and bouillon until potatoes are tender, but not mushy (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving water. In large bowl, mash potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese, adding reserved water as needed for consistency.(Potato texture will soften in crockpot).Transfer potato mixture to crockpot; cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Stir in butter, season with salt and pepper just before serving. 
CROCKPOT MAPLE BROWN SUGAR HAM

7-8 pound spiral-cut ham (bone-in or boneless)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 c. pineapple juice

Use a 6-7 quart crock pot. Unwrap ham from wrapper; discard the flavor packet. Place ham inside crock pot, flat side down. Rub the brown sugar over all sides of the ham. Then pour on the maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 - 5 hours. Baste ham with juices an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, carefully remove ham from crock pot and place on a cutting board. Let rest 15 minutes before carving.


These meatballs are terrific as an appetizer or an entree. Even folks who don't like sauerkraut, are wild about these.I've been told adding sauerkraut to the cranberry sauce puts this dish 'over the top'! 

CRANBERRY SAUERKRAUT MEATBALLS

1 - (14 ozs) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
(jellied works fine too)
1 - (14 ozs) can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well
1 - (12 ozs) bottle chili sauce
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 - (2 #) pkg.frozen fully cooked original meatballs, thawed

In 4-qt.slow cooker, combine cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, chili sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in meatballs; cover and cook on low 4-5 hrs.or until heated through. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen delicious meatballs!!

Here's a wonderful idea I saw on the internet: Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. On New Year's Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year. Super great way to keep things in perspective.

May you & yours enjoy a safe and happy Christmas and New Year's. I look forward to being here with you again in 2013!