Saturday, January 16, 2016

Leader Enterprise - January 2016 - Crockpot Cooking





Crockpots and slow cookers use moist heat to cook food over a long period of time. Both are used to cook the same types of foods, and both produce the same delicious results. These wonderful small kitchen appliances even contain the same three components: a pot, glass lid, and heating element.


A Crock-Pot is a brand of slow cooker that gave rise to a type of slow cookers. But a slow cooker is not always a Crock-Pot.


Crockpots and slow cookers are great for cooking lean cuts of meat, which can sometimes be tough and dry.  After cooking several hours in liquid, lean meats become moist and tender. 

Tips for using your crockpot: 

Check that your crockpot is the right size for the recipe you're making.  I own a small and a large, but I know others who have several different sizes. 

Make sure your crockpot is at least half full but no more than 2/3 full so foods cook safely in the given time range. 

Cut slow-cooking vegetables, like carrots into small pieces. And quick-cooking veggies, like zucchini or sweet peppers, into larger pieces. 

For most crockpot recipes, you don't need to stir. Stirring can even be harmful because a crockpot cooks food with low heat, removing the lid can drastically reduce cooker's interior temperature. 

When you lift the lid or stir or add ingredients, replace lid as quickly as possible, especially when cooking on low heat. An uncovered cooker can lose up to 20 degrees of heat in as little as 2 minutes. 


CROCKPOT ROUND STEAK AND VEGETABLES 

5 medium pieces round steak 
3 or 4 medium potatoes, chunked
about 1 cup of 2" carrot pieces
(larger sized mini carrots work fine)
1 oz pkg dry herb and garlic soup 
(or onion soup)
1/4 c. water
1 - 10.75 ozs. can cream of mushroom soup
1 Tb. A-1 Sauce, optional

Place meat in slow cooker; top with veggies. 
In medium bowl, combine dry soup mix, water, canned soup and A-1; mix well; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

CREAMY CROCKPOT MACARONI & CHEESE 

1 (8 ozs) box macaroni (cooked el dente, drained)
3 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
2 ounces Velveeta, diced, optional
1 lg (12 ozs) can evaporated milk
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. melted butter 
2 large eggs, beaten well 
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt (or less)

Grease 3.5 quart. crockpot. In large bowl, combine all ingredients, (using 2 c. cheddar cheese); mix well.  Pour into prepared crock. Cook on low for 2-1/2 - 3-1/2 hours. Because I was home, I stirred it about every hour, but you don't have to.  About 40 minutes before time is up, sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top and let it melt. 

This dessert is definitely one of my favorite crockpot desserts.  I love that it uses canned peaches.

CROCKPOT PEACH CRISP 

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
fresh grated nutmeg, optional
1/4 cup butter, softened 
2 large (20 ozs.) cans peaches, well drained

Spray the inside of the crock or butter it. Stir together brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture is crumbly.

Place drained peaches in the prepared crock and stir 1/2 the crumbs into the fruit. Top with the rest of the crumbs. Before placing on the lid, I like to cover the crock with 2 paper towels, then add the lid. It keeps the moisture from falling on top of your dessert but this step is optional. Cook on low for 3 - 4 hours. (Check at 3 hours) Unplug and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.