Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crockpot

After having the same crappy 2 quart crockpot for the last five years that I made stew in about once or twice a month, I finally decided to upgrade to a 3 quart crockpot that has (gasp) a piece that can be removed and washed in the dishwasher so I don't have to wash the entire thing in the sink.

 I'm very excited about this purchase and it's renewed my determination to make things in the crockpot again. When I first got my crockpot, I tried all sorts of recipes, and the only one that came out good was beef stew, so now that's all I do with it.  (And everyone loves the stew.… The whole family looks forward to stew night.) But everybody else raves about their crockpot, so I feel like maybe I'm missing something.

Does anybody have any good/amazing crockpot recipes that require five ingredients or less? That are kid friendly? And not a huge amount of preparation?  I found a website that has a few dozen easy crockpot recipes, but it's always good to hear some testimony.

28 comments:

  1. I love this recipe, which appears to have more than 5 ingredients, but I leave out the capers and arugula and red pepper flakes and most of the extra spices. I also make it with brown rice noodles, but that's because I have celiac. And then I top it with grated cheese when it's done.

    http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-skinny-spaghetti/

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  2. My crockpot is how I’ve gotten myself fed through medical school. I don’t have any set recipes, but instead mix and match a variety of ingredients:

    1) Base flavoring. Usually I use cream of mushroom soup (add how ever much milk is necessary to keep the crockpot wet enough), but other soup mixes can be used as well. Alternately, because I like Japanese curry, sometimes I’ll use curry blocks (use water instead of milk, of course).

    2) Meat. I prefer chicken to beef (cheaper in my area, and healthier), but the benefit of a slow cooker is the ability to use even cheap beef and still have ultra-soft meat as the end result.

    3) Frozen vegetables. Peas are my usual, as well as broccoli. I don’t mind having mush broccoli, but if you want it to be formed then there’s an added step of not putting it into the slow cooker until ~30 minutes before the cook cycle is due to finish. I like to add chopped carrots, onions, and mushrooms, too. If you “overload” on one vegetable it can alter the flavor of the entire dish, which can give a nice feel for variety.

    One vegetable worth noting is spinach. I find that frozen chopped spinach has an overpowering flavor on slow cooker dishes. I like to make a chicken-spinach dish, but by the time I’ve worked through the pot I’m pretty sick of spinach. Adding sweet corn can tone down the flavor a bit.

    I bought a slow cooker cookbook from Williams-Sonoma a while back in search of other ideas, and have to admit that I was disappointed. There was a wide variety of recipes, but most involved a fair amount of prep work before and/or after the slow cooker, or only used the slow cooker for preparation of a few of the ingredients. I’m looking to throw a bunch of things straight out of the freezer or refrigerator into a pot, with minimal pre-slow cooker preparation involved.

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    1. Is there any specific combination you would recommend?

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  3. Just made an awesome potato soup in the crockpot. Potatoes, chicken broth, onion, garlic, cream cheese, and some pepper.

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  4. This is one of my favourites -

    http://www.snoskred.org/2013/01/coconut-mango-chicken.html

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    1. That sounds good but I think it's for a pressure cooker

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  5. I take frozen chicken breasts and put them directly in the crock pot. I add a jar of salsa (mild), a package of taco seasoning mix, a can of black beans (drained and rinse) and some frozen corn. Cook it on low all day. I get home and I have Mexican chicken ready to go. Shred it with a fork, put it on a burrito or taco shell with some shredded cheese, and you have dinner. PS BUY SLOW COOKER LINERS! Seriously, they'll make you love your crock pot even more because then you don't really have to clean your crock pot!

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  6. Dice up as many potatoes as you want (I use red skin-on, about 4-5), scatter in the bottom of the crock. Put hunk o' beef on top (whichever roast is cheapest), & put any remaining potatoes around the sides. Toss some baby carrots around the top edges. Sprinkle one packet of onion soup mix on top of everything. Cook on low all darn day. Enjoy super tender & yummy pot roast. I make this in a 5 quart crock. You may have to buy either a very small roast or cut in half.

    Ditto on the liners. LOVE them.

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    1. This is actually the one recipe that I already make in the crockpot, but I usually add diced tomatoes.

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    2. Do you add any water or broth, Becky?

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    3. I'll do roast with potatoes and baby carrots, but mix together two cans of cream of mushroom soup and a package of french onion soup mix and pour that over. Cook on low all day--best roast EVER. It makes its own gravy. No need to add water or broth, either!

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  7. Buy Better Than Bouillon. It's technically a soup base mix but it's made of real stuff, not a bunch of chemicals (then I'm sure they put chemicals in). I buy the reduced salt which happens to be organic, but I just buy it so I can control the salt myself. This stuff makes fantastic broth. I use it for stew, for chicken pot pie, for soup, for the filling of my eastern european dumplings that are not pierogi. Any place I need full bodied flavoring I use it. It works great for slow cookers. It comes in a huge variety of flavors, just do a search and you'll find the website for it. I buy the big containers at Costco.

    You can make chicken soup/chicken stew by following your basic recipe for beef stew and just sub chicken/chicken broth for the beef.

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  8. 4-5 Chicken breasts plus 1 jar of your favorite salsa, cook --> Shred, add cheese and a burrito shell! :-) MMmmmmmm

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  9. Weird. Even my yard sale old-school crockpot had a removable bowl to wash.

    Putting the entire unit in the sink doesn't seem safe or a good idea at all. Poor design.

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    1. I know, it's awful. I bought the crockpot at a drugstore on a whim, not sure if I would ever use it.

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    2. One of those things too I'm sure that don't become apparent until you use it once.

      "Wait a minute. Ah, fudge...."

      I have an old hand blender that is like this too, with no removable parts. It's great to use, but it's such a pain to clean that I don't use it again for a couple of months until the memory of how annoying it is starts to fade.

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  10. Thank you everyone for the recipes!

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  11. To Die For Pot Roast that actually lives up to its name:

    http://www.food.com/recipe/to-die-for-crock-pot-roast-27208

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    1. Yes, it really does live up to it's name! I've been making it like this for awhile now and everyone loves it. My crockpot is a life line...breakfast, dinner whatever...working full-time is crazy enough, at least I can cook a decent meal relatively easy

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  12. I like Stephanie O'Dey's crock pot site: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com. Back in 2008 she tried a new crock pot recipe every day for the whole year. The recipes and reviews are still available and she's posted new recipes since.

    I also use my crock pot for prep work. I'll cook up a bunch of chicken breasts or thighs and chop and freeze them for use in recipes later. Same goes for a giant batch of meatballs, sloppy joes, taco meat, etc. I've also cooked beans in the crock pot and my best batches of homemade yoghurt have been from the crock pot.

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  13. Pulled pork is another good one..I have a 5qt and usually use a 2lb tenderloin (any cut will do, I believe, just trim most of the fat) and then 1 bottle of BBQ sauce and either the juice of 1 orange or about 1/2 a beer. Cook all day and shred.

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  14. My mom just gave me a recipe that I'm going to give a try soon:

    Slow cooker chicken dinner

    4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
    1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup - undiluted
    1/3 cup milk
    1 package (6 oz) stuffing mix
    1 2/3 cup water

    (either use a crock pot liner or use PAM non stick spray to coat pot) my mom's note!

    1. place chicken in crock pot. combine soup and milk in bowl, mix well. pour soup mixture over chicken
    2. combine stuffing mix and water. spoon stuffing over chicken. cover. cook on low for 6-8 hours

    Seems easy enough for even me to do, and I'm not a good cook. We'll see!

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  15. Crockpot carnitas! You can make it a taco night and the leftovers taste great.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/pork-carnitas-recipe.html

    FYI I don't bother with the cumin and oregano. Just season well with salt and pepper and add a bay leaf. All you really need is garlic, onions, an orange/orange juice, lime, and a jalapeƱo. Just make sure you fry it a bit before serving so that you have some crispy bits. So easy and delicious.

    I hear this recipe is really good also. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/03/spicy-dr-pepper-shredded-pork/

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  16. Bbq chicken wings. Cook them on 500 in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. Throw them in the crockpot, dump sauce in it & cook on medium for 4-5 hours. I think the oven step, cuts down on the cooking time in the crockpot. You can do this with ribs too.

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  17. Chili is a good crockpot dish. You just need meat, beans (canned is fine), tomatoes (again, canned), onions & peppers if you want, and spices (chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt & pepper, maybe cayenne and some sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic). You can adjust it really easily, eg add corn, use different meat or types of tomatoes or beans.
    For example:
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Its-Chili-by-George/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=14766

    Also spaghetti sauce. Meat + tomatoes + onion if you want + typical Italian spices (oregano, thyme, basil) + enough water to keep it from burning + sugar if necessary.

    I always brown the meat before putting it in the crock pot - for ground meat, it drains some of the grease out, and for a roast, it keeps the flavor in the meat better.

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  18. I've moved on from the crock pot ... to the pressure cooker! I know, I know. After seeing what happened to my mother (severe burns caused by escaping steam) and the kitchen ceiling of my childhood home (a hole in it when the whistling pressure thingamabob took off and went into orbit), I swore - with the same fervency I usually reserve for handguns - I would never, ever have have one of those dangerous things in my home.

    Time goes on, cookware improves, and there are now safety mechanisms for people like me (or you). I tried using crockpots for years, but for the rare pot of chili, I never liked the results or the time factor. Yes, the time factor!

    Picture this: We have finished eating dinner and feeling content in that post-prandial sort of way. The girls are bathed and snuggly in their PJs and books are being read ... and damn! I still have to drag out the pots and pans to brown the meat and prepare the veggies for tomorrows stew, find someplace in my always overcrowded fridge to store the beastly crockpot, and then wash the pots and pans I used to create my labor-saving masterpiece. I will put it on the stove tomorrow morning and will come home to a dinner of decent stew meat with mushy potatoes and carrots in a wimpy broth. (I took to cooking the stringbeans separately).

    Voila! Enter the pressure cooker! Yes, you still have to prepare the meat and veggies, but once you get it in the pot, that stew will be ready to eat in 30 min! Or a pot roast in just a few more minutes. Once you learn the tricks to the pot, I believe you will never eat another soggy potato again. TCG

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    1. Actually I love soggy vegetables. I cook the hell out of them.

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