Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Love My Crock Pot

As a chef, even the most "routine" hours are long and hard...they are always inconsistent even when scheduled; and that makes cooking at home on a daily basis hard, especially for dinner. 

I'm obsessed with slow cooker recipes and have been trying them out a lot more recently.  Three of my favorites are below and can be found in the Taste of Home Slow Cooker cookbook.  My adaptations and adjustments have been shared as well.  I hope you try them because they are absolutely delicious.

Happy Cooking!!!

Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms
Prep: 10 minutes / Cook: 5 Hours

Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms Recipe
  • 3/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (I have also used chicken breasts!)
  • 1-6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup merlot or additional chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca (I used cornstarch and/or flour; both worked well)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil (I used Italian seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Hot cooked pasta, optional
  1. Place the mushrooms, onion and garlic in a 5 qt. slow cooker.  Top with chicken.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, broth, wine, tapioca, sugar, basil, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Serve with pasta if desired. 
Yield: 5 servings.

Forgotten Minestrone
Prep: 15 minutes / Cook: 7-1/2 Hours

Forgotten Minestrone Recipe
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I left mine meatless)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1 beef bouillon cube (I used vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (I used the shredded coleslaw mix in the salad aisle of your markets produce section)
  • 1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. In a 5 qt. slow cooker, combine the meat, tomatoes, onion, parsley, salt if desired, thyme, bouillon, pepper and water.  Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until meat is tender.
  2. Add the zucchini, cabbage, beans and macaroni; cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  (I omitted the pasta and put all items together on low for the full 7-9 hours).
  3. Sprinkle each serving with cheese if desired. 
Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).

Polish Kraut and Apples
Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 4 Hours

Polish Kraut and Apples Recipe
  • 1-14 ounce can sauerkraut, rinsed well and drained
  • 1-16 ounce package smoked Polish sausage or kielbasa, cut into chunks (I used Turkey Kielbasa)
  • 3 medium tart apples, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 caraway seeds, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  1. Place half of the sauerkraut in a 3 qt. slow cooker.  Top with sausage, apples, brown sugar, caraway seeds if desired and pepper.  Top with remaining sauerkraut.  Pour apple juice over all.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the apples are tender.
Yield: 4 servings.

Note: I added 2 canned of whole peeled potatoes to make a  complete meal!

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