Search Results for crockpot
Okay, I love $5 Dinners–great site, great ideas. But occasionally she posts things I’d rather not know about. Like this amazing-looking recipe for crockpot mocha pudding cake.
I’m not going to go that far into the worlds of not-at-all-good-for-you…after all, that recipe calls for more than a cup of sugar and a whole stick of butter, and no good can come of such things. (Hmm. That sounded unconvincing, even to me.)
What I will do is try to make a variation on this recipe, in my first foray into crockpot “baking.” This evening, assuming I can get the burned rice pudding out of my crock (left it in there too long), I’m going to try the following:
Crockpot Banana Chocolate Pudding Cake
In a bowl, mix:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- (maybe 2/3 cup chocolate chips, but we won’t talk about that…)
Pour into well-buttered crockpot, cover, and cook on low 2-2 1/2 hours. Turn off, let sit (still covered) another 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt or, who am I kidding, vanilla ice cream.
I’ll be back tonight with a review…check back when the Oscars get boring!
UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to come back and add that review! Okay, here we go: It was pretty good, though I overcooked it (ran the full 2 1/2 hour time) and instead of a pudding cake kind of thing it was more of a dense heavy flourless-y (though it did have flour) kind of thing. I didn’t care for it; my husband and kids thought it was delicious. So next time I’ll err more to the 2 hour time frame…flavor-wise, though, it was very very nice. A keeper, I think!
Okay, this may be one of the coolest things ever:
This is so neat–this blogger has apparently done a series on using Kool-Aid to dye yarn in cool variegated patterns. I’ve never tried it, but it looks absolutely awesome. You have to use natural fibers (or they won’t hold the color), but otherwise it looks sort of foolproof. (I say that having not tried it.)
Who knew that there was something one could do with Kool-Aid (provided one has enough sense not to drink it):-)
I’ve posted about this before, but over the past year and a half I’ve refined the recipe a good bit. This is one of our favorite crockpot meals, and one of the few that actually gets semi-rave reviews from my mostly taciturn husband. (His idea of “praise” is “This isn’t bad.” Humph.)
So, another really good toss-it-in-and-have-dinner-by-nightfall meal:
Chicken Mushroom Piccata Recipe
Place the following in the crockpot, more or less in order:
- as many chicken pieces, boneless or not, as will fit into the pot. I did 4 breasts and 3 large boneless thighs. Frozen is fine, better even if your pot cooks hot.
- Prepare the night before in a bowl if you want to be really quick in the morning: half a pound sliced mushrooms, half a chopped onion, 2-3 tbs capers, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp black pepper, a couple of shakes hot pepper sauce (optional, but we like spiciness), 1/2 tsp salt (also optional), 1/2 cup white wine or sherry, 2 tbs lemon juice. Before cooking, dump all this into the pot with the chicken.
- 2-3 thin lemon slices placed on top (or maybe a little lemon zest instead?) if you want to be really fancy. (I pretty much always skip this step.)
Cook on low 8 hours or so. Serve over rice or pasta. If you like thicker sauce, you can make a slurry out of equal parts cool water and flour, drizzled into the crock while stirring, to thicken. Up to you…
That’s it. (I should specify that I didn’t really measure any of this stuff, just sort of glug-glugged and guessed. I doubt it matters much.) Keep in mind that the ingredient list is fairly fluid–in order for it to be “piccata” I think you sort of need the capers and lemon juice. A vegetarian could probably double the shrooms and skip the chicken. You could use red wine instead of white and then you’d call it Coq au Vin (although there’s a better recipe for that here). The paprika is one of my favorite things, but it’s not absolutely necessary. But this is delicious and company-worthy. Or just something nice for dinner that you can then eat for the next few days, or stretch into soup, or all kinds of things.
I love fall, when the crockpot comes out…
Last Saturday we went apple picking. One of our annual pilgrimages.
We now have an unimaginable number of apples in our garage–I will be canning and saucing and preserving for weeks. I’ll try to throw up some recipes as I go…
This is the first, and the easiest: Apple Butter made in the crockpot. The best part of this is that you don’t have to peel the apples or run it through the food mill. And if you have one of those stick immersion blenders you don’t even have to take it out of the crockpot at any point in the process. It takes some babysitting, but other than that it’s incredibly easy.
Crockpot Apple Butter
Cut up enough apples to fill your crockpot (mine’s a 5-quart). Leave peels on unless you really want to remove them.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Add spices (for mine I did about 1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger, with a few sprinkles of ground clove) and brown or white sugar to taste (how much depends on how sweet your apples are). Stir well
Blend with an immersion blender till smooth. (Or remove to a blender or food processor in batches.)
With the lid offset a little, or propped open with a chopstick, continue to cook on low for a few more hours, stirring every hour or so (though you probably don’t need to). When it gets thick enough that you can drop a spoonful into it and have it stay mounded, you’re done. Turn off crockpot.
Can in a hot water bath by whatever instructions you want to use–this got me about 2 pints total of apple butter; just under, actually.
Give this a try…it’s really easy. And by the way, if you start it the night before you can let it sit on warm overnight and then start up again in the morning.
It’s soup weather. I love it.
The other day I made a huge crockpot full of minestrone soup. Again, one of those colossally easy recipes I can’t resist making from time to time. We ate it for dinner twice and then froze two quarts of it to thaw as needed for single dinners.
Giant Buttload of Crockpot Minestrone
In the morning before you get on your insanely early train, throw into your biggest crockpot, more or less in order:
- a bag of frozen bell peppers
- a chopped onion (chop the night before)
- a handful each chopped carrots and celery (chop the night before)
- a few cups frozen zucchini and/or green beans
- (you get the idea–just fill the damn thing with frozen or chopped vegetables)
- 2 cans white beans, drained
- 1 large can diced tomatoes in juice
- 3-6 cloves mashed garlic (I use the stuff from a jar)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1-2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (pour it over the top. Stop before it overflows. It’s not brain surgery.)
Set to cook on low for about 8 hours.
When you come home, give it a stir. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup prepared pasta sauce and a dollop of basil pesto or a frozen cube of fresh chopped basil, if you have it, and mix it in well. (If not, no biggie.)
If desired, toss in a handful of orzo pasta or rice half an hour before serving; alternatively, decide to make minestrone in the first place because you had leftover pasta in the fridge from last night’s dinner and toss that in. Or leave it out. It’s your soup.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top and some lovely fresh bread.
Freeze portions to take to work, or eat through the winter.
Okay, I hit on something fairly awesome today. (In the category of “how am I going to not resort to processed foods/too much takeout when I don’t have time to cook” category.)
I found a quart of chili in the freezer, in one of those quart containers you get yogurt in, that I’d cooked who knows when and frozen for later use. I discovered that when I took it out of the container, it the quart-sized cylindrical Chilisicle just fits into my smallest crockpot. Which I put the lid on, turned onto “low,” and ignored for about 7 hours.
So easy. That’s the main problem with cook-in-quantity-and-freeze–you have to remember to get something out of the freezer early enough. But now I have a solution to that one. (Okay, I still have to remember in the morning, but it’s not two days before, right?)
Last spring I bought a fourth crockpot. I know, it’s a sickness. But there it was at the yard sale, practically brand-new, and in a much different size than any of my other crockpots–this one was only 1 1/2 or 2 quarts, as opposed to my ginormous 5 and 6 quart ones. I’ve actually used it a lot, when I just want to make a single meal’s worth of something, as opposed to the cooking-in-quantity-to-freeze kinds of meals I make in my other ones.
So this is just a new side benefit to it. Guess one can always use another crockpot.
Okay, remember when I discovered that putting 8 cups of milk, 8 tbs. sugar, a bunch of spices, and about a cup (honestly, half a cup would probably be just fine) of arborio rice into the crockpot on low for a few hours made a delicious rice pudding?
Today I discovered what happens when, after it’s cooked, you dump a cup of chocolate chips in and stir till they’re melted.
This was another of those happy experimental things…it turned out absolutely delicious…
Crockpot Curried Lentil Soup
Into the crockpot, dump the following unceremoniously:
- a bag of frozen bell peppers and onions, or 1 bell pepper and 1 onion (or more) chopped up
- 1 cup green (or other) lentils, rinsed and picked
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 tbs curry powder, or 1 tbs curry powder and 1 tbs garam masala
- 1 quart broth of choice (chicken or vegetable)
This is an intriguing idea.
I admit I am skeptical.
Risotto–real, delicious Italian risotto, is one of life’s delights. Cooking nutty starch-exuding arborio rice by pouring in a little hot liquid at a time, letting it soak it up and then adding more, while the steam cooks off and the whole thing just gets more and more intensely flavored, playing with different seasonings and add-ins and yummy seasonal veggies and what-all else…and then stirring some lovely Parmesan into it at the end…just, wow. And not nearly as hard or labor intensive as it sounds, especially if you can get a Spousal Unit to help someone with their homework or break up the kids’ fighting or even start that load of laundry (“I can’t, honey! I have to stir the risotto!”)
But let’s face it, the crockpot is way less labor-intensive than the real deal. So I wonder if it would be anywhere nearly as good?
Stephanie the Crockpot Goddess (must bookmark that site! Steph has made practically anything you can think of in her crockpot, and she’ll tell you whether it worked or not!) made risotto in her crock for today’s post, and according to her it was “luscious and creamy” and “the ultimate comfort food.” I have not had the opportunity to try this yet, but it sounds like a good idea…I make rice pudding in my crockpot using arborio rice all the time, and that is delicious, so I would think this would be nice too…but part of what’s so lovely about really good risotto is the nice creamy-yet-al-dente texture it has, and I’d be afraid the crockpot would get it too mooshy. If you give it a try before I do, post a comment and let us know how it went!
(p.s…for the next few days I’ll be out of town, leaving the Children and the Man to fend for themselves and also deliberately not taking my laptop computer with me, just my tablet and some books. I’m thinking this will be good for me…but there will not be any more posts this week, most likely…I’ll get back into the swing of things again soon!)
The thing I love most about my crockpot is the ability, in one swell foop, to make several days worth of adaptable and varied meals. We just did meal two of yesterday’s Crockpot Green Chili…and I’m looking forward to number three.
Here’s how it shakes down:
The Master Meal: Crockpot Green Chili
Into a crockpot, throw the following:
- 1 bag frozen bell peppers and onions (or 1-2 cut up bell peppers and 1 large onion, or however much you want)
- 2 cans white beans, drained (0r 3-4 cups cooked beans, if you do it yourself)
- 2-ish lbs frozen chicken pieces
- 3-6 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tsp ground cumin
Over this, pour:
- 1 large jar green salsa
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (note that prepared salsa and broth have a lot of salt in them, and your final result could be too salty if you’re not careful)
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice. (If you’d like, make a slurry out of a few tbs. cornstarch or flour and enough water to make a smooth liquid, and dump into the crock, stirring well as you add it, about 10 minutes before stirring; this gives you a more gravy-like consistency.)
Okay, so that’s the basic recipe. You can totally mess around with ingredients, and there’s not really any need to measure anything. If you like more meat and less veggies, do that. If you want to leave the chicken out all together–hey, why not?
Day Two: Tortilla Soup
Additional Ingredients: veggie broth, crushed tortilla chips, optional grated cheese and sour cream/yogurt cheese
We did this for lunch instead of dinner; easy-peasy!
- In a saucepan heat about 2 cups leftover chili with 1 cup low sodium veggie or chicken broth, till hot.
- Place a small handful of crumbled tortilla chips in a bowl. Ladle soup over chips.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of grated cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt cheese)
It’s a nasty rainy day, and this really hit the spot. How filling it is depends on how thick your soup is and how much chips-and-cheese you add…
Day Three: Chicken Enchiladas
Additional ingredients: corn tortillas, grated cheese, optional sour cream or yogurt cheese
And by now we’re on the last day…this is easier if you sort of ladle out the “solid” leftovers (the chicken, beans, and veggies) from the sauce before you start.
- Roll a ladleful of beans-and-chicken in each corn tortilla, place in baking dish
- Over top of rolls, pour the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or so, or until cheese is melted and inside of enchiladas is hot. (If you warm the filling before you start, you can cut this to probably 20 minutes in the oven.)
If you don’t feel like doing the enchiladas, you could probably get another batch of soup out of this, and make chicken tacos or burritos out of the leftover solid fillings…
Think of the possibilities here–almost any sauce-and-veggie-and-maybe-meat crockpot offering can get repurposed as soup the second day by adding the appropriate broth type, and then the third by turning into a casserole with some form of starch–noodle or spaghetti casserole, stuffed into pasta shells, rice or barley, even a pot pie kind of thing. This way you don’t get bored eating the same thing for a week…
Bon appetit! Please, if you have any other one-cooking-time-multiple-meals tricks, leave ‘em in the comments!