Sunday, November 03, 2013

This One is for Slow Cooking Stephanie

I have been sad for the past couple weeks because my scrapbooking friend Mary passed away.  She had a very challenging last 11 months after discovering she had kidney cancer that had metastasized to her brain.  I can't write about Mary right now though.  I was just at her funeral yesterday and it is still too fresh.  Maybe some other time.

Eating: Today's post was inspired by my good friend Stephanie who has recently acquired a crock pot, aka slow cooker.  I volunteered to send her some recipes and then for the past few weeks have neglected to send them.  So, being lazy resourceful, I figured I would dedicate a blog post to my favorite crock pot recipes and send Steph a link.  I know there are lots of blogs entirely devoted to crock pot recipes.  You can read those if you like.  This is not one of them.

Chicken Stew
I blogged this one before, but it is so yummy, I will post it again. I received this recipe in a flyer for a grocery delivery service.

1 to 1.5# chicken breast, cut into 1-2" pieces
1 t olive oil
28 oz Pot Roast Mix (or 1 large onion, 5 medium potatoes, 2 carrots and 2 stalks celery, all chopped into large chunks)
1 t poultry seasoning
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
2/3 C flour
1/2 C frozen peas
1/4 C parsley, chopped

Saute chicken pieces in olive oil for 3-4 minutes until chicken browns just on the outside. Place chicken in bottom of crockpot. Add vegetables (except peas), poultry seasoning, salt and chicken broth. Combine flour and whipping cream and whisk together. Add to crockpot. Stir all ingredients together to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 5 hours. 5 minutes before serving, stir in peas and fresh parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread or biscuits and a salad.

Hamburger Soup
This one was also posted in one of my soup posts awhile back.  Since it is so easy, though, I feel I need to post again.  I like recipes that use the "dump into the crock pot" method, without having to brown stuff.  Only a paragraph long, how can you not love this one?  This recipe came from Kate whose children I babysat back in about 1995.

Crumble 1 lb ground beef into slow-cooker. Add 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp seasoned salt, and 1 envelope onion soup mix. Stir in 3 C boiling water, 8 oz can tomato sauce, 1 Tbls soy sauce. Add 1 C sliced celery and 1 C thinly sliced carrots. Cover an cook on low 6-8 hours. Turn on high - add 1 C macaroni (cooked) and 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes.

Crock Pot Chicken
As you may know, we have been getting a chicken share (like a share of a CSA but it is whole chickens) from a local chicken guy (we call him Dave the Chicken Man) the past couple of years.  Until that time, I had never cooked a whole chicken before.  We have tried a few roast chicken recipes.  This one is the easiest I have found.  The chicken comes out so tender it literally falls off the bone (please note, this is the correct sense of the term "literally" whereby I mean that if you pick the chicken up by, say, the end of the drumstick/leg bone, the meat will separate itself from the bone and you will be left holding a completely nude bone).  You could adjust the seasonings to your own preferences and tastes but we really liked the strong smoked paprika flavor of this.  We used Penzey's Smoked Spanish Paprika, of course.  The recipe came from a website called "100 days of real food".  I can't tell if the author of that website created the recipe or just posted it. 

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 onion
1 chicken (3-4 pounds)

Roughly chop 1 onion and place in crockpot.  Mix together seasonings and rub over the chicken, including under the skin (it really helps get the flavor into the meat when it is rubbed under the skin). Cook on High for 4-5 hours.  We make gravy from the drippings in pan and serve with mashed potatoes and a veggie on the side.

BBQ Pulled Pork
This one is so easy, I hesitate to even add it.  But I love pulled pork and I know Steph is a fan also.  Making it in the slow cooker, you lose the nice bark that you would get cooking it the traditional way, but it is so much easier.  This recipe is based on one seen on "Closet Cooking".

Place a pork butt (about 3#) in the crockpot.  Add 1/2 C of your favorite BBQ sauce.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove pork and let it cool slightly.  Skim fat off the juices.  Simmer juices to reduce and add as much of the juice as you like to another 1/2 C BBQ sauce.  Pull (aka shred) the pork using 2 forks.  Mix with the BBQ sauce/juice mixture.  Serve on buns with some creamy cole slaw.

I have read that you can use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer to pull/shred pork and chicken but have not tried it.  E is really good at shredding, so he usually does it, using the 2-fork method.

And there you have 4 crock pot recipes to try.  Bon Apetit, Stephanie!

Until we eat again,

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