Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More fun with Meatballs for Parties

Here are a couple more quick and easy recipes for your crock pot slow cooker. Either one sounds like it would be big hit at a Super Bowl party.

Start with a three pound bag of pre-made frozen meatballs from the frozen meat section of your supermarket. A 1 quart jar of your favorite spagetti sauce (you can extend it with a can of diced tomatoes with italian seasoning). That's it. 4-8 hours on high in the crock pot. Either call them hors d'oeurves with a shot glass full of fancy toothpicks, or supply sub rolls and a stack of sliced provolone cheese for meatball sandwiches. Depends on the crowd.

For a variation on the theme - use a jar of sweet & sour sauce from the oriental aisle in place of the spagetti sauce and add some diced pineapple in the last 45 minutes.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Slow Cooked Super Bowl Meatballs

I probably won't be making this for the superbowl, because I have some vegetarians attending. However, this recipe is super easy and involves no pre-cooking.

1 16-ounce can cheese sauce (may use mild nacho cheese sauce). Velvetta pre-melted in the microwave would also work.
1 1-ounce package taco seasoning
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1-pound package frozen cooked meatballs (plain, not Italian)

Mix cheese, taco seasoning, and tomatoes. Put meatballs in slow cooker and cover with cheese mixture. Cook on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Source: Pro Pots Football Slow Cooker recipes

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Calphalon Crepe Pan on sale. Spoil yourself.

I know this is becoming something of a kitchen appliance blog, I promise there will be more recipe and slow cooker hints coming soon. However, this is a deal that might just be too good for some of you to pass up.

If you are a Sunday morning breakfast person then you probably enjoy beautiful crepes stuffed with fruit, chocolate, preserves, or any number of delicious fillings. If you're like me, you've been looking for a great way to make consistant crepes. Well, this may not be the ultimate crepe maker, but at a price this low, I was unable to pass it up.

This list price is $85.00 but Amazon has a limited time sale where you can save 55% and pay just $29.99 with free shipping to get this excellent Calphalon Commercial Nonstick 10-Inch International Griddle/Crepe Pan.

If you already own a Crepe Pan, then here's a recipe you can try out.

4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup milk (2% or higher)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

Measure all ingredients in to blender; blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides. Blend for 15 seconds more. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. (This helps the flour absorb more of the liquids.)

Pour approximately 1/4 cup into the center of heated non-stick pan and tilt pan until crepe mixture reaches all corners. As corners begin to brown you may have to lift slightly. Once crepe is completely sliding around, flip for 10 seconds, then add to warm plate in oven while other crepes cook.

Makes 12-14 crepes.

Recipe Variations:

For a Sweeter crepe:
Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Slow Cook BBQ Appliance

Too cold to BBQ outside? Live in an apartment with no outside deck? Then you need the Rival Crock Pot BBQ Pit - model BB100.

This dandy kitchen appliance holds up to 7 Pound Roast, 2 chickens, or 3 Slabs of Ribs. Has High and Low Settings, so you can set it and forget it. It's durable stoneware pan is dishwasher safe & removable for easy clean up.

The BB100 Model is on sale for $79.99 right now a savings of 20%. The BB200 Model is also on sale for $82.95 a savings of 36%. Both items are getting good reviews and I'll post back with a few of my own once mine arrives.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crock Pot Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew is a southern dish that began as something simple for hunters to make while in the field. The meat they used was usually Rabbit or Squirrel (now dem's good eatin!), but for modern purposes we use Chicken or a combination of Chicken and Pulled Pork.

1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1 can tomato paste
3 cups chicken cubed and cooked
1 pkg frozen succotash
1 pkg. frozen okra sliced (to taste)
1 cup onions chopped
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon rosemary; dried and crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 dash ground cloves
2 1/2 cup chicken broth

In slow cooker, stir together diced tomatoes with juice and tomato paste. Add chicken, frozen succotash, sliced okra, onion, bay leaf, salt, rosemary, pepper and cloves. Stir in chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir well. Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sweet & Spicy Kielbasa

A tasty easy to make recipe that can be served as an appetizer, entree, or side dish.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp spicy mustard
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 lbs smoked kielbasa, cut into 2 inch pieces

Combine first three ingredients in small slow cooker. Add Kielbasa, stirring to coat.
Cover and cook on low 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Slow Cook Scalloped Potatoes

Here's an interesting recipe for Scalloped Potatos.

1 16-oz. bag frozen potatoes (use the cubed kind)
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook for about 6 to 8 hours on low, stirring at least once to loosen potatoes.

Variations: I'm think you could use fresh potatoes cut medium thick on a mandolin and adjust the cook time to 3-4 hours on high. You might also want to substitute real cream or evaporated milk instead of the mushroom soup. Finally, I love sauted onions in my scalloped potatoes. I would substitute those in place of the onion flakes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Slow Cooked French Dip

1 beef chuck or rump roast (I use rump roast--shreds easier)
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 whole peppercorns

Serve in split french rolls

Mix all in crockpot. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or till beef is tender. Remove meat from broth; shred w/fork & keep warm. Strain broth and skim off fat. Use broth for dipping sandwiches.

Variations: Add diced and sauted onions 4 hours into cooking. Use beef broth instead of water and reduce Soy Sauce to 2 tsp.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Recipe Test: Mac & Cheese

Decided to test a recipe this weekend for the football playoffs. (Btw, Go SeaHawks!!!) I whipped together this Mac and Cheese recipe in my Rival Crock-Pot, let it cook for 5.5 hours and then we enjoyed. I think I've determined that the high setting on my crock-pot is a bit hotter than it should be. As the dish was really done about 4.5 hours into the cooking. But your mileage may vary with that.

As for the taste, my fellow football fans weren’t complaining, but I found it just a little lacking. I think next time I’m going to try this modification of the recipe and I’ll let you know how it works. This is similar to the recipe I usually bake in the oven.

Slow-cooked Macaroni and Cheese.

8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese – divided (I like sharp cheddar)
1 cup shredded sharp white cheese mix (gruyere, edam, havarti, romano, or other sharp white mixture.)
1 cup white onion – sliced and lightly caramelized.
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (black will do fine if you don’t have white pepper)

Slice onions into two-inch strips. In frying pan, sauté in butter until onions are translucent with deep brown edges. Beat eggs and liquid then add salt, pepper, and 2 cups of cheddar cheese and one cup of the white cheese mix. Spray slow cooker with nonstick vegetable spray. Add macaroni, onions, and mixture to crock pot. Stir well then sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Cover and cook on the high setting for 4 to 5 hours or until the mixture is firm and golden around the edges. Do not remove the cover or stir until the macaroni has finished cooking. Serves 5-6.

Serve with Texas Toast and Applesauce for an all yellow comfort food meal.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Spinach Souffle

40 ounces frozen chopped spinach - thawed and drained
1/2 cup onion - diced and sauteed
16 ounces cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs - beaten
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg OR 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed.

Mix spinach with onion. Beat remaining ingredients and blend in spinach mixture. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased crock pot and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. Serves 10-12.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Slow Cookers are Hot Again

Ah-ha, I'm on the crest of a wave, ahead of the trend, living on the edge. Yep. The Christian Science Monitor is running a story that claims Slow Cookers are coming back into fashion. Soon you'll see them on every street corner, like baggy pants. Madonna will release one in her special design, then a diamond encrusted one will be available at Spago's. After that the trend is pretty much over.

But until that time you can enjoy the tasty recipe for Brunswick Stew (once made with squirrels instead of chicken... ew!!!!) at the end of the story...

4 pounds of bone-in chicken parts, such as thighs or drumsticks, skin removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes, including liquid
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen lima beans
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
Dash or two of Tabasco or hot sauce.
Chopped parsley or toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Have ready a three-quart or larger slow cooker. Rinse chicken parts under cold water; pat dry. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Add all vegetables to slow cooker. Place chicken on top of vegetables and add the broth. Add hot sauce. Cover and cook on low temperature for 8 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Serve topped with parsley or breadcrumbs. Serves 6 to 8.

I'd recommend leaving out the bones and use diced chicken meat. Smokey Bones has a wicked Brunswick Stew if you're ever in the area, btw.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

All Day Macoroni and Cheese

Here's another recipe for slow-cooked Macaroni and Cheese. It's not too different from the previous recipe except it adds eggs.

8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese -- divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place the cooked macaroni in a crock pot that has been coated with nonstick vegetable spray. Add the remaining ingredients except 1 cup of the cheese; beating eggs into liquid mix first. Mix well. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, then cover and cook on the Low setting for 5 to 6 hours or until the mixture is firm and golden around the edges. Do not remove the cover or stir until the macaroni has finished cooking.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cheese Dip: A Report

I made the following dip for tonight's NFL Wildcard Playoff game.

16 oz Velvetta Block
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
8 oz Salsa or Picante Sauce
2 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Tabasco (if you like it hot!)

Cubed cream cheese and Velvetta in 1 inch cubes, put in microwave bowl for 2 minutes to get the melting process started. Sprayed interior of Crock Pot or Slow Cooker with cooking oil. Set Slow Cooker on high. Mix Cheeses, Salsa and Worcestershire sauce in cooker, cover. Stir ever 10 minutes or so until completely melted. Switch Slow Cooker to low. Serve from crock pot or dish. Continue to stir remaining sauce occaisionally to keep surface from getting hard.

Got very good reviews at the football party.

Velvetta Cheese Dip Ideas

The Velvetta Cheese has been much maligned in its many incarnations. However, I don't think you can deny that when melted and mixed with a little salsa (in a 2:1 ratio) it makes a pretty decent Cheese Dip. But what can you add to kick your dip up a notch? Here, are some ideas.

One idea is to skip the salsa and add your own mix of fresh diced tomatoes, green peppers, and jalopenos. There's also the old standbys of Tabasco Sauce and/or Worcestershire Sauce. But be careful with those, a little goes a long way.

Some people like to add cooked and crumbled sausage, diced ham, or hamburger. Here's a recipe that calls for:
16 oz Velvetta
1 sm. can Hormel chili (with or without beans)
1 tsp. butter
1 sm. or medium onion, diced
1 sm. can chopped green chilies
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Can also use:
Salsa, mild or hot
Mild taco sauce
Small can stewed tomatoes

I really like the idea of chili and or onion. That sounds good.

To heat up your velvetta cheese dip in a crock pot, cube your velvetta into 1 inch squares, mix with salsa in crock pot and cook on low until melted. Add additional seasonings (cilantro, etc) in the last 1/2 hour.

Enjoy with a good football game.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Slow Cook Mac & Cheese

After yesterday's post on Mac & Cheese I went looking for a slow cooker recipe that sounds good. Not only does this one sound good it's super easy.

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs with fresh and evaporated milks. Mix in uncooked macaroni and 3cups shredded cheese. Transfer to slow cooker, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
3. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Do not stir or remove lid while cooking.

A recipe like this calls for good Cheddar Cheese too. I recommend the Tillamook brand. Start in the morning when you wake up and it should be ready by halftime of the first playoff game. (Go Seahawks!)

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Football Crock Pot

Hosting a Football Playoff Party or the Big Superbowl Party and need that special touch to complete the theming? Then try this Select Brands Pro Pots Football Design Slow Cooker.

Football Flavors: Chili Bean Dip

Football Playoffs start this weekend. If you're having a party, or need to bring some food to one, this is an easy recipe to whip up and will have the crowds going wild.

1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz. jar mild picante sauce
2 cans refried beans
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 Cup chopped onion
Jalapenos or mild chilies to taste
8 oz. cheddar cheese shredded
8 oz. sour cream

Brown ground beef and onion in a pan. Drain and add to crockpot. Add beans, picante sauce, jalapenos (if using) and chili powder. Turn on low and cook for 2 - 3 hours. Add cheese and sour cream last 1/2 hour.

Serve with thostortilla chips.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Moskin on Mac and Cheese

The New York Times food writer Julia Moskin has a delightfully written and, in my experience, dead on article on the hunt for the perfect home made Macaroni and Cheese.
Plain American cheese, labeled pasteurized process cheese, contains the most natural cheese and is the best for cooking. American cheese derivatives are made from cheese and additives like sodium phosphates (acids that promote melting), nonfat dry milk and carrageenan. In descending order of their relationship to natural cheese, they are cheese food, cheese spread (such as Velveeta) and cheese product.
The article itself doesn't end up with a recipe, but I intend to follow the trail and will post back with what I find.

Easy Chicken and Creamed Vegetables

This one is as easy as it gets.

4-6 boneless breasts of chicken or 3 lbs boneless thighs
1 package frozen corn and/or
1 package frozen veggies
2 cans Cream of Corn
2 cloves garlic or 1 tbsp crushed ginger (optional)

Add veggies and garlic/ginger. Lay chicken on top and pour on cream soup. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Crock Pot King at Pauper Price

The Rival SCC658-W 6.5 Qt. Oval SmartPot Programmable Crock-Pot is the big daddy version of the pot I am currently using at home. Right now you can buy it on Amazon for just $29.99, save 40%, and get free shipping. You won't find a better deal than that.

Some Features:
  • SmartPot timer makes it easy to set cooking times.
  • 6.5 Qt. of cooking space for big meals
  • Countdown timer that displays how much cooking time is left
  • Bonus Duet insert for cooking two dishes at once
This might just replace the old Rival on my kitchen counter if I can find a few extra bucks laying around.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Beef & Broccoli

I'm not a huge fan of Beef and Broccoli at my local chinese take-out, but for those who are, please try this recipe and let me know what you think.

1 1/2 lbs. boneless round steak; cubed
4.5 oz. jar sliced mushrooms; drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup beef broth
3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

Combine beef, mushrooms, onion, broth and teriyaki sauce in crockpot. Cover; cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 Tbsp. of water 35-40 minutes before serving. Stir into beef mixture. Add broccoli; stir. Cover and cook 35-40 minutes more until broccoli is tender.

Chicken and Dumplings

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

You could also make some quick biscuits at home with Bisquick or follow the instructions for chicken dumplings on the Bisquick package.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. round steak
1 onion sliced
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. paprika
10 1/2 oz. can of condensed beef broth
1 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. dry red wine
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream

Cut the steak into 1/4 inch strips and season with salt and pepper. Place the steak and the onion in the slow cooker. Mix garlic salt, Worcestershire, paprika, broth and ketchup in a bowl and pour over steak. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or until steak is tender. Turn control to high and add wine and mushrooms. Dissolve cornstarch in water in a small bowl. Add to slow cooker, stirring until well blended. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in sour cream and turn off heat. Serve over rice or noodles.

Pork Tenderloin

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3/4 cup red wine
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with the contents of the soup packet. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 hours. Serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.

Serve with mashed potatoes and use the left over juice for gravy.