Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Slow-Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake

Ok, so it doesn't look great in a photograph.  But it tastes fabulous! 
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp chocolate chips
1.  Line insert of 1 1/2 quart slow cooker with foil, then lightly grease foil.
2.  Whisk together melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, egg, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl.  Fold in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared insert in even layer.
3.  Cover and cook on LOW for 3.5 hours or HIGH for 2 hours.  Cake should be set around edges and gooey in center.

Robyn's notes: ok, it tasted quite good, but it wasn't the consistency I was hoping for.  I had a hard time getting it to set fully, and the lining seems unnecessary.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Slow-Cooker Swiss Steak

There are few dishes easier than this one, with prep about 2 minutes before it goes into the slow cooker to be ready for dinner!
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 lb beef top round steak
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/3 C chopped celery
  • 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1.  In a large zip-top bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Cut beef into two portions; add to bag and shake to coat.
2.  Spray slow cooker insert with nonstick spray.  Place onion inside, layer with beef, celery, and tomato sauce.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Robyn's notes: this cooked the meat through nicely and smelled fabulous, but wasn't hugely exciting.  That was partly because I wasn't really in the mood for beef, so I have to be fair and mention it.  I served it over rice.  If desired, giving a quick sear to the meat in a skillet before putting it in the slow cooker would add some depth of flavor.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe and talk a little about slow cookers generally on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, January 13, 2017

Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

For cold and flu season, for a cold winter day, or just because, this makes a great soup and the noodles cook right in the broth at the end!

  • 6 oz boneless skinless chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 oz spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place into 1 1/2 qt slow cooker.
2.  Stir in broth, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and seasonings. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
3.  Remove chicken and shred, using two forks.  Remove and discard bay leaf.
4.  Stir pasta and chicken into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
5.  Stir in lemon juice and serve.

Robyn's notes: the seasoning was just a tad strong, so don't overdo it.  I might add a pinch of cayenne next time.  This was very simple and straightforward.  Can use all chicken breast, all thigh, or a combination.  Thigh holds up better in the slow cooker, but I'm partial to breast, so I used both.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube! 

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Slow-Cooker Breakfast Bake

I'm someone who enjoys traditional breakfast foods at any time of the day, but if you prefer not to have breakfast for dinner, this makes a great weekend brunch.  Just start it when you first get up, and in a couple hours it'll be ready! 
  • 1 C frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
1.  Spray the inside of a 1 1/2 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Pour potatoes, cheese, and bacon into slow cooker, stir briefly to combine.
2.  Beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until well mixed.  Pour over mixture in slow cooker, stir briefly to distribute potatoes, cheese, and bacon throughout eggs.
3.  Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or on LOW for 4-5 hours, until well set.

Robyn's notes: I used Southern-style hash brown potatoes, because it was what I had on hand, but the shredded will also work just as well.  I also used a four-cheese Mexican cheese blend because again it was what I had on hand.  If desired, add chopped green onions when combining potatoes, cheese, and bacon.  I thought this would be only ok, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Steak Strips with Dumplings

A great dish for a busy Sunday, with just a few steps and taking advantage of a slow cooker, this makes a tasty end-of-summer hot dinner that makes the house smell fabulous! 
  • 3/4 lb boneless beef top round steak, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2/3 C condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 C beef broth
  • 4 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1/4 C chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 C chopped celery
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp beaten egg
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1.  Sprinkle steak with pepper.  In a small skillet, brown steak in oil over medium-high heat.  Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart slow cooker.
2.  Combine the soup, broth, and vegetables; pour over steak.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
3.  For dumplings, in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in egg and milk just until blended.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto meat mixture.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.  After 5 total hours of cooking, a toothpick inserted in a dumpling should come out clean.

Robyn's notes: I enjoyed this more than expected, because I'm not someone who has eaten a lot of dumplings in my life, so I was pleasantly surprised by them.  The aroma really was great, my stomach was rumbling by dinnertime.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on YouTube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dealing with Large Potlucks

I think potlucks tend to be challenging for many people, but they're even harder for small households, especially when you've been a small household for any length of time.  Watch me demonstrate the included recipes on youtube!

The usual difficulties lie in time, temperature, space, and facilities.  Potlucks are often held in people's workplaces or for civic/philanthropic groups, which means there will be limited ability to re-heat hot dishes or to keep cold dishes chilled.  In my case there's the extra issue of not having much in the way of large cooking vessels.  My largest pan is a 9 inch x 9 inch cake pan.  How would I bring a casserole to serve a dozen or more people?!

If you can manage to be assigned a dessert, you're pretty much golden.  Cookies are always a good dessert, and they solve all your problems in one.  While I did spend several years only owning a mini baking sheet, I currently have a regular-size one, and I suspect that most households are more likely to have a full-size cookie sheet than one that will fit a toaster oven.  Cookies can be made ahead, bagged, and laid out nicely on a plate just before the meal, and everyone will be happy.  Another option that I've used is petit fours or even simply a cake cut into tiny squares that are individually frosted.  That takes more time and effort, but goes over well.

But sometimes you can't be the dessert bringer.  Once, when I was asked to bring a main dish, I made Easy Burrito Roll-Ups (note that the posted version is the halved recipe, for a potluck I'd make the full size, or double this posted recipe).  At a potluck, no one person should ever be the only one bringing the main dish, so you don't need a recipe that serves the total number of people, because everyone should take less than a regular serving of each entree.  So a dish that serves 8 can serve about 14, a dish that serves 12 can feed nearly two dozen.

Slow cookers are my friend for potlucks, as long as it's not a picnic (for picnics, I generally let the grocery store deli department take care of things, there's only so much time and energy I'm willing to give to the issue).  Set everything up at home, plug in as soon as you arrive, and it'll be hot when people are ready to eat a few hours later.  Chilled dishes are another good bet, if there's a fridge on site and if your dish is not too large for the shelves and there aren't a lot of other people bringing cold dishes that will crowd yours out.  Salads, therefore, are another great thing to get on the list for.  And if you can swing it at all, and don't want to worry about anything, find a way to sign up for rolls and either make them the day before or pick up a bag from the market on your way.

Potlucks are not a great place to show off your cooking skills.  Most of the people eating won't notice if you've done something special (I once made a potato side dish that required two specialty cheeses and my mandolin, most of it came home with me, which was delicious but kind of heart-breaking), and if they do particularly enjoy something they will either forget who made it or forget to mention it to you, because there are so many other dishes and people, and they're socializing while they eat.  Don't put a lot of time and heart into it, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.  Use the opportunity to take advantage of convenience foods, there is nothing wrong with that.  Remember that there will probably be at least one person with dietary restrictions who just can't have what you're serving, and be ok with that.  If possible, include a list of the ingredients that you place next to the dish (not a recipe, just a list), so that people know if what you've brought is safe for them.

Couscous Fruit Salad

  • 1/2 C orange juice, no pulp
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C uncooked couscous
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds
  • 2 lbs assorted fresh prepared fruit from the grocery
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice and water.  Bring to a boil, add couscous, cover, and remove from heat.  Let sit for 6 minutes.  Fluff couscous with a fork and spread out on a baking sheet or several plates in a shallow layer to cool.
2.  Meanwhile, spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 5-6 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, until toasted a light golden brown.  Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
3.  Just before serving, drain fruit and combine with couscous and almonds in a large bowl.  Toss together until well mixed.

Robyn's notes: the fruit that was included in the packages I bought: strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, blackberries, pineapple, grapes, raspberries.  I actually didn't get any of this, it was far more popular than I expected so the only parts that were left at the end were a few chunks of melon, and I can't eat melon.  I packaged up the couscous and almonds separately, and assembled on site.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Potatoes

  • 3 C milk
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 boxes (5 oz each) cheese scalloped potatoes
  • 2 C boiling water
1.  Spray 3.5-4 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  In large bowl, combine milk, soup, and contents of seasoning packets from potatoes; blend well.  Add potatoes, mix well.  Pour mixture into sprayed slow cooker.  Pour boiling water over potato mixture; stir to mix.
2.  Cover, cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours.

Robyn's notes: I used Betty Crocker Three-Cheese Potatoes.  This cooked for an hour, then I wrapped it in a beach towel to keep the outside warm and protect my car in case of sudden stops, and placed it on the floor of the front passenger seat.  The drive took about 40 minutes, then it was about another 10 minutes of getting things inside and set up, then it was plugged back in and cooked for about another 6 hours, possibly just a little longer.  I thought it was good, and it was very popular at the potluck.  More of it was eaten than the other potato dishes that had been brought (including at least one other scalloped potato dish), so very little of it came home with me afterward.  

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Slow Cooker Cherry-Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

I'm really quite proud of this recipe.  Here's what happened: I'm recipe testing a dessert (hopefully soon to appear!) which will require half a can of cherry pie filling.  As has been shown time and again here on Our Small Table, I don't like using "half a can" of anything, unless I have a use for the remainder.  I was also working on the recently-posted Pork Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce, which meant I had half a pork tenderloin left.  Same problem.  Well, cherries and pork go together, right?  Why not combine my two orphaned ingredients?  So I sat and brainstormed what else should go in, and the cooking method I wanted to use, and I really thought it would take several attempts to get it just right.  Lo and behold: delicious on the first try!
  • 1 C cherry pie filling (from a 21 oz can)
  • 1 garlic clove. minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.  In a small bowl, stir together pie filling, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and ginger.  Set aside.
2.  Season pork with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place in a 1-1/2 qt slow cooker.  Pour cherry mixture over top of pork, covering completely.  Cook on LOW heat for 4.5-5 hours or until meat thermometer inserted at thickest part of meat reads 160°F.
3.  Remove pork from slow cooker and set aside to rest before slicing.  Meanwhile, pour sauce from slow cooker into medium saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil over medium-low heat and reduce for 5-6 minutes.  Slice pork and spoon sauce over top.

Robyn's notes: I didn't think about a side dish until the pork was done cooking, so I needed something that would cook fast, while the sauce was reducing.  Since I didn't have any instant rice in the cupboard, I chose plain couscous.  This was really good.  I got a little nervous at around the 4 hour cooking point, because I could really smell the vinegar and thought it would overpower the dish, but it turned out to be just the right amount.  

**** 4 Stars: Very Good.  Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Slow-Cooker Tomato Chicken Bake

This recipe has gone through some adjusting, but I was determined to find an easy way to use up some leftover pasta sauce that was in the fridge. 
  • 1 C rigatoni (no substitutions)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz total)
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 C marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
1.  Spray the inside of a 1.5 quart slow-cooker with cooking spray.  Pour pasta into crock, spreading to cover bottom.  Place chicken on top of pasta and top with cheese.  Pour marinara sauce over chicken and pasta, add water to crock.  Cook on LOW for 5 hours.

Robyn's notes: the pasta will not be al dente, because of the long cook time, but part of the point was that I wanted a recipe that I could just toss together and not worry about until dinnertime.  A medium sized, good thick pasta is necessary to hold up without becoming mush, which is why the rigatoni.  I used Barilla brand because it's the best quality my market sells and therefore the most heavy-duty.  Even penne is not as thick as rigatoni, despite being a similar shape.  The end result is not hugely exciting, but it's hearty, filling, and tasty, and requires so little work that it's worth making.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Slow-Cooked Baked Potato with Chipotle Cream Sauce

Sure, a potato can be baked in the oven, in the microwave, on a grill, even tossed into a campfire.  But sometimes on a busy or stressful day it's nice to know that your potato is ready and waiting for you, without your needing to do anything else to it.
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1.  Poke potatoes in several places with a fork, rub with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Wrap in aluminum foil, place in 1 1/2 quart slow-cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
2.  In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and chipotle with sauce.  Refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour to allow flavours to blend.
3.  Split potatoes, spoon sauce over top, and serve.

Robyn's notes: use as much or as little of the adobo sauce with the pepper as fits your preference for spice.  I'm very sensitive to it, so I use just the littlest bit.  The remaining sauce and peppers in the can will last a few days covered in the fridge, or can be frozen.  If freezing, pour into a zip-loc bag and seal, flattening the bag so that the peppers are in a single layer when the bag is laid on its side.  Freeze in that position.  Next time you need a pepper, you can break or cut off just the one with some sauce and allow it to thaw, without having to thaw the entire bag.  See Using Up Ingredients for other uses.  I find it really difficult to get small or medium russet potatoes anymore, unless I buy a 5-10lb bag.  If Jumbos are all that's available, one will serve two people.  It's been awhile since I had a baked potato come out as perfectly cooked as this: cooked through perfectly but not dry inside.  The sauce was a nice topping for it, though about halfway through the potato I had to start adding shredded cheese to cut down the spice.  But as I say, I'm very sensitive to heat.  I had some mashed potatoes in the fridge that I brought home from a potluck, so I saved a bit of this sauce to stir into them when re-heating.  That was ok, gave them a bit of a kick, but didn't provide much in the way of flavour, just spice.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pear Rose Cardamom Oatmeal

This recipe comes from Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You, which I've had for over a year and had not yet cooked from.
  • 1/2 C steel-cut oats
  • 2 C unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 small pear, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater, food grade
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sweetener to taste (sugar, stevia, etc)
1.  Spray 1 1/2 qt crockpot with cooking spray.  Add all ingredients except sweetener.  Cook on low overnight (7-9 hours).
2.  Stir oatmeal well and add sweetener.

Robyn's notes: this tasted good, but I found the texture extremely unpleasant.  It was just a mush, and fairly slimy.  I sweetened with brown sugar and found myself adding quite a lot of it just to break up the unpleasant feel in my mouth.  

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Friday, November 9, 2007

Easy Burrito Roll-Ups

Note: This is a slow-cooker recipe, requires a full day.  My mom emailed me this recipe.  The yield is more than 2, but I don't know what it is officially. I halved it and we had at least one full serving left over.  I am providing the halved version. More notes follow the recipe.
  • 1/2 of a 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or a 7oz can if you can find one)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 7oz can)
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 C 'thick n chunky style' salsa
  • 6 flour tortillas (10inch)
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1 C shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 C sliced ripe olives
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
Optional (see notes below):
  • chopped tomatoes
  • guacamole
1. In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, layer beans, chicken thighs, garlic, chiles, cumin and salsa.
2. Cover; cook on Low setting 7 to 8 hours.
3. About 15 minutes before serving, heat oven to 350°F. Wrap tortillas in foil; heat in oven about 15 minutes or until warm. Meanwhile, place all topping ingredients in individual serving dishes.
4. Remove chicken from slow cooker; place on large plate. With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly to thicken sauce. Shred chicken with 2 forks; return to slow cooker and mix with bean mixture to moisten.
5. Have guests place warm tortilla on serving plate, spoon about 1/2 C chicken mixture onto tortilla; top with desired toppings. Fold side of tortilla over filling.

Robyn's notes: I can't eat black beans, so in order to be sure I could eat this, I didn't mash the beans at all. He still liked it, and it meant I could eat it just fine. The "Optional" items are things that he suggested might be good toppings to go with. I didn't heat the tortillas in the oven, and since they're easy to heat in the microwave, that's probably what I'd do next time. This was easy, and it was good.  On December 17th, 2007, I made this again, at full-size, as my contribution to our Office Holiday Potluck.  It was well-received and was easy to take, as I did step 1 before leaving the house, then plugged the slow-cooker in when I arrived.  We were having our potluck around 2pm and I start work at 7am, so the timing was just right.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Notes: Slow-cooker recipe, allow enough time! Serves 6

  • 2 turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 ¼ C)
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 C fresh baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp chicken-flavor instant bouillon and seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ C water
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small zucchini (abt 4oz), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash (abt 4 oz), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg uncooked couscous

1. In 3 ½ to 4 quart slow cooker, combine turnips, onion and carrots.In small bowl, combine instant bouillon, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; mix well. Sprinkle over vegetables.
2. Top vegetables with chicken thighs. Pour 1 ½ C water and lemon juice over chicken.
3. Cover; cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours.
4. During last 30 minutes of cooking, gently stir in zucchini, squash and beans. Meanwhile, during last 5 minutes of cooking, prepare couscous as directed on package.
5. To serve, spoon couscous into serving bowls; top with stew.

6 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 420; Calories from Fat 100; Total Fat 11g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 850mg; Total Carbohydrate 54g; Dietary Fiber 8g; Sugars 5g; Protein 27g

Dietary Exchanges: 3 ½ Starch, 1 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, ½ Fat OR 3 ½ Carbohydrate, 1 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, ½ Fat

Robyn's notes: The prep is fairly fast, though. He and I both really liked this. It can look nicely upscale, too, impressive for guests.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chicken Stew

  • 2 to 2.5 C chopped cooked chicken (about 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 can (14oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound okra, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a 14oz can cream-style corn (or a 7oz can if possible)
  • 1/4 C ketchup
  • 1/4 C barbecue sauce

1. Combine chicken, tomatoes with juice, potatoes, okra and onion in slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
2. Add corn, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Cover; cook on HIGH 30 minutes.

Robyn's notes: easy, prep is quick