Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Recipe Requests => Topic started by: Redsoil on April 17, 2013, 08:51:28 AM

Title: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redsoil on April 17, 2013, 08:51:28 AM
I am by no means, in any way, shape or form, a "cook".  However, I've been persuaded by a friend to buy a slow cooker, claiming even people like me can do good meals with the aid of this marvellous invention.   :o   (Ha!)

So, does anyone have tried and true recipes for food type stuff one can cook in such a thing?  I did try doing lamb shanks, which were very tender (but the taste wasn't quite right to my mind), and also a meat and veggie casserole thingy (too much tomato, not enough seasoning).

Any recipes most gratefully received!   ;D
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Zilla on April 17, 2013, 09:15:34 AM
Best thing to do first is not compare the crock pot to oven roasted or stove top cooking.  (I did for a long time and "hated" the crock pot)  That said, it will taste different and more diluted in flavor.  And you can't double the seasoning in the beginning as the long/slow cooking cooks it out. Unlike the oven/stove top which concentrates the flavor by cooking.


I would season lightly in the beginning and again in the end with a touch of acid to brighten the flavors.  Like a squeeze of lemon, dash of vinegar etc.


Pork Tenderloin recipe


In a crock pot, layer of chopped onions.  Salt/Pepper a pork tenderloin and lay on top of onions.  Sprinkle or add a sprig of your favorite herb.  (rosemary, thyme etc) Add a half cup of red or white wine or apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.  Cover and cook.  (low 5-6 hours, high 2-3)  You can then remove pork/onions and put on high and leave lid off for 30 minutes to reduce or add to a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat to concentrate the sauce and pour over pork.


You can also rub the tenderloin with mustard after salt/pepper for an added flavor boost if you like it.  You can add potatoes and carrots to the onions and have a one pot meal.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redneck Gravy on April 17, 2013, 09:57:41 AM
Take a pot roast (chuck, rump, blade whatever) put in bottom of crockpot, add about 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle one package of any brand powdered onion soup mix.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Sometimes I add potatoes & carrots - putting them in first before the roast. 

Tomorrow I am making a pot of stew.  I start with about 6 cups of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 lb stew meat, a package of Stew seasonings (Lawry's is my preference), 3 cups of water and 1/2 cup of red wine (you can skip the wine).  Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on low.  Yummy to come home to after a long day, especially if it is cold.

There are a huge number of free recipes online, including easy candies and desserts made in the crockpot.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 17, 2013, 10:10:04 AM
I find it helps with flavour to sear any meat before putting it in the crockpot.  So if you have a grill, season the beef, pork, chicken with whatever seasonings you like and sear it on a high heat grill.  Then put it in the crockpot.  I've also seared in a frying pan on the stove.

My favourite for beef and pork is Montreal Steak Spice.

When my Dad does a pot roast in the slow cooker with potatoes and carrots, he often adds in green pepper for flavouring.  It gets pretty mushy so we don't generally eat it but it does add a lot of flavour.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: ITSJUSTME on April 17, 2013, 10:15:40 AM
America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country on PBS have lots of great recipes for slow cookers and ways to get extra flavor into the dish.

Here is one of my very favorites from Martha Stewart

http://www.marthastewart.com/333225/spicy-pulled-pork (http://www.marthastewart.com/333225/spicy-pulled-pork)

and my MIL's favorite is this one, exactly as FIL wrote it when he sent it to me.

I quote:  "two or three pounds of beef roast cut in large pieces.  Place beef in crock pot first, then sprinkle one pkg of Lipton onion soup mix over meat.  Add one cup water.  Cook on high about 5-6 hours.  I don't usually put veggies in the pot.  I usually cook potatoes, carrots, etc extra.  However there is a recipe on the back of the Lipton Onion Soup box."

Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: gingerzing on April 17, 2013, 11:12:04 AM
Agreeing with the folks who have said to not compare to stovetop or roasting. 
Also remember what slow cookers do best which is low and slow cooking. So keep that in mind for the cuts of meat you use.  Super lean cuts like chicken breasts or pork tenderloin CAN be cooked in the slow cooker, but not for an all day thing since it will dry them out. 
Cuts like pork shoulder, beef chuck roast, stew meat, chicken thighs, country-style ribs and the like do well in the slow cooker because they need to be cooked slow, (or braised or stewed) to help tenderize the meat. 

I love pork shoulder or even pork sirloin roasts in the slow cooker. 
My very favorite homemade pulled pork is called Lazy Man's Barbecue Pork Sandwiches. 

4-5 pound pork shoulder roast (boneless) OR boneless pork sirloin roast
1 can (14.5 oz ) beef broth
1/3 cup hot pepper sauce  (YES, trust me. it mellows)
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
Favorite barbecue sauce and sandwich buns

Place pork in bottom of large slow cooker. Combine broth, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and pour over pork. Cover and cook 8 -10 hours on low setting until pork is very tender.
Place pork on cutting board; reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Coarsely chop or shred pork; combine with reserved cooking liquid and put back into slow cooker (set on Keep Warm setting) until ready to serve. Spoon pork onto sandwich buns and serve with bbq sauce.
Serves 10-12

Leftovers can be put into freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.  And because you don't add sauce to the finished product, you can do all sorts of things with the leftovers like top a salad with pulled pork, put into quesadillas, or put on baked potatoes with cheese.

Other favorites in the slow cooker is 
http://www.zonya.com/pdf/recipes/Beef_Barley_Soup.pdf  (So good and so easy.  And yes, get a good basic spaghetti sauce. Again, trust me it works)

I also like This gal's blog.  Some recipes are better than others.  She also tells about FLOPS.
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ 
I actually just had her Rotisserie-style chicken and it is really good.  I put halved small yellow potatoes and third whole carrots in the bottom and put the chicken on top so it doesn't sit in its juices.  Plus it is a whole finished meal.

Also would recommend using a crockpot liner (find them where foil and plastic wrap are) and make Sunday Chicken. (another one that is on my rotation.  After it is done cooking I cube or shred the chicken and put back in the sauce.  Serve it over either rice or mashed potatoes or even egg noodles with broccoli or peas.  Also I have used about any cream of something soup with it so cream of chicken works well.)
http://www.flylady.net/d/flyladys-kitchen/slow-cooker/slow-cooker-chicken-recipe/#sunday-chicken 


Can you tell I work with food and sometimes teach cooking?  :)


Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 17, 2013, 12:35:17 PM
Stock!  We keep a gallon zip-lock bag in the freezer. Every time we have a rotisserie chicken, beef ribs, pork chops, etc. we put the trimmings and bones in the bag. We also add onion and garlic skins, carrot and potato peels, celery tops, tomato ends, mushroom stems, etc. (NO broccoli, cabbage, or other strongly-flavored veggies.)

When the bag is full, dump in crock pot, add some oregano, basil, salt & pepper, and a few glugs of white wine or vinegar. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, strain.

It looks awful in progress, but ends up with amazing flavor!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: NyaChan on April 17, 2013, 12:40:56 PM
I like this website for slowcooking recipes - http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com (http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com)

I also agree that the lipton onion mix recipe is good, though the ones I used also had cranberry sauce.  Ended up with a really nice glazed roast.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: EllenS on April 17, 2013, 04:25:59 PM
Crockpots are also good for making things like dry beans, or overnight oatmeal.

I have also just stuck a thawed whole chicken in, dumped a jar of salsa over it, and left it all day.  Yum.   I have even done this with still-frozen chicken, but I understand that is not recommended for food-safety reasons. (Takes too long to come up to germ-killing temperature)
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: mandycorn on April 17, 2013, 04:58:20 PM
My favorite is bbq pulled pork/beef/chicken.

I take 2 lbs of whatever kind of meat I want (chicken breasts, pork roast and beef roast all work well), dump in a bottle of good quality bbq sauce, let it cook until the meat starts to fall apart (up to 8 hrs on low, depending on the size and thickness), pull the meat out and shred it well with a fork, dump it back in, stir, and let cook another half hour to really mix in the sauce flavor.

Serve over buttered egg noodles or on a toasted bun with coleslaw.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: NyaChan on April 17, 2013, 06:44:54 PM
My favorite is bbq pulled pork/beef/chicken.

I take 2 lbs of whatever kind of meat I want (chicken breasts, pork roast and beef roast all work well), dump in a bottle of good quality bbq sauce, let it cook until the meat starts to fall apart (up to 8 hrs on low, depending on the size and thickness), pull the meat out and shred it well with a fork, dump it back in, stir, and let cook another half hour to really mix in the sauce flavor.

Serve over buttered egg noodles or on a toasted bun with coleslaw.

SlawB sandwich!!  Love those!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 17, 2013, 08:03:04 PM
Chuck roast with 1-2 cans diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, garlic, red wine. Add a few chopped carrots and onions if you like.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Iris on April 17, 2013, 10:12:10 PM
Google plus willingness to experiment are the keys here. Think of a casserole/tender meat type meal you like and Google "Slow Cooker Redsoil's Favourite". If your meat and vege casserole had too much tomato and not enough seasoning make it again, but with less tomato and more seasoning. Remember you are cooking for YOU - so you can adapt recipes as you go to suit your own taste.

To get you started there are some slow cooker recipe bases available at supermarkets, so you may prefer to try a few of them first to get your confidence up. They're really just stock concentrate and herbs, so if you like it you can look at the ingredients list to get a start for your experiments.

Good luck! If you get the hang of it it's great - I use it in winter all the time and it makes family dinners MUCH easier.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redsoil on April 18, 2013, 09:12:10 AM
Thanks to everyone for the ideas and hints.  Much appreciated!  Will see how I go with it.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Giggity on April 18, 2013, 09:54:45 AM
FWIW, I am a *dreadful* cook - one time I set a pan of paella ON FIRE while I was standing over it and couldn't figure out what the problem was.

The crockpot is my BFF. It never fails me. Literally every recipe I've ever tried, I loved. Pot roast, pulled pork, any kind of stew or chicken ... oh yeah.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Julian on April 18, 2013, 06:26:59 PM
Hi Redsoil

Second to Iris on the supermarket slow cooker sauce packs.

Another thing to try is tinned soup - tomato or cream of mushroom soups can make a really nice casserole type meal.  Add them to diced beef or lamb, add in some of your favourite veges, a bit of garlic and any other seasoning you like, and let it do its thing.

If you like corned silverside, it's also a great way to cook it.  The beef comes out very tender.

It's hard to go too wrong with slow cookers, just adjust to your own taste and go for it.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Giggity on April 18, 2013, 06:28:51 PM
So, um, you like bacon? Especially bacon you can spread on stuff?

This one, this one right here. http://www.marthastewart.com/326881/slow-cooker-bacon-jam

It will make a believer out of anyone. Yea, verily.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: blarg314 on April 18, 2013, 10:40:37 PM

I hadn't heard of the slow cooker packs before - slow cookers aren't common where I live, and I've ended up making my own sauce packs (reducing a combination of stock and wine to about 1/5 the original volume, or using powdered coconut milk, for example) because otherwise recipes come out very soupy.

A few things I've found via experimenting:

With modern crock pots, cooking all day (ie, setting it before going to work) overcooks everything except chickpeas and home-made chicken stock. I bought a timer for the outlet, as I've found that 8 hours is an absolute maximum to avoid dry meat. Yes, you can cook meat for ten hours in liquid and have it come out like cardboard. (apparently, modern crockpots are hotter for food safety reasons, so they take less time than older ones for the same level of done-ness).

Cheap tough meat is best. Beef shanks work amazingly well, pork shoulders with the fat trimmed off, chicken thighs and legs rather than breasts.

Pre-sauteeing onions makes the food tastes much better than tossing in sliced raw onions. Browning the meat is nice, but not as necessary.


Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Zilla on April 19, 2013, 07:16:59 AM

I hadn't heard of the slow cooker packs before - slow cookers aren't common where I live, and I've ended up making my own sauce packs (reducing a combination of stock and wine to about 1/5 the original volume, or using powdered coconut milk, for example) because otherwise recipes come out very soupy.

A few things I've found via experimenting:

With modern crock pots, cooking all day (ie, setting it before going to work) overcooks everything except chickpeas and home-made chicken stock. I bought a timer for the outlet, as I've found that 8 hours is an absolute maximum to avoid dry meat. Yes, you can cook meat for ten hours in liquid and have it come out like cardboard. (apparently, modern crockpots are hotter for food safety reasons, so they take less time than older ones for the same level of done-ness).

Cheap tough meat is best. Beef shanks work amazingly well, pork shoulders with the fat trimmed off, chicken thighs and legs rather than breasts.

Pre-sauteeing onions makes the food tastes much better than tossing in sliced raw onions. Browning the meat is nice, but not as necessary.


How long does the meat in the crockpot stay after the timer turns off the power? 
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 19, 2013, 08:20:58 AM
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Zilla on April 19, 2013, 08:29:20 AM
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: EmmaJ. on April 19, 2013, 09:06:21 AM
The biggest mistake i made at first with my crockpot was adding too much liquid. I was going to cook beef to turn into beef stew.  i added the beef cubes then filled the crockpot to the brim with water.  :( That stew ended up pretty much inedible.

Liquid just doesn't evaporate in a crockpot like it does in the oven or on a stovetop. You can get by with as little as a tablespoon for some dishes!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 19, 2013, 10:00:33 AM
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?

If you pull the meat out of the fridge in the morning, put it straight in the crock pot, then head to work, at most, it would be sitting out for an hour or two.  It is then going to be thoroughly cooked.  I probably wouldn't do this with chicken but beef or pork?  It wouldn't bother me.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 19, 2013, 10:18:50 AM
I use a crockpot with an internal timer.  The options are 4 or 6 hours on high, or 8 or 10 hours on low.  After the time is up, it switches to warm, which keeps it at a food-safe temperature.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: amylouky on April 19, 2013, 11:03:58 AM
My favorite is white chicken chili. It's pretty hard to mess up. I'm not a great cook either, but everyone seems to love this chili.

My recipe, such that it is:
In the morning, put 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, put in about 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, and salt/pepper to taste. Add about 2 cups of water, and cook on low (I generally put it on before leaving for work, so it cooks about 8 hours, but I've had DH put it in at noon so it cooks for 4-5 hours and it's still fine, maybe just a little less fall-aparty).

When chicken is done, skim the fat off the top of the crockpot water, and shred the chicken.

In a skillet, saute a tablespoon of minced garlic, 1/2 a small onion (diced), and a can of green chilies in olive oil. When tender, add to the crockpot.

I use canned beans because they're just easier. I get one of the big jars of great northern beans, and add it to the crockpot.

Another teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of pepper (I use white but black works too), a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper gets dumped in at this point. Also, add enough water or chicken broth until the chili is your desired thickness.

Stir well, let simmer for another 45 mins to an hour, and serve with mozzarella cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

And now I want chicken chili for dinner.  ;D
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: alkira6 on April 19, 2013, 12:04:09 PM
Best slow cooker recipe?  Slow cooked sirloin.

I package sirloin ( I just grab a tray of sirloin from Sam's, so I have no idea how much meat this is).

rinse meat, sprinkle both sides with Tone's Candian Steak Seasoning, layer in crock pot and turn on the lowest setting.  Come back in 6-8 hours and throw in baby carrots, shallots, and cubed yellow potatoes. Do not stir.  Put the lid back on and leave it on low for another 2 hours.  Serve with yeast rolls.

This is the best ever!  when you get down to maybe a cup of meat, throw it back in the crock pot with broth and veggies and in 2-3 hours you have some very good soup.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redsoil on April 20, 2013, 05:47:35 AM
All posts have been very helpful - thank you!  Slowly adding to my knowledge-base at this stage, so the hints and tips have been most welcome.  (Especially the info about not using too much water.)
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: jpcher on April 21, 2013, 02:59:41 PM
Italian Beef Sandwiches --

4 lbs chuck roast. 1 pkg Italian salad dressing powder mix.

The night before, rub the meat with the dressing mix, put in the crock-pot inner bowl and refrigerate over night. Slice onions (and if you like, bell peppers. I don't like green bells, which is a standard for Italian beefs, so I omit these)

In the morning, add 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar, 1 cup+ beef broth (optional) and enough water to just cover the meat.

Cook on high for 8 hours.

When you get home from work, fork-shred the meat, add the onions (and peppers) along with another package of powdered Italian dressing mix, or seasonings of your choice. Mix well.

Cook it on low for maybe another hour (until the onions get tender.) This gives you time to prepare a salad, oven-baked frozen french fries, or whatever side you wish.

Added bonus -- put the meat mixture on open-faced french rolls, cover with a few slices of mozzarella cheese and broil until the cheese is melted.

Serve with the liquid (au jus) on the side for dipping and possibly some Giardiniera.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: blarg314 on April 21, 2013, 07:52:04 PM
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?

You pull the pre-prepared crock pot out of the fridge and drop it in the element before leaving for work, setting the timer for about two hours later, at which point the dish will still be approaching room temperature. Then you can set the timer to turn off an hour before you get home, by which point the food is still piping hot - a ceramic crock pot bowl full of food has a fair amount of thermal inertia, and doesn't heat up or cool off quickly.

Food safety wise, it's still very safe, and similar to a recipe that asks you to bring your steaks to room temperature before grilling them, for example.  I wouldn't do that with pre-ground hamburger, mind you, but I try to avoid eating that in the first place.

I will note that I've been living outside of North America for about eight years now, and I've managed to shake off some of the conviction that eating food that's been outside of the refrigerator for more than 20 minutes is going to cause you to die horribly.  :)
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Iris on April 21, 2013, 10:17:58 PM
My slow cooker has 3 settings - low, high and auto. I set it on low in the morning and it will take 10-12 hours to cook the food. If I'm slack and home I put it on auto at about lunch. Auto will shift between low and high and cook in about half the time. High is really just like a saucepan and is only really for heating stuff up. Isn't this standard? I've never seen a slow cooker with a timer at all, so I'm curious.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: blarg314 on April 23, 2013, 07:37:28 PM
My slow cooker has 3 settings - low, high and auto. I set it on low in the morning and it will take 10-12 hours to cook the food. If I'm slack and home I put it on auto at about lunch. Auto will shift between low and high and cook in about half the time. High is really just like a saucepan and is only really for heating stuff up. Isn't this standard? I've never seen a slow cooker with a timer at all, so I'm curious.

I think advanced (ie expensive) ones come with a timer. Ours has high, medium and low only, but I find that even the low setting is too high for more than 8 hours. You can buy timers that fit into the outlet, and plug the crock pot onto that.

It took us a long time to even *find* a slow cooker where we live. You can buy hundreds of varieties of rice cookers, and various types of slow steamers, but the classic crock pot is hard to find.


Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: sparksals on April 23, 2013, 11:27:27 PM
Stock!  We keep a gallon zip-lock bag in the freezer. Every time we have a rotisserie chicken, beef ribs, pork chops, etc. we put the trimmings and bones in the bag. We also add onion and garlic skins, carrot and potato peels, celery tops, tomato ends, mushroom stems, etc. (NO broccoli, cabbage, or other strongly-flavored veggies.)

When the bag is full, dump in crock pot, add some oregano, basil, salt & pepper, and a few glugs of white wine or vinegar. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, strain.

It looks awful in progress, but ends up with amazing flavor!

I do something similar with veggie clippings.  I save all the ends, peel and tips and toss into ziploc bag in freezer.  I never thought to keep the day to day bones - I do keep big things like turkey carcass and hambone.    I also never thought to do smaller batches in the crockpot.  I saved several bags of clippings.  i had so much after Christmas and my bone in prime rib bones, I had to use my big toaster oven. Made a huge batch of beef stock.

I like your smaller batch method.  My freezer is overrun with so much stock.  Although I do prefer the veggie stock for low fat purposes. 

Tip....save the yellow onion skins.  They give chicken stock the golden colour.  I don't use potato peels because I don't want the starch in the stock.   I used turnip peeland left over turnip once.  Never again.  Totally dominated the stock flavour. 
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Giggity on April 25, 2013, 07:15:57 AM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redsoil on April 25, 2013, 07:21:50 AM
Again, very appreciative of the information from posters.  Thank you!

Tried making tomato sauce the other day, from some home-grown tomatoes a patient gave me.  Unsure if I actually like it or not.  Think I may try making spag. bol. with it as it has a bit of a zing to it.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: gingerzing on April 25, 2013, 07:30:17 AM
Redsoil - your experiment with tomato sauce reminded me of a quote from Julia Child.
No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.  (This from a cooking icon who didn't learn to cook until she was in her early 30's)
And I think it is a great idea to try to make spaghetti sauce with the sauce you tried.  Experimenting (for me) is the most fun with cooking.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Redsoil on April 25, 2013, 07:46:02 AM
I once said to someone that I knew when a roast was done, because the smoke alarm went off.  They thought I was joking!  (Not so much...)

I can throw together a meal these days (and my roasts are much better now).  I'll never be a "cook" though!  However, if I can find a few more interesting ways (that are easy) to make reasonable food, I'll call that a win.  :)
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 25, 2013, 09:23:21 AM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!

Fat, gristle, onion skins, garlic skins.  I also have dehydrated mushrooms and will throw one in.

The stock comes out absolutely amazing. I think the main factor is the rotisserie chicken skin & bones, with their roasty browned goodness.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: amylouky on April 25, 2013, 09:34:17 AM
I made a yummy chicken pot pie using this recipe the other night:

http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/classic-chicken-pot-pie/1401d418-ac0b-4b50-ad09-c6f1243fb992

It fits here, because I cooked the chicken in the crockpot, just threw it in before work with a couple of cups of water and some salt and pepper. Prep time when I got home was about 10 minutes, then 40 mins to bake. Yummy!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: blarg314 on April 25, 2013, 07:30:24 PM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!

Another good one - if you have leftover tomato skins/peels, or the juice from canned tomatoes that isn't used in a dish, toss it in a plastic bag, and use it for a rich stock.

If you cook dried beans or chickpeas, save the cooking water - it makes a great soup base, particularly for vegetarian soups. The soaking water from dried mushrooms is good for stock, too.

And if you use whole seafood, you can make great seafood stock from things like fish heads and bones and shrimp shells.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: SamiHami on April 28, 2013, 06:53:43 PM
1 whole chicken
1 jar pepperocini
1 package onion soup mix

put the pepperocini in the bottom of the crock pot, reserving the liquid in the jar. Place the chicken in the crock pot. Add the onion soup mix to the jar with the juice from the pepperocini. Shake vigorously until well blended. Pour over the chicken. Put lid on crock pot, cook on high for 6 hours.

Super easy and really, really good!
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: sparksals on April 28, 2013, 08:24:39 PM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!

I don't save bones unless it is a turkey/chicken carcass, prime rib bones  or hambone.    I save the veggie clippings, including the paper onion and garlic skins, to make the veggie stock  thru the year.  Using the bones and adding fat makes straining difficult and a high fat content.  Straining and skimminh  fat is a messy job. However I do that at TG and Xmas.  The rest of the year, veggie stock for healthier reasons.   The clippings, peels and ends add up quick. 
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: sparksals on April 28, 2013, 08:30:43 PM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!

Another good one - if you have leftover tomato skins/peels, or the juice from canned tomatoes that isn't used in a dish, toss it in a plastic bag, and use it for a rich stock.

If you cook dried beans or chickpeas, save the cooking water - it makes a great soup base, particularly for vegetarian soups. The soaking water from dried mushrooms is good for stock, too.

And if you use whole seafood, you can make great seafood stock from things like fish heads and bones and shrimp shells.

Any beg works for me but potatoes bc of the starch.  I clear our my crisper in addition to the frozen ziploc bags.  Almost anything goes. 
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 28, 2013, 08:49:46 PM
One of my favorites, and it's very easy!  Taco Soup.

1lb ground beef
1 packet ranch seasoning
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can pinto beans
1-2 cans diced tomatoes (I use two, to make more)
1-2 cans chili
1 can of corn (I tend to use 1 bag frozen corn)

shredded cheese and sour cream to top. 
ground the beef in a pan with the taco and ranch seasoning, then mix it with the other ingredients in the crock pot and turn on low for about 5-6 hours.  Smells so good as it cooks.

And oh, I love crock pot liners.  Saves time on cleanup.
Title: Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 28, 2013, 10:14:54 PM
Huh, I tried saving veggie ends but never got around to using them. I'll toss bones in too. By trimmings, do you mean fat and such? And the papery stuff from onions and garlic - NO IDEA. It's early to learn but I'm doing it!

 Straining and skimming fat is a messy job.

We have a skimmer/strainer ($3 from IKEA, http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20149463/ (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20149463/)).  i use it to scoop the bones & veggie debris out of the stock, rather than wrestling a hot stock pot to pour into a colander.   When I've got most of it out, I put it in the fridge until chilled. Fat rises to the top and solidifies. I pick it off with a spoon.