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Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?

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Redsoil:
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

Zilla:
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.

Redneck Gravy:
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.

Outdoor Girl:
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.

ITSJUSTME:
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

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."

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