Author Topic: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?  (Read 3795 times)

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Redsoil

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Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« on: April 17, 2013, 09:51:28 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
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Zilla

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 10:15:34 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.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 10:22:45 AM by Zilla »

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 10:57:41 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 11:10:04 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.
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ITSJUSTME

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 11:15:40 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

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."


gingerzing

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 12:12:04 PM »
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?  :)



Ms_Cellany

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 01:35:17 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!
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NyaChan

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 01:40:56 PM »
I like this website for slowcooking recipes - 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.

EllenS

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 05:25:59 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)

mandycorn

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 05:58:20 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.
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NyaChan

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 07:44:54 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!

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 09:03:04 PM »
Chuck roast with 1-2 cans diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, garlic, red wine. Add a few chopped carrots and onions if you like.
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Iris

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 11:12:10 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.
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Redsoil

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2013, 10:12:10 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the ideas and hints.  Much appreciated!  Will see how I go with it.
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Giggity

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 10:54:45 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.
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