Author Topic: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?  (Read 3720 times)

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blarg314

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2013, 08:37:28 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.



sparksals

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2013, 12:27:27 AM »
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. 
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 12:32:26 AM by sparksals »

Giggity

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2013, 08:15:57 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!
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Redsoil

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2013, 08:21:50 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.
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gingerzing

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2013, 08:30:17 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.

Redsoil

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2013, 08:46:02 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.  :)
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2013, 10:23:21 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.
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amylouky

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2013, 10:34:17 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!

blarg314

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2013, 08:30:24 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.

SamiHami

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2013, 07:53:43 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!

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sparksals

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2013, 09:24:39 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. 

sparksals

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2013, 09:30:43 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. 

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2013, 09:49:46 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.
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2013, 11:14:54 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/).  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.
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