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June 19th, 2015

Crock Pot Mediterranean Chicken

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I found this on Pinterest; the original recipe is over here. I made a couple small changes and will add another when I make it again.

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
28 oz canned whole tomatoes, do not drain, chop very roughly (or use sliced)
28 oz canned artichoke hearts, cut in half (or buy them pre-cut)
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, chopped roughly (about 28 olives)
1/4 cup rice vinegar (originally white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp tomato chicken bouillon powder
1 Tbsp (heaping) curry powder
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp (or more) minced garlic [addition for next time]

Put the onion in the bottom of you crock and top with chicken and then the other ingredients. Cook on high for 6 hours.

When you stir it the chicken should fall to shreds with minimal prodding. Serve over whatever seems appealing (rice, couscous, pasta...).

Note that I tend to leave out salt and pepper when I cook things in the crock if it seems like they might already be in other ingredients (in this case the bouillon and the curry powder) so season to taste.

May 16th, 2015

Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oats

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I tried a recipe for this before and it was rather disappointing, too wet and not enough flavor. This time I made it up on my own and it turned out pretty nice, though if you don't want to have to practically cut your oatmeal you might want a bit more liquid in the mix.

Only our big slow cooker (6qt) has a timer so I mixed everything in a 1.5qt Corningware casserole dish and set that in the slow cooker to effectively bake the oatmeal. The slow cooker cooks for the set time and then holds the food on warm for several hours so in this case it held it on warm for about 2 hours, which probably contributed to the solidness.

1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I may reduce this to 1/4 tsp next time)
1/4 tsp salt

Mix it all up and cook on low for 8 hours.

If you are cooking direct in the crock you will probably want to coat the inside with cooking spray or butter, and possibly risk burning it unless you add more liquid. Normally you want four parts liquid to one part oats.

As I mentioned it turns out very solid, so you will have to work a bit to stir the spices that floated to the top back down into it when it's done. The oats end up nice and chewy and while I don't normally add milk to my oatmeal I did with this and it was very tasty with bit of milk and a drizzle of sugar free maple syrup over it. I honestly do not know if I will add more liquid next time I make it.

It's not very sweet, and there really isn't a detectable apple flavor. If you want more apple and you want it wetter try adding a second cup of apple sauce. If you don't want it much wetter try chopping up some dried apples to stir in, though you might need a bit more water with that just because it does turn out so dry as it is.

Future experiments may involve other dried fruits.

6/13 - Tried it with an additional cup of applesauce, without reducing the milk or water. There is more apple flavor of course but it makes the oatmeal too wet for my taste. If you prefer creamier oatmeal over chewier oatmeal by all means go for the extra applesauce but I will stick to less liquid for myself.

October 19th, 2014

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

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Mom's on a reduced sodium diet while recovering from her valve replacement surgery so I adapted a recipe I found online to fit her diet better.

And I basically doubled it.

1 32oz bag frozen hash brown potatoes
2 32oz bags frozen corn
2 cups boiling water
3 tsp no sodium chicken bouillon powder
1 pound turkey bacon (check the labels for sodium, it varies a lot!)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 12oz can evaporated milk
2/3 cup nonfat powdered milk
3/4 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (low sodium)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Mix the bouillon and boiling water until dissolved. Pour hot broth over one bag of corn in your slow cooker and use an immersion blender to basically make it into creamed corn (if you prefer, you an put the corn and broth into a food processor or blender for this and then put it into the crock). Add the hash brown potatoes and the second bag of corn.

Fry the turkey bacon until crisp and cut/break into small pieces; add to the crock.

Brown the onions with some of the butter in the bacon pan and add them to the crock. Deglaze the pan with a bit of water and add that to the crock with the remaining butter.

Mix milk powder and water; stir in the evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Add the mixture to the crock.

Cover and cook on high for about 6 hours. The potatoes will mostly break apart and make the chowder very thick.

April 22nd, 2014

Tomato Chicken Lentils

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I felt like tossing things in the slow cooker today.

1 large onion. 1/2" diced
1 generous handful of baby carrots cut in thirds (about 1/2" dice)
1 cup lentils
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 can (15oz) fire roasted Tex Mex diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp tomato-chicken bouillon powder dissolved in 1 cup water

Layer the ingredients in the crock and cook on high for 6 hours. The chicken will fall into shreds with some poking and stirring. Since I don't add salt when cooking in the crock, be prepared to salt to your taste when it's finished.

I'd like to make this again with chicken thighs sometime.

I'm not one for spicy food so you could certainly use more of the Tex Mex tomatoes and less of the plain (or use a whole can of the Tex Mex and one good sized fresh tomato). The Tex Mex tomatoes are something we pick up at Wal-Mart, you could substitute about a cup of roasted tomato salsa (or more if you like things spicy).

January 10th, 2014

Slow cooker cheesy garlic scalloped potatoes with ham

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I basically smashed together bits from a few recipes with my general cooking knowledge for this one. We had half a bag of potatoes and some leftover ham to use up.

The amount of potatoes and ham are approximate; this filled a 6 quart slow cooker about half way.

7 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled as you wish, sliced about 1/8th inch thick
1 medium to large onion, sliced about 1/8th inch thick
1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite sized pieces

Butter your slow cooker crock or use non-stick spray. Layer 1/3rd of the potatoes, half the onion, and 1/3rd of the ham in the bottom of the crock, repeat, and then finish off with the last of the potatoes and ham.

Make the sauce:

1/4 c butter
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
1 & 1/2 c milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (I use a five color mix and fresh grind it)
2 c shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, stir until it is fragrant but not browned. Add the flour and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Whisk in the milk slowly to avoid lumps. Add salt and pepper and stir until thickened (it won't take long). Turn off heat and add the cheese, stir until melted and well incorporated. Pour garlic cheese sauce over the layered potatoes and ham, aiming for an even coating of the surface.

Cover and cook on low about 8 hours.

December 23rd, 2012

Slow Cooked Curried Lentil Stew

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I made this up today and it ended up tasty so I'm noting down what I did for future use. :)

1 can (10.5oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (6.5oz) sliced mushrooms, undrained
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 handfuls baby carrots, cut in half crosswise
11/2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp tomato bullion
1 c brown lentils
2 c water

Stir it all up in your crock and let it cook 6 hours on high. I gave it a stir about every two hours, mostly because it was my first time slow cooking lentils and I wanted to monitor the liquid level.

November 21st, 2011

Crockpot Orange Chicken

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This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I discovered via Pinterest. I've doubled the amount and adjusted the seasoning.

Note that 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp equals 3/8 cup, if you are fortunate enough to have a 1/8 cup measure.

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1.5-2" chunks
1 c flour (approximately, for dredging)
vegetable oil for frying

1 can (12 oz) orange juice concentrate
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper

Dredge the chicken pieces in flour and brown them on all sides. You don't have to cook them through, just get a nice golden brown on them. Put the browned pieces in the crock. Unless you have a much larger pan than I do you'll have to do the chicken pieces in 2-3 batches.

Mix up the other ingredients in a bowl and pour it over the chicken in the crock. Give it a good stir and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

I cooked this batch 6 hours as the recipe stated but I think it would have been fine with just 4 hours. My crock has a notorious hot spot and with all the sugars in this recipe it got a bit dark in places even though I stirred it every couple hours and turned the ceramic liner end for end half way through. It still turned out tasty though. :9
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