Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crock Pot Cookin'

This is the third and final posting covering my cooking class topics. Last, but certainly not least is crock pot cooking! I love, Love, LOVE my crock pot, and I continue finding more and more fantastic recipes for it! My absolute favorite and most requested recipe is for Carnitas and Mexican Slaw (slaw obviously doesn't go in the crock pot). There's more delicious recipes for the crock pot than meets the eye, and they don't all include condensed soup, Velveeta or ten packets of powdery stuffs. While some of those recipes are delicious, they aren't always your healthiest option. I've got a few "new" crock pot recipes for you today.


Before we move on to the recipes, I wanted to talk about crock pot benefits.
  1. Easy to prepare! For the most part, crock pot recipes just require you adding things into your crock pot, turning it on and walking away. The most work I've ever had to do for a recipe was browning some ground beef before adding it to the pot. I've even got some recipes for you that you make up ahead of time, freeze then add to the pot when you're ready to cook, it doesn't get any easier than that! Literally, with only a few short minutes of prep, you have a delicious low and slow cooked meal that required no effort on your part throughout the day!
  2. Easy to clean up! When your main dish is coming from a crock pot recipe, that means you're only cooking with one pot. THAT means you don't have a sink full of pots, pans and cooking utensils. Which saves you time. Which is a good thing.
  3. Since crock pots cook foods at such low temperatures for long periods of time, you can use less expensive cuts of meat (money saver!!). For instance, the crock pot carnitas I mentioned earlier work perfectly with a pork shoulder/butt, you don't need to use the more expensive tenderloin (did you know that pork butt and shoulder almost same cut of meat? It's not really a butt, it comes from the upper part of the arm, while the shoulder comes from the lower part of the arm).
I wanted to mention to those of you who may not have a crock pot, you can absolutely cook a crock pot recipe in the oven. This website has information on converting the recipes for the oven. Also, if a recipe calls for an eight hour cooking on low but you don't have enough time for that, just cut the time in half and cool on high. Crock pots are really fantastic, and they have some super fancy ones nowadays that have a locking lid, four heat settings and are super shiny stainless steel. I've had mine for about 6 years and it has a low, high and warm setting as well as a timer (so when my cooking is done, it clicks over to the warm setting).

Without further ado, here's some crock pot recipes for you! 


These recipes are the one the make ahead and freeze dishes I spoke about earlier. There's a BBQ Chicken, Goulash, and a Chicken Curry recipe. Cannot wait to try more like this!


This is the carnitas and slaw I mentioned. Make it soon. You will NOT regret it and your family will love you for it!




Crock-pot Carnitas

1 pork tenderloin, pork shoulder/butt
1 sliced onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
3 c chicken broth
2 T cumin
1 T chili powder
2 tsp coriander (optional)
Juice of 1 lime (about 2T)
salt and pepper

1. Rub pork with dry spices
2. Layer the onions and garlic in the bottom of the Crock pot and put pork on top
3. Pour in chicken broth and lime juice
4. Add pepper and a generous amount of salt
5. Cook on low for 8 hours (if it looks dry, add a bit more liquid)
6. When tender, use two forks to pull apart


Mexican Slaw

1 bag coleslaw shredded cabbage
2-3 veggies of choice, chopped (I like radishes, any color bell pepper, sweet onion)
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
¼ cup canola oil
Vinegar (apple cider, red/white wine, rice wine)
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 T cumin & chili powder

Mix together the coleslaw, cilantro and chopped veggies

Juice the two limes into a measuring cup and add enough vinegar to make ¼ cup of liquid. Add in the oil, jalapeno, garlic, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Add more cumin and chili powder if desired. Stir well and pour over cabbage. Toss together and enjoy!


I hope you give some of these recipes a try, and I really hope you'll start introducing more crock pot recipes to your repertoire. Send me a comment or message if you try one of these, I'd love to hear how you liked it!

~Haley

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