With the holidays here do you find your family busier than ever? If you are rushing around all day the last thing you want to do is come home and spend a lot of time preparing dinner. A slow cooker, or crock pot, can be a busy family’s best friend! You start it in the morning and come home to the wonderful smell of a home cooked meal! Here are some time saving tips and easy recipes your whole family will love!
Helpful slow cooker tips:
- Chop and measure ingredients ahead if possible. If your cooker has a removable liner, assemble the ingredient, cover, and refrigerate until it’s time to cook.
- Keep the lid securely on during the cooking and be sure the food does not push up on the lid.
- When it comes to overcooking, the size of your slow cooker matters. Most recipes call for cooking on low for 9 hours or high for 5 hours. If the crock is not filled at least half full, it will overcook. Prevent overcooking by filling at least half-full and up to an inch below the rim.
- The slow cooker version of a recipe will call for less liquid than the oven or stovetop recipe because less evaporation will occur. You will need just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the crock for even heat distribution.
- If you lift the lid during cooking, your cooking time will increase due to heat loss. Unless your recipe specifically calls for stirring, do not lift the lid.
The following recipe involves more prep than most slow cooker recipes but the result is delicious and both kids and adults will love this pot roast recipe! Remember if you don’t have time for prep in the morning you can do it the night before and keep it in the fridge until then next morning.
1 (5 pound) bone-in beef pot roast
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Generously season both sides of roast with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over the top until well coated, and pat it into the meat. Shake off any excess.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sear the roast on both sides for 5-6 minutes each, until well browned. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in mushrooms and butter; cook for 3-4 minutes.
4. Stir in onion; cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and begin to brown. Add garlic, stir for about a minute.
5. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons flour; cook and stir for about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, and cook for another minute.
6. Slowly add chicken stock, stir to combine, and return to a simmer. Remove skillet from the heat.
7. Place carrots and celery in the slow cooker. Place roast over the vegetables and pour in any accumulated juices. Add rosemary and thyme.
8. Pour onion and mushroom mixture over the top of the roast. Cover slow cooker, turn to high and cook the roast for 5-6 hours (9-10 hours on low), until the meat is fork tender.
9. Skim off any fat from the surface and remove the bones. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
10 medium red potatoes, quartered
1 (8 ounce) package baby carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 (26 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
6 cubes chicken bouillon
2 tsps. garlic salt
1 tsp. celery salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables
1. Combine the chicken, potatoes, carrots, celery, chicken soup, chicken bouillon, garlic salt, celery salt, and black pepper in a slow cooker; cook on high for 5 hours.
2. Stir the frozen mixed vegetables into the slow cooker, and cook 1 hour more.
Slow-Cooker Asian Short Ribs
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
8 beef short ribs (about 4 pounds)
4 medium carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
1 small green cabbage (about 1 pound), quartered
2 Tbsps. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Add the short ribs and carrots and arrange in a single layer. Lay the cabbage on top.
2. Cook, covered, on high for 5 to 6 hours (or low for 7 to 8 hours), until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.
3. Transfer the cabbage, short ribs, and carrots to plates. With a large spoon or ladle, skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard.
4. If the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and sprinkle with the scallions (optional).