Cook's Corner: Cooking slow is better

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, January 14, 2009

By Staff
Apparently, a lot of people enjoyed the recipes for slow cookers last week. I had so many calls and comments about slow cookers and recipes for cooking in them I've decided to give you more recipes this week.
Most people have gotten out of the habit of using slow cookers for some reason. I guess everything gets old after a while and we choose different methods of preparing food.
However, the slow cooker is one of the most time and cost efficient ways of cooking. Although it takes a long time to cook something in a slow cooker, you can put on a meal to cook and practically forget about it until mealtime. That makes it an easy way to cut evening meal prep time considerably when you get home from work.
The most common kinds of foods prepared in a slow cooker, of course, are stews and roasts. I know that I've gotten several new stew recipes that are all pretty similar. Cooking a roast is almost a no-brainer in a slow cooker. But, as I began looking for more recipes to share with you this week, I came upon some ideas that never crossed my mind concerning this wonderful cooking appliance.
The first recipe I'm sharing this week is one that was passed on to me by Lynn Crutchfield. She, along with many other readers, said she loves to cook in her slow cooker. Give this next recipe a try. It's not a dish you'd normally think of using your slow cooker to prepare.
Parmesan Garlic Quick Bread
1 1/2 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
2 egg whites
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Combine baking mix, egg whites, milk, onions, sugar and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Spoon dough into cooker and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook on high 1 hour.
If you're like me, you probably have more than one crock pot. I have a six-quart, four-quart, three-quart round one and two one-quart round one. There are a lot of reasons behind the purchases of all of those crock-pots. Each one has a specific purpose. One for large meals, one for meals for my family, one because it was my first one and the smaller ones for those great cheese dips that have to stay warm.
This next recipe is one that's a little different from what I usually prepare in my slower cooker. It sounds wonderful and you only need a salad to go with this dish to make a complete meal.
Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
3 cups water
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed
Combine all ingredients except broccoli in slow cooker. One hour before end of cooking time, stir in broccoli.
Cook on high for a total of 3-4 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours. If the casserole is too runny at the end of the cooking time, uncover and allow to cook on high for an additional 15 minutes.
The next recipe I'm sharing today is one that will certainly come in handy when the summer squash become plentiful. Not only is it an easy way to prepare a great dish, it will keep you from heating up the whole house just to cook a casserole.
Squash Casserole
2 lbs. (about 6 cups) summer squash or zucchini thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup peeled, shredded carrot
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. package seasoned stuffing crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine squash, onion, carrot and soup. Mix together sour cream and flour. Stir into vegetables. Toss stuffing mix in butter and spread half on bottom of slow cooker. Add vegetable mixture.
Top with remaining crumbs. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
One last recipe I'll share with you this week is one for a dessert prepared in the slow cooker.
I never would have thought you could bake a cake in a slow cooker, but plain as day, here it is.
Upside Down Chocolate Pudding Cake
1 cup dry, all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick)
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tbsp. cocoa powder, plus 1/3 cup, dividied
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups hot water
Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, mix togetehr baking mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. cocoa powder, milk and vailla. Spoon batter evenly into slow cooker. In a clean bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder and hot water together. Pour over batter in slow cooker. Do not stir. Cover and cook on high for two to three hours or until toothpick inserted in center of cakey part comes out clean.
There are so many things that can be prepared in a slow cooker that we probably wouldn't even think about because we've gotten out of the habit of using the appliance.
Get out your favorite cook book and look through it to see what may be lurking in the pages that can be prepared in a slow cooker. I'll bet you'd be surprised at what you'll find there.
I hope you will get a chance to enjoy some of these recipes for your crock-pot and put that under-used appliance to work at your house.
You'll be so glad you did and your family will appreciate a home cooked meal.
Remember, if you have a recipe you'd like to share with our readers, I'd love to hear from you. Give me a call or drop me a line. I'll be sure to give you credit. Call me at 867-4876 or drop me a line by email at lisa.tindell@
Until next week, happy cooking!

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