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Cool the kitchen with the slow cooker

Enjoy a cool kitchen by cooking with a slow-cooker!
Enjoy a cool kitchen by cooking with a slow-cooker!
photo: http://pricechopper.wordpress.com

In the 1970's, the slow-cooker, or "Crock Pot", first appeared on the scene. Since then, cooks everywhere have discovered the ease of placing the ingredients for a soup, stew, or a cut of meat in one of these pots, turning it on, and having dinner mostly ready about eight to ten hours later. Some cooks own more than one, making their main dish in one and a vegetable or dessert in the other (and yes, you can make desserts in a slow-cooker!) If you're new to having one, you'll soon wonder how you lived without one! Those who currently own one already know and appreciate the fact that they can make cooking easy.

Here are some recipes using the slow cooker that maybe you've never tried before. The first recipe is for "Crock Pot Beans", which are much like the traditional baked beans we have with hamburgers, hot dogs, and barbecue. They have a sweet glaze that is characteristic for baked beans and this recipe makes a large amount for a crowd. If needed, the recipe can be halved for an average size group.

Then comes a recipe for "Crock Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu", and this one takes the classic gourmet dish and simplifies it! This can also be a good Sunday lunch dish. Just assemble the recipe before heading off to Sunday school and church. Upon returning home, add a salad, bread, and dessert and the meal is complete. If you've heard of this recipe but have never tried it, thinking it was too difficult to make, this one will change your mind!

Finally, for dessert, let's have a "Fruit Cobbler". This can be made with either fresh or canned fruit and this is particularly good to make in the summer when the fresh fruits are available. And since a slow-cooker doesn't heat the kitchen up like a conventional oven, this is another plus for making this in the summer, since it keeps the kitchen cool.

Do you like "goulash"? If so, try making it in the slow cooker! I shared a recipe once a while back for how to prepare it that way. To get the recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/goulash-the-slow-cooker

Whether you're new to a slow-cooker or a veteran user of them, here's the recipes that can help put it to good use!

CROCK-POT BEANS

  • 2 Lbs. Dry Pinto or Great Northern Beans
  • 1/4 C. Sugar
  • 1 C. Molasses
  • 1-1/2 Tbls. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 3/4 C. Ketchup
  • 1/2 to 1 Lb. Fatback (this is optional, but I never use it)
  • 2 Tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbls. Vinegar
  • 2 C. Boiling Water

Soak beans overnight in enough cold water to cover; the next morning, drain the water off the beans and place in a Dutch Oven; cover with fresh water and bring to a boil; boil the beans until the skins break; drain again; place fatback (if using) and onion in the slow-cooker and add the drained beans; mix the remaining ingredients together with 2 C. Boiling Water and add to the pot; cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 hours OR on high heat 4-5 hours, then on low for 2-3 more hours, adding additional hot water as needed; the longer the beans simmer, the better they'll taste. Serves 8-10. (Recipe may be halved.)

CROCK POT CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

  • 6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 C. Dry Bread Crumbs
  • 6 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 6 Slices Thin Ham
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/4 C. Milk

Roll each chicken breast in bread crumbs; then lay a piece of cheese on the breast, followed by a piece of ham; roll the chicken up with the cheese and ham on the inside; secure each roll with a toothpick or place them open-end down in the cooker; mix together the soup and mix and pour over the chicken; cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours; serve with rice or egg noodles. Serves 6.

FRUIT COBBLER

  • 1/3 C. Biscuit Mix, such as Bisquick
  • 2/3 C. Uncooked Quick Cooking Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C. White Sugar
  • 4 C. Sliced Strawberries, Peeled and sliced Peaches, or Blueberries*

*canned fruit can be used, but just use the brown sugar and omit the white sugar.

Mix all ingredients together and place in buttered slow-cooker; cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours; serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 6.