One of my friends requested another cooking “lesson” at my house. And I use the term “lesson” loosely. Out for lunch, we brainstormed till we decided on a crockpot theme. Instead of me doing all the cooking, I handed out recipes and assigned myself the Slow Cooker Apple Pecan Bread Pudding for dessert.
Crock Pot Extravaganza
We all had slow cookers, but most of them were just taking up prime real estate in our kitchens. I dusted mine off, cubed some cinnamon bread, apples and whipped up a custard. My crockpot was turned on at 7 AM and by 10 AM the house was filled with the aroma of cinnamon and spice. I gave a very brief presentation focusing on some pointers for the best results when using a crockpot or slow cooker:
- Choose a cut of meat that stands up to slow and moist cooking like a chuck roast, chicken thighs instead of breasts, or pork shoulder.
- Brown your meat first for an extra boost of flavor.
- Finish off your dish with fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon, some Parmesan or a drizzle of good olive oil to brighten the flavor.
- Keep the lid on your crockpot so no heat escapes. These dishes were designed to cook without stirring. The clear lid allows you to see how the dish is progressing.
- Cooking on low will take approximately twice the time to finish as cooking on low.
- Put hard veggies like carrots, potatoes in first, so they will cook through.
- Remove the skin from your chicken and trim any obvious excess fat from your meats so you don’t have an oil slick atop your finished dish.
Here are the dishes we sampled along with the tweaks to the recipes in parentheses:
Kathy’s Herbed Artichoke Chicken (may use chicken tenders)
A dessert that’s made of pantry items like bread, apples and nuts doesn’t break the bank. And during the holidays, a dessert you can park in a slow cooker and ignore for 4 hours is perfect. Make sure to check out all the other recipes that won’t break the bank from the Sunday Supper Tastemakers:
Bean and Bacon Soup by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Mexican Turkey Bean Soup by What Smells So Good?
Pasta e Fagioli by The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
Turkey and Dumpling Soup by Palatable Pastime
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup by Pancake Warriors
Black Bean and Bell Pepper Quesadillas by My San Francisco Kitchen
Cajun Blackened Chicken Thighs by Feeding Big
Chicken Enchilada Casserole by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Chicken Enchiladas by The Freshman Cook
Chicken Piccata by Monica’s Table
Chicken Tetrazzini by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
Chimichurri Chicken Thighs by Life Tastes Good
Dutch Baby Pancakes by Brunch with Joy
Easy Cheesy Egg Breakfast Bake with Potatoes and Sausage by From Gate to Plate [or breakfast]
Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Egyptian Rice and Lentils by Wholistic Woman
French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potato by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Gnocchi with Fennel and Pork by Caroline’s Cooking
Italian Baked Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Lasagna Stuffed Acorn Squash by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Noodles by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Orzo with Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potatoes by Cooking Chat
Sauteed Vegetables by Party Food and Entertaining
Turkey Sausage and Pasta by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Twice Baked Sweet Potato Bar by Momma’s Meals
Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles) by Curious Cuisinere
And more saving suggestions from the Sunday Supper Movement:
Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas for #SundaySupper
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 8 slices cinnamon bread, cubed ( I used Pepperidge Farm)
- 2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups half-and-half
- ¼ cup apple cider
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- Place bread cubes, apples and pecans in a greased slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the eggs, half-and-half, cider, vanilla, salt, and butter; mix well. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with a scoop of ice cream if desired.
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