3 Easy Vegetable Crockpot Dinners

If you aren’t in the mood for beef or need a meal with no meat in it, the following are three recipes you can use with your crockpot. Recipe #1 – VEGETABLES ITALIAN-STYLE1 teaspoon salt1 medium eggplant, cut in 1″ cubes2 to 3 medium zucchini, halved & sliced 1/2″1 large onion, sliced thinly12 ounces fresh … Continue reading “3 Easy Vegetable Crockpot Dinners”

If you aren’t in the mood for beef or need a meal with no meat in it, the following are three recipes you can use with your crockpot.

Crockpot

Recipe #1 – VEGETABLES ITALIAN-STYLE
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium eggplant, cut in 1″ cubes
2 to 3 medium zucchini, halved & sliced 1/2″
1 large onion, sliced thinly
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
Toss eggplant and zucchini with the 1 teaspoon of salt. Place in a large colander over a bowl to drain for about 1 hour. Drain and squeeze excess moisture out. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms until slightly tender. In the slow
cooker/Crock Pot, layer 1/3 of the vegetables (including sliced tomatoes), 1/3 of the the tomato sauce. and 1/3 of the cheese. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Repeat layering 2 more times. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve over rice, pasta, or other grain.

Serves 6.
Recipe #2 – CROCKPOT CHUNKY VEGETABLE CLAM CHOWDER
2 6 1/2 oz cans minced clams
2 c. peeled potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 10 3/4 oz cans condensed cream of potato soup
2 c. water
1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 c. flour
1 c. cold water
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled
Paprika
Drain clams, reserving liquid. Cover clams; chill. In CP combine reserved clam liquid, potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, sugar, salt, and papper. Stir in potato sour and 2 cups water. Cover; cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours. If using low heat setting, turn to high. In a medium bowl combine nonfat dry milk powder and flour. Gradually whisk in 1 c. cold water; stir into soup. Cover; cook on high 10 to 15 minutes or till thickened. Stir in clams. Cover; cook 5 minutes more. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon and paprika. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe #3 – MIXED VEGETABLE BAKE
* 2 cans Creamed corn, 17 oz each
* 2 cans Green beans; cut, 16 oz each
* 2 cans Peas, 16 oz each
* 1 can Tomatoes, 17 oz
* 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
* 1 teaspoon Tarragon
* 1 teaspoon Basil
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* Pepper
Combine all ingredients in removable liner, mix well to blend herbs. Place liner in base. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
Enjoy!

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kara_Kelso/5602

Crockpot Cooking Safety Tips

Although I have never had a bad experience with my crockpot (and I’m sure you won’t either), there are a few safety measures you need to follow to ensure food safety. Some of them are pretty basic and common sense and you are probably doing them already. But it never hurts to go over them and to just continue to be aware of the importance proper food handling and preparation techniques.

Crockpot

Always start clean, a clean cooker, clean utensils, a clean work area. And wash your hands before and during food preparation.

Be sure to handle ingredients carefully. Since slow cookers can take a while to get to temperatures hot enough to kill off bacteria, it is imperative to keep the ingredients constantly refrigerated prior to food preparation. Remember that bacteria multiply on food quickly at room temperature. Therefore perishable foods should remain refrigerated until you need them.

Defrost your meats and poultry prior to putting them in your slow cooker. This helps the crockpot achieve proper cooking temperature faster, eliminating the possibility of bacteria growth on your food.

Cutting food into smaller chunks helps to ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly. For example, don’t cook large pieces of meat such as a whole chicken in the slow cooker. Doing this increases the opportunity for bacterial growth because it takes a longer time to get to proper cooking temperature. Meats and vegetables can be cut up in advance but make sure you store them separately in covered containers.

Keep the lid on. Experts say that removing the lid can add 20 minutes to the cooking time! This is because it takes that long to re-generate the lost heat and steam. Remove it only to stir the food or check for doneness.
Since vegetables cook slower than meat, place the vegetables on the bottom. Then add the meat and cover the food with your broth, sauce, or water.

If possible, set the slow cooker setting on high for the first hour of cooking to get the food warmed up quickly. Then switch it to low for the rest of the day. If it is not possible, the Food Safety and Inspection Service says it is still safe to cook foods on low for the entire time, since the temperatures stay hot enough for long enough to prevent any bacterial growth on the food.

If you are away during the entire slow-cooking process and you know that there has been a power outage, don’t take any chances. Throw the food out. Although it may look done, it could also be unsafe for consumption. You can know if there was a power outage by the time flashing on your other appliances such as microwave or VCR.

If you are home during a power outage, complete the cooking another way -gas stove, etc.
A food thermometer can be used to test for ‘doneness’ on your meat and poultry to make sure they have reached a safe internal temperature:

Poultry – 170 deg for chicken breast – 180 deg for chicken thigh
Ground Meat- 160 deg
Roasts -145 degrees (medium rare) -160 degrees (medium) -170 degrees (well done)
Casseroles -165 degrees
Stuffing – 165 degrees
Soups – 165 degrees
And when it comes to leftovers, make sure you refrigerate them within two hours after cooking is finished. Store them in shallow covered containers.

It is not recommended that you use a slow cooker to reheat these leftovers.
These tips should give you the added confidence that any food you have prepared is safe and hopefully delicious!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tony_Buel/7497

Italian Crockpot Recipes

With just a little bit of time in the morning for preparation, you can have dinner ready for your entire family right when you walk in the door!

Crockpot

Family Size Cheesy Ravioli
A huge batch of ravioli to be enjoyed by the entire family.
Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 – 26 oz jars spaghetti sauce
1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning mix
2 – 25 oz packages frozen ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook onion and garlic in oil over medium heat in skillet until onion is tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning mix. Place 1 cup of sauce in slow cooker. Add one package of frozen ravioli, top with 1 cup of cheese. Add second package of ravioli and 1 cup cheese. Pour remaining sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours, until ravioli is tender.
Slow Cooker Pizza
A different way to eat pizza that’s popular with the kids!
Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 medium chopped green pepper
1 medium chopped onion
1 drained 4 oz can mushrooms
1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 14 oz can pizza sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups rotini pasta noodles
23 ½ oz packages sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning mix
In a skillet cook ground beef, green pepper, onion and mushrooms over medium heat, drain. Add tomato sauce, pizza sauce, Italian seasoning mix and tomato paste, mix well. Meanwhile, cook noodles as directed on package. Layer pasta, tomato beef mixture, pepperoni, and cheese. Cover and cook on low 4 hours, until heated through.

Notes: You can use other types of pasta with this dish, just make sure it’s a fairly sturdy noodle like penne, egg noodles, or spiral pasta.
Chicken Alfredo
Chicken and vegetables in a creamy Alfredo sauce with quick and easy preparation; what more could you ask for?
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 – 16 oz jar Alfredo sauce
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen peas
1 diced red pepper
1 drained 4 oz can mushrooms
1 medium chopped onion
½ cup water
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups cooked noodles
Place chicken in slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, corn, peas, red pepper, mushrooms, onion, water, garlic, and black pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Serve with noodles.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Natalie_Schloesser/68850

Ingredients for Chicken Stew Recipes and How to Prepare It

If there is any source of meat that has such a welcoming taste and full of flavor, talk about chicken. Everybody can attest to the fact that it is so mellow and inviting. People all over the world know about the specialty and if well prepared, one would never opt for any other type of meat. Well if you enjoy cooking, there are several chicken stew recipes to help you take pleasure in this appetizing meal. If you think that you have to win a cooking award to be able to prepare the stew, cut that out. Anyone can do it simply by reading and following a few guidelines on how to make it. Are you ready to give it a go? Well friends, why not give this wonderful adventure some justice. After all, it does not hurt to try something.

Chicken Stew Recipes

Before engaging in the real work, it is always good to know some of the ingredients necessary for the enchanting meal. Consider one of the simple chicken stew recipes with vegetable and you will enjoy. The constituents for this great food are as follows. 3-4 potatoes all chopped, three carrots cleaned and cut, 1 onion medium sized, 1 standard can of stewed tomatoes. Two stalks well-sliced celery, green peas or beans, seasoning, flour, chicken meat without bones (cut in appropriate size) and water. Preparing this food does not take too long as you get ready to embark on the real business. First, heat a little oil in a saucepan, then dip in the chicken allowing it to cook until it turns brown. Put the tomatoes in and add water. Let them come to a boil as you add onions, carrots and celery. Let the mixture simmer under low heat until the vegetables become soft. Make the stew thick by adding flour mixed with water as you add seasonings, as you taste not to exceed. Then add the beans or peas letting them cook for another five minutes under low heat. Serve while still hot. See how simple it is to have your meal ready to satisfy your appetite. Do you realize that you do not have to portray any signs of skill to put up this incredible meal?

The chicken stew instructions are as simple as, make them yourselves at the comfort of you kitchen. Be that kind of person who gives ideas a go. Do not be afraid to try because you might even come up with your own wonderful recipe to help others enjoy the fowl. For those who have a problem with animal products, chicken would not be such a bad idea to help one change their outlook on life. May be you may not have very serious reasons for not taking meat. That is if you are not a strict vegetarian of course. A birdie meal could be such an appetizing meal not to mention the tradition healing powers of its soup. Think of aroma from the kitchen, it is enough to send a few empty stomachs rumbling. Lastly, if you read widely, you will realize that there are so many chicken stew recipes for you to enjoy and learn. Be willing to give them a go.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/G._Smitty/518368

Seven Tips for Successful Crockpot Creations

Crockpot Creations are terrific comfort foods. Crockpot meals are easy to prepare, can usually be cooked all day while you are at work and for the most part are “set it and forget it” meals. If you are anything like me, you will love coming home to the aroma of a crockpot meal. It always reminds me of the way the house smelled when I was a kid.

Crockpot

Everyone today is so busy, with two worker households and the kids involved in numerous extra-curricular activities, many people are turning to “slow cookers” or crockpots to prepare nutritious and delicious family dinners. I actually have four slow cookers but only one is actually a Crockpot. I should explain that a “Crockpot” is actually the name of a slow cooker that is sold by the Rival Company and made famous sometime in the 1970s. It was such a success that crockpot became a household word and is used interchangeably with slow cooker.

Crockpots come in various sizes and are usable for preparing meats such as beef, chicken and fish in the larger sizes and side dishes, soups and desserts in the smaller ones.

Before you start to cook with a crockpot, there are quite a few tips that will make your experience easy and rewarding. Here are some of the more important ones:

Tip 1: Lightly greasing the inside of your crockpot or using a non-stick cooking spray will help to make cleanup a breeze and will keep food from sticking to the sides of your crockpot.

Tip 2: If you haven’t already purchased your crockpot or received one as a gift, try to choose one that has a removable “crock” for easier cleanup and serving. I still have the Farberware crockpot that I received 30 years ago as a wedding present. In those days the crock was not removable, but it’s still my favorite!

Tip 3: Once you have added all of the ingredients, don’t lift the lid to check on the progress of your meal. Remember this is a “slow” cooker, it’s going to take quite a while. Have faith in the recipe and leave that lid on. You may need to add up to 20 minutes of additional cooking time for each time you lift that lid and let the heat and steam out.

Tip 4: Follow the recipe exactly when it comes to layering instructions. Items such as potatoes and vegetables take more time to get tender in a crockpot and the recipes will instruct you to place these on the bottom with any meats and/or sauces layered on top.

Tip 5: I don’t usually use regular milk in my crockpot recipes. I have found that due to the extremely long cooking time that regular milk tends to want to curdle. I will recommend that you use evaporated milk, scalded milk or half and half and that you only add milk during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. This rule is not chipped in stone and you are certainly welcome to experiment for yourself.

Tip 6: Remember, if you leave the lid on the crockpot, very little of the liquid will be able to boil away. Some recipes will add a thickening agent such as flour or arrowroot powder to the recipe to thicken the liquid while it cooks, but I generally recommend just taking some of the liquid and thickening it in a sauce pan with some cornstarch right before serving.

Tip 7: Choose the correct sized crockpot for the quantity of food that you are preparing. As a general rule of thumb, try to assure that your crockpot is filled at least halfway to the top. This will help to prevent over-cooking or under-cooking and will give you room to stir and serve without fear of spilling.

These 7 tips should give you a good start toward enjoying your own fabulous Crockpot Creations and the many thanks for scrumptious meals that your family will give you. There are thousands of recipes available for every occasion, try a few each week and you will soon develop your own favorites.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tom_Ogden/135417