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crock pots and slow cookers

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I just got a 3.5 quart crock pot on Friday and am looking for some good recipes to make it in. We got the Williams Sonoma cookbook and I tried the bacon and beef stew last night. Not bad. We work long hours and usually don't have time to cook on weeknights so I thought this was worth trying.

Other than Boston baked beans and Texas red chili which I make in my Le Creuset french oven, I am pretty new to slow cooking too. Please share your favorite recipes and cookbooks so we don't have to always eat out or grab teriyaki after work. Thanks.

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  1. Cholent, a jewish dish. I no longer have any jewish cookbooks, but this was the first fantastic thing I ever made in my crockpot. As I recall, it was a big hunk of beef covered with water and cooked overnight (perfect for the crockpot, or so I thought as a young man). Sorry I do not have a recipe. I do remember the meat being butter soft, the kind you can eat with a spoon; also, save the broth, it is a fabulous start for soup.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jerry i h

      to give you a recipe for cholent - I use a larger crock pot so I can not give exact amount - you might have to eye ball it -
      with a 3.5 qt crock pot I would put in about 1 1/2 lb chuck
      1/2- 1 cup of navy beans or pinto or kidney
      1/2-1 cup of barley
      cut up russet potato
      cut up 1-2 onions
      3-4 cloves crushed garlic
      1/4 cup brown sugar
      1-2 tblspn of some catsup
      1/4 tsp of kosher salt
      fresh ground black pepper
      and if you have room slices of kishke (jewish dish - basically stuffed derma can be bought in the frozen kosher food section) on top -

      cook on low - 12-16 hours - this typically was put up before the start of the sabbath and eaten for lunch the next day- 14-16 hours later

      1. re: weinstein5

        I thought cholent was supposed to have dried fruits (prunes and/or apricots??

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          I believe that is the sephardic traditiion - I have always known it as a very savory heavy stew that is cooked overnight -

          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            I thought cholent was supposed to have dried fruits (prunes and/or apricots??

            I think you mean a tzimmes which is sweet and savory. A cholent is usually laden with beans and bony and/or tougher cuts of meat since it cooks for hours and hours on low heat.

      2. My favorite recipe is my grandmother's pot roast -- 1 brisket (usually about 2-3 lbs), browned on the outside, 1 can Campbell's golden mushroom soup, 1 packet Lipton's onion soup mix, a bunch of chopped carrots (I usually add about half a bag of those baby carrot sticks), cook on low all day, add 1/4 c. bourbon 1/2 hour before serving. I'm not usually a can of soup cook, but that's delicious, albeit a bit salty.

        I bought Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker cookbook and have been very pleased with the recipes I've tried. A standout is an Asian pork with peanut sauce, which involves slow cooking 2 pork tenderloins (or 1 2 lb pork loin) with teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, sliced red bell peppers and garlic, then shredding it and adding creamy peanut butter.

        1. Red beans and rice.

          In your crock pot. Add a lb of red (Kidney) beans (Pre soaking weight) which have been soaked over night. A medium chopped onion, some sort of smoked sausage (1 lb, diced) a ham hock, some Cajun seasoning and just enough water to cover it. When you get home, pull the hock out and let cool. Make a pot of rice. Stir the pot and crush some of the beans so they act as a bit of a thickener. Pull the meat off the hock, return it to the pot and serve over the rice.

          Add hot sauce to your taste at any point.


          1. this is a pretty good site...

            If you like ribs, they come out wonderful- fall off the bone.
            Also enjoy jerk chicken.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pamd

              Jerk chicken in a crock pot is the best way to do it I think.


              1. re: Davwud

                How do you do the jerk chicken in the slow cooker?

                1. re: Procrastibaker

                  Add chicken and jerk sauce and let it go.
                  Right now, the sauce I have is very thick so I add some orange juice.

                  You get a nice gravy which you can pour over your rice.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    I have done the same thing with pork. Let it go all day, and then shred the pork voila- great pulled pork.

              1. potatoes sliced thinly chunks of ham onions cheese mix of ham onions, mix of mushroom soup milk and alittle water. layered and you can add jalepeno slices if you like alittle spicy. add any other spices you like for flavoring cook high for about 4 hours. you cant mess this dish up and its really good!

                1. I've had most success with big pieces of meat (brisket -- regular and corned, pot roast, pork roast) as opposed to chicken parts or casseroles. Stews (basic beef stew, boeuf bourguignon, split pea with a nice ham bone) and chilis work well, too.

                  One of my standards -- beef sandwiches -- about 3 lb pot roast, 3/4 cup soy sauce, 1 1/2 cup water, 3 cloves garlic (pressed), 2 tbsp rosemary, bay leaf, -- put it all in (I don't bother browning the beef, but you could), then shred and serve on a bun w/BBQ sauce.

                  1. A very easy crock pot recipe that my family likes is Swiss Steak. Take a piece of steak (I buy whatever is on sale) in the amount needed for your family, and trim off any visible fat. Coat both sides of the meat with a little flour and pound with a meat mallet or the edge of a small plate to tenderize a bit. At this point I usually cut up the steak into somewhat smaller portions. Put in crock pot with 2 cans golden mushroom soup and a small can of sliced mushrooms. Cook on low 8 hours.

                    The meat comes out very tender and the gravy is wonderful. It's great served with mashed potatoes or noodles.

                    1. Just about any braise works: Brown the meat in a skillet, then dump everything into the crockpot. Cook it low and slow.

                      1. Slow-Cooker Cassoulet, this recipe is easily halved and if I were making the entire recipe, no way would I use 1/2 pound of bacon. You can easily cut back on that to 1/4 pound and to cut more fat, remove the chicken skins before browning the pieces but this is delicious and your entire house smells great while it's cooking:


                        1. We did a great pork shoulder-- browned it all over then put it in with beer, bay leaves, onions. We used the meat to make fantastic Cubano sandwiches. Yum!

                          1. pork(either a roast or varied sausages) and sauerkraut.

                            1. Carmelized onions.

                              I give them a quick run through a really hot wok with oil to set up an initial char, then transfer to the crockpot for overnight on low.

                              It's nice to see folks chipping in on the virtues of the crockpot. There has been a tendency to disparage it as a "second class" tool, for "lazy, non-developed" cooks, but it really can be a perfect tool, and energy efficient.

                              1. Thanks for the tips/recipes, I bought one last SPRING and haven't taken it out of the box!!! Maybe I'll finally motivate to use it!!!

                                1. I've taken to making stocks with it the last month or so. Works great. Just set it up and let it simmer for hours and hours.


                                  1. I have even made pasta sauce in a slow cooker. Add tomatoes, and whatever else you like in your sauce, put on low, and let it go all day. All you need to do when you get home is cook up some pasta, bread and a salad, and you have a great meal.

                                    My SIl made some awesome clam chowder (as an appetizer) to Thanksgiving day. MAde it in her crock pot, transported it to my house in the crock pot, and we ready to go.

                                    1. I have made this recipe for Tuscan chicken with white beans, fennel, chard, and roasted red peppers, and was very pleased with the results:


                                      I also often do short ribs in the crockpot and found this recipe for a short rib daube with Nicoise olives, anchovies, and orange zest, and horseradish potato puree on the side (not in the crockpot), which I want to try:


                                      1. I made this dish that a chowhounder posted, it was awesome!

                                        Also, bought a few cookbooks: Not your Mother's, Gourmet Slow Cooking (which I've tried the beef biryani dish which was very good as well


                                        I just got my crock pot as well last month, and I find myself reaching for it over and over. Best $20 I've spent in my kitchen.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JoLi

                                          I postd this before
                                          Heavily coat a whole chicken with garlic powder, oregano, basil and thyme. Wad up 3 balls of aluminum foil and place in the botom of the cooker. Place the chicken breast side down in the pot. Cook for 8 hours. It will fall apart when you take it out. Remove skin ( which will not brown) and shred chicken (if you want to make burritos or some other recipe) You can vary the rubs to make other dishes( Indian or Cajun for example))

                                        2. Beef & Pork roasts do well in the crock pot for me. Just brown them for a few minutes on each side and drop them in with some basic seasonings. They always come out pretty good.

                                          I have not had much luck with chicken in the crock pot, so I like that idea of heavily seasoning then shredding it up to make burritos or tacos or something like that.

                                          You can take a lot of recipes that you would bake or braize and simply trasfer them to the crock. Stuffed cabbage is a good example. Also, throw some meatballs in there with sauce or some thinly sliced beef with gravy - both will make great sammiches.

                                          You can make a pretty easy chili as well. Brown your meat first, then throw it in the pot with diced onion, pepper, garlic (whatever you like in your chili). Toss in some chili powder, basil, hot sauce, a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, and canned beans if you like (yah, I know real chili has no beans). Stir it up and go to work. When you get home, it'll be a darn good chili, but you'll have a craving for corn bread.

                                          1. My husband and two kids rave over these moist chops. The mild sweet-and-sour gravy is wonderful over mashed potatoes or rice. I love this meal because it is so easy, yet good enough for company.

                                            CRANBERRY PORK CHOPS

                                            6 bone-in pork loin chops
                                            1 can (16 oz.) jellied cranberry sauce
                                            1/2 c. apple juice
                                            1/4 c. sugar
                                            2 Tblsp. spicy brown mustard
                                            2 Tblsp. cornstarch
                                            1/4 c. cold water
                                            1/2 tsp. salt
                                            Dash pepper

                                            Place pork chops in a slow cooker. Combine cranberry sauce, juice, sugar, and mustard and stir until smooth; pour mixture over chops. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove chops; keep warm. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir in cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in salt and pepper. Serve over chops.

                                            Serves 6

                                            Here's another family favorite. Just add a salad and dinner is done.

                                            CREAMY ITALIAN CHICKEN

                                            4 - 8 small chicken breast halves (I use 8 because I like leftovers)
                                            1 envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
                                            1/4 c. water
                                            1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
                                            8 oz. block light cream cheese
                                            4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
                                            1 16 oz. box spaghetti, cooked according to pkg. directions

                                            Place chicken breasts in a Pam sprayed crock pot. Mix Italian dressing mix with water and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 hours. Mix together cream of chicken soup, cream cheese; stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken and cook an additional hour on low. Serve over spaghetti.

                                            Serves 4- 8