Brother in culinary need -- crockpot recipes?
My younger brother is working on his Ph.D. and has little time to cook, but with my sister-in-law working full-time, he's trying to help out as he can.. problem is, he doesn't have much experience in the kitchen. I was thinking to send him a crockpot for Christmas, and a list of best crockpot recipes from my friends at Chowhound. Guys, help? Thanks, Sis.
Great idea! I plan to do this for my sister. Me, I'd love a recommendation for a crockpot cookbook with recipes that are easy (no fussy pre-browning or prep work) and don't contain the dreaded cream-of-whatever soup.
Here are two almost-instant crockpot chicken recipes - even a non-cooker can handle these.
The first one is in a thread with lots of good recipe links. Follow all the links for a treasure trove of recipes (some more complicated than others...)
I learned this as a crockpot recipe about 35 years ago, but usually just do it now in a casserole on top of the stove or in the oven. Take some pork chops, any kind, or just about any other cut of pork as long as it's not too lean (I like to use country-style spare ribs), slice some Bermuda onions into thick slices and separate them into rings. Throw all into the crockpot with the appropriate amount of your favorite barbeque sauce, and let it go. Not exactly pulled pork, but not bad, and a whole lot easier.
Here's one I contributed a few months ago, but it's in a very long thread, so here it comes again. :-)
---La Gringa's Inauthentic Chile Colorado---
Into a crockpot put about 3 lbs beef stew meat. Add one can of red chile sauce or enchilada sauce (they are the same thing as far as I can tell) - either 16 oz or 28 oz can.
Add some chopped onion. Add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce if there's some sitting around.
Cook however long it takes that particular crockpot to do a stew.
This is good with rice, corn or flour tortillas and a salad.
I did pulled pork in the crockpot last weekend. Turned out great and SO easy compared to hovering over the BBQ for 8 hours.
Maggie's Pork Roast
Take 3 lb. boneless pork loin roast. Add 1 small bottle green taco sauce. Cook in crockpot on low for 10-12 hours.
Alternative: Omit green taco sauce. Mix 1/4 cup orange marmalade, 1/8 cup orange juce & 1/8 cup of soy sauce & pour over pork.
Alternative 2: slice 1 large onion & mix 1 can of Dr. Pepper or root beer w/1-1/2 cups bbq sauce & pour over pork
My grandmother would spin in her grave, but I do easy frijoles de la olla:
-1/2 lb dry pinto beans (i don't soak overnight, but i do clean carefully for tiny rocks or misshapen/discolored beans, just like my nana!)
-boneless pork country spare ribs OR beef spare ribs (optional)
-if i don't have time to make my own pico de gallo, just a tub of good quality store-bought pico de gallo from the refrigerated section (the more local, the better), OR (gasp!) a jar of good salsa
-just a little water
Set the thing on high for about two hours and then down to a lower setting for the rest of the day. I take the lid off during the last hour or so in order for some of the liquid to evaporate and concentrate a bit. Don't add salt (if needed) until almost done cooking.
First night it's eaten like soup with a dollop of crema & some cheese, and fresh diced tomato, with tortillas to wrap around the meat and sop up the liquid. Leftovers freeze well, or can be made into refried beans or used in quesadillas or nachos.
I "roasted" a chicken today in my crockpot. I'd read about this method before, but it was the first time I had tried it. Easy, CHEAP (especially important, if I remember grad school), with very little hands-on time (also important, if I remember grad school). Definitely going into heavy rotation in my kitchen. I used a Mexican spice set, but I think this could be good with a variety of spice mixes. The cooked chicken could be used for tacos, chicken salad, stir fry noodles, or a range of other options.
I took a whole roaster chicken--skin, bones, and all--and rubbed it with a goodly amount of a spice mix. I used hot chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and rubbed sage. Based on my one-time experience, I think it would be hard to overdo it with the spices. I also put a half onion inside the chicken. No liquid added to the pot.
Ball up aluminum foil and put in the bottom of the cooker. Put the chicken in, breast side down. Cook on slow for 8 or 9 hours. Remove from crockpot. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard. Only the bits of skin that stuck to the side of the crockpot will be edible. Eat these while your spouse is still at work. Pick apart the chicken.
You should also have about 1.5 cup of liquid at the bottom of the crockpot. I put this in the fridge to chill down and took off the gelled fat. I put the liquid back with the chicken, froze a lot of it, and used about 1/2 to make enchiladas.
I think this could be good with a variety of spice mixes, and the chicken could be used for tacos, chicken salad, stir fry noodles, or a range of other options.
Crock pot recipes are really great but if he is really not on the page you may want to point him in the direction of how to cook on the weekend and re-heat during the week. Things like batches of chili, spaghetti sauce, baked chicken, etc. Then teach him how to cook frozen veggies with the simple add of maybe lemon pepper & butter, or how to make a simple salad. Teach him how to use a microwave to actually cook. Even if he goes the crockpot route he should know how to make rice, a simple salad, etc. Good luck. Sometimes the guys are so amazed at the results they can achieve they really get into it.
Can we go back to the premise? I was oblivious when I was working on my PhD (completed 25 years ago). I had time to cook but was convinced I didn't have time to fart. Help your brother to compliment his time use with some quality and equitable cooking--after all his wife is also working!
Ok, you are going to not like me for this- another crockpot appetizer meatball recipe- wooo hoooo!
(I just went to a work-related potluck party and there were 5 crockpots simmering away with thousands of meatballs awaiting their fate!)
However, my husband ate only mine- the love of my life!
Ready-made meatballs in a bag from the store
1 can cranberry jellied sauce (yeah, the can-shaped one you probably avoid during Thanksgiving)
1 can pineapple chunks in juice
1 can chili sauce (like Heinz- next to ketchup)
Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees. Mix liquids in deep pan you are planning to make meatballs in. The cranberry sauce needs to be worked in a little. Add meatballs. Cover and bake 30-40 minutes. Enjoy over mashed potatoes, as appetizers, or my FAVORITE potatoes:
Line a pan with aluminum foil. If you are not lazy, spray a coat of Pam on it.
2-3 potatoes, cut into wedges- the more wedges, the more crusty exterior!
olive oil to coat
obnoxious amount of cheap chili powder you get anywhere
salt and pepper (lots)
(You can add garlic and onion powder if you're feeling fancy...)
Mix everything, place on another pan next to meatballs. Yes, potatoes will look very dark, but that's where the tasty is!
Serve with ketchup (mix in chipotle chile sauce too).