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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Celebrating Slow Cooker Month: Crockpot Cooking Making A Come Back

By Sherrie Norris

I read recently that January is National Slow Cooking Month, and yes, acknowledging that one way to increase quality mealtime at home and ditch the daily drive-through is to use a slow cooker.

So, kitchen mates, I guess it’s time to dust off the old crockpot and fill it up, turn it on and forget it.

That seems to be the idea these days as the “new” cooking method from the ‘70’s is making a comeback.

It seems that, for a while, we pushed the crockpot to the back of the cabinet, but its popularity has begun to surge, once again.

There’s no better for a busy woman to make sure her family has a hot meal at the end of the day. Let’s drag those slow cookers out and get crocking.


Crockpot Stew With Shiitakes

10 to 12 small new potatoes, quartered

½ cup chopped onion

3 medium carrots, sliced

4 to 8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms — shiitake suggested, but others work well, too

1 can (14½ oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (10 ½ oz.) condensed beef broth

½ cup flour

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

1tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dried leaf marjoram

¼ tsp. pepper

1½ pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into ½ inch pieces

Mix all ingredients, except for beef, in slow cooker, then add the beef on top. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or until vegetables and beef are tender. Stir gently before serving. Serves 8.


Slow Cooker Chicken With Biscuits

1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast halves, cut in large chunks

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cream of chicken or cream of chicken and mushroom soup, undiluted

1 jar (12 oz.) chicken gravy

¼ tsp. poultry seasoning

½ tsp. dried leaf thyme

Dash black pepper

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

6 frozen biscuits or refrigerator biscuits

In a slow cooker, layer the chunks of uncooked chicken breasts with chopped onion and celery. Combine the soup and gravy with poultry seasoning, thyme and pepper; pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Add the thawed mixed vegetables, turn the slow cooker to high and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, bake biscuits as directed on the package. Split a biscuit and spoon some of the chicken and vegetables over the bottom biscuit. Put the top half of the biscuit on the chicken and gravy, if desired.

Serves 6.


Beef & Potato Casserole   

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 pkg. scalloped potatoes

1 (14.5 oz.) can tomatoes

1 (10 oz.) can pizza sauce

½ cup water

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried oregano leaves

¼ tsp. basil leaves

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In skillet, brown ground beef, drain. In slow cooker/crock pot, combine beef with dry sauce mix from package of scalloped potatoes, tomatoes, pizza sauce, water, salt, oregano, basil, and garlic powder.

Stir in dry potato slices. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours. Turn control to high. Stir in mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Cover and cook on high for last 10 to 15 minutes.


Simple Crock Pot Potato Soup

1 container (32 oz.) chicken broth

1 pkg. (30 oz.) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened and cubed

1 cup half-and-half cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Crumbled cooked bacon and chopped green onions

In a 4- or 5-qt. crockpot, combine broth, potatoes, onion, garlic and pepper. Cook, covered, on low until vegetables are tender, 6-8 hours. Whisk in cream cheese until melted. Stir in half-and-half. Cook, covered, until heated through, 5-10 minutes longer. Serve with cheese and, if desired, bacon and green onions.


Apple Crunch Cobbler

4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

¼ cup honey

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbs. melted butter

2 cups granola cereal, your favorite

Place apples in buttered slow cooker; Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over apples. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours. Serve with cream or ice cream

Serves 4.