Friday, 3 October 2014

Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes

Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes
200 Recipes
by Donna-Marie Pye
Paperback, 352 pages

It's that time of year again. Less BBQing and picnicking, more slow cooker and baking. I happen to be a big fan of autumn. Also slow cooking. Means I can make dinner in the morning and not have to worry about it later on. Or even be home! Not that I would ever do that... just leave a slow cooker with a note beside it.... Well certainly not more than a couple of times a week.

Hey, I'm an empty-nester. I have to make up for lost time.

So whether you are a recent serial runaway like me, or happen to have one of those really busy lives I have heard of - you are still much better off health wise and financially if you make your own meals. And Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes is just that. Easy. Everyday. Slow Cooker. Recipes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

There is a great variety of recipes inspired from all around the world, but with ingredients commonly found in most grocery stores. With 200 mouthwatering offerings - you will never be at a loss for what to cook.

 Here is just a small sample of the delectable meals for virtually any time or occasion:

    Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Greens, Tex-Mex Tomato Rice Soup, Adobe Sweet Potato and Chile Soup, Manhattan Red Clam Chowder, Kale and Chickpea

    Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Stew, Pesto Meatball Stew, Pork Paprikash, Country Italian Beef Stew, Lemony Veal Milanese, North African Chicken Stew

    Chili and Beans
    Holy Mole Chili, White Bean and Toasted Cumin Chili with Lime Cream, Canadian Maple Turkey Chili, Touchdown Beer Chili and Nachos

    Sweet Butter Chicken, Chicken Sausage and Bean Casserole, Chicken in Orange Sesame Sauce, Turkey Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash, Turkey Osso Buco

    Snickerdoodle Cheesecake, Thai Coconut Tapioca Pudding, Almost Cherries Jubilee, Creamy Caramel Blondies, Warm Chocolate Lava Cake.

The author also provides throughout the book handy and extensive slow cooker tips and techniques, time savers and general slow cooker know-how. 

Holy Mole Chili, page 86, vegetarian
Makes 4 to 6 servings

With its notes of cumin, cinnamon and chocolate playing off the gentle spices, this meatless chili combines the best of a mole sauce and a Cincinnati-style chili. Its rich body makes it a seriously satisfying dinner any night of the week.

•    Minimum 4-quart slow cooker

4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1    large green bell pepper, diced    1
1    onion, finely chopped    1
1    can (19 oz/540 mL) diced tomatoes, with juice    1
1    can (14 oz/398 mL) baked beans     1
    in tomato sauce
2 cups    cooked or canned romano or pinto beans    500 mL
    (see page 84), drained and rinsed
2 cups    cooked or canned black beans     500 mL
    (see page 84), drained and rinsed
1 tbsp    chili powder    15 mL
2 tsp    ground cumin    10 mL
2 tsp    ground coriander    10 mL
1⁄4 cup    mole paste (see tip, at left)    60 mL
1⁄2 cup    vegetable or chicken broth    125 mL
Crushed tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

1.    In slow cooker stoneware, combine garlic, green pepper, onion, tomatoes with juice, beans in tomato sauce, romano beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin and coriander.
2.    In a bowl, combine mole paste and broth. Using a fork, gently stir together into a thin sauce. Stir into bean mixture.
3.    Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or on High for 21⁄2 to 3 hours, until vegetables are tender and chili is bubbling. Serve topped with tortilla chips, cilantro and cheese (if using).

Make Ahead
This dish can be assembled up to 12 hours in advance. Prepare through step 2, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, place stoneware in slow cooker and proceed with step 3.

If you can’t find mole paste, substitute 1 tbsp (15 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder and 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon.

Mole paste is a rich, dark, reddish brown sauce used in many Mexican poultry dishes. It is a smooth cooked blend of onions, garlic, several varieties of chiles, ground seeds (such as pumpkin or sesame) and a small amount of Mexican chocolate, which adds richness without being overly sweet. You can find mole paste in the Mexican foods section of the supermarket or in specialty stores.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Mu Shu for Two, page 277, meals for two, kid-fav
Makes 2 servings

This is one of my son’s favorite dinners. Since it only serves two, I originally made it on an evening when just he and I were home, and Jack loved it — any meal wrapped in a tortilla is fine by him. I served it with some lightly blanched asparagus spears, drizzled with an Asian dressing.

•    3- to 4-quart slow cooker

4    boneless skinless chicken thighs    4
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
1⁄8 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    0.5 mL
1    clove garlic, minced    1
1 tsp    minced gingerroot (or 1⁄4 tsp/1 mL     5 mL
    ground ginger)
1⁄4 cup    soy sauce    60 mL
2 tsp    sesame oil    10 mL
4    10-inch (25 cm) whole wheat flour tortillas    4
1⁄4 cup    hoisin sauce    60 mL
1 cup    broccoli slaw mix    250 mL
1⁄4    red bell pepper, thinly sliced    1⁄4

1.    Arrange chicken in slow cooker stoneware. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2.    In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) water. Pour over chicken.
3.    Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or on High for 3 to 31⁄2 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred meat. Return meat to sauce in stoneware.
4.    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Stack tortillas and wrap them in foil. Warm in oven for 10 minutes.
5.    Spread 1 tbsp (15 mL) hoisin sauce over each tortilla, then top with one-quarter of the chicken mixture, 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the broccoli slaw and red pepper. Fold or roll up tortillas.

There is no need to peel gingerroot before grating it. Simply scrub it and use a standard box grater with fine holes. You can wrap any unused gingerroot in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 6 months, then grate the frozen gingerroot as you need it.

Hoisin sauce is a thick, soy-based sauce that is regularly used in Chinese dishes and stir-fries. The typical ingredients are soybean paste, garlic, vinegar and various seasonings, such as chile peppers. The flavor is sweet, salty and spicy.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Pork Marrakesh, page 196, pork
Makes 4 servings

These pork chops are succulent and full of flavor. The aromatic dried and fresh herbs, combined with the fruit, stimulate your senses, inviting you to indulge. Serve over hot couscous.

•    4- to 6-quart slow cooker

4    pork loin rib chops     4
    (about 1 inch/2.5 cm thick), trimmed
1⁄2 tsp    salt    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    1 mL
2 tbsp    olive oil (approx.), divided    30 mL
1    large red onion, thinly sliced    1
12    dried apricots, sliced    12
3⁄4 cup    unsweetened apple juice    175 mL
2 tsp    minced gingerroot    10 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dried thyme    2 mL
1    3-inch (7.5 cm) cinnamon stick    1
1⁄4 cup    chopped fresh cilantro    60 mL
Toasted pine nuts (see Tip)

1.    Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops in batches, adding more oil as needed, for about 3 minutes per side or until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate.
2.    Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil to skillet. Sauté red onion for about 3 minutes or until tender and translucent.
3.    Arrange half the onion and half the apricots in slow cooker stoneware. Place pork chops on top. Spread the remaining onion and apricots on top. Add apple juice, ginger, thyme and cinnamon stick.
4.    Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours or on High for 2 to 21⁄2 hours, until pork chops are fork-tender. Discard cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with cilantro and pine nuts.

Browning the pork before placing it in the stoneware gives the dish an extra-rich flavor and eliminates some of the fat. But if you’re pressed for time, you can season the meat and add it directly to the slow cooker without browning it first.
To toast pine nuts, place the nuts in a dry nonstick skillet over low heat and toast, stirring gently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Be careful: they can burn in an instant!

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.