2014-04-03 / Lifestyles

The Dinner Diva

Surprising things to prepare in your slow cooker


Leanne Ely Leanne Ely I’m all about making dinner easy, and I’m all about taking as much help as I can get. My slow cooker is one of my most used kitchen items. It really surprises me how so many folks out there aren’t using this convenient little appliance.

I think part of the reason for that is because people have the misconception that slow cookers are just for making soup or that everything you put in there tastes like stew.

If that’s the case, y’all are doing it wrong. You can make almost anything in that crock cooker from curries and pasta to white fish and stuffed peppers! (Folks who use our Crock Cooker Menus know all about that but more on that a little later!)

Yes, there are all kinds of things you can cook in that slow cooker of yours that you might not have thought about trying before, including the following:

Meatloaf. First, mix up your favorite meatloaf recipe in a shape that will fit in your slow cooker. Put a steamer basket or a small rack in the bottom of the crock insert. Take two 2-foot long pieces of aluminum foil, fold each piece in half and then in half again so that you end up with two 24-inchlong piece of aluminum foil that are about 3 inches wide. Lay one piece of foil on top of the other (one vertically and one horizontally) so that they cross in the middle of each strip. Place the meatloaf mixture on the aluminum strips, bringing the ends up over the top of the meat loaf. Join the ends of the aluminum foil so that you have a “handle,” which you will use to lift the meatloaf in and out of your slow cooker. Place the meatloaf and the foil handle) in the slow cooker on top of the rack or steamer. Cook on LOW for 7 hours.

Ghee. Put 8 sticks of butter in the slow cooker and leave it on LOW for about 8 hours with something propping the lid open enough for steam to escape (a wooden spoon works). Spoon the scum off the top of the 2 cups of liquid you’re left with. Don’t be tempted to scrape the sides and the bottom of the slow cooker to remove the burnt milk solids. When the liquid comes to room temperature, filter it through cheesecloth and into a jar. Store ghee in the fridge or in the cupboard.

Baked sweet potatoes. To make easy work out of baked sweet potatoes, wash 5 or 6 sweet potatoes and place them in the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 7 hours.

Oats. If you like having oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, why not let your slow cooker prepare sleep? Put a cup of steel cut oats and 3.5 cups of water or milk in the slow cooker. Add any combination of fruit and seasonings that you want. I would suggest cinnamon, apples, raisins and a bit of vanilla. Cook on LOW for 6–8 hours.

Artichokes. Prep your artichokes by trimming the spiny tips from the leaves and trimming about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Give them a good cleaning and then put them stem side down in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the artichokes with salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Add a bit of water and cook on LOW for 6–7 hours.

Yogurt. Put 8 cups of milk in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2.5 hours. Turn the slow cooker off, and let sit with the lid on for 3 hours. Remove the lid just long enough to add 1/2 a cup of plain yogurt with live cultures to the milk, then cover again. Wrap a towel over the top and around the slow cooker. You want a dark and insulated place for those cultures to hang out. After about 12 hours, you have yogurt.

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Copyright (C) 2014 Saving Dinner. www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC. All rights reserved.

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