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Using your slow cooker

If you cook with a slow cooker, do you like it? It is a different way of cooking and requires special recipes but turns out delicious foods.

Many have asked me to send some recipes for slow cookers so this week I am doing so and also adding some suggestions about them.

It is very convenient especially for working women with a family and children, and you want to have a meal ready when you get home from work for everyone.

This also makes it easy if your time is limited due to needing to be at a function or event in the early evening.

Another positive aspect is that a slow cooker does not make your kitchen hot in the summertime, plus it gives you ample time to prepare side dishes or desserts.

Mix all the ingredients together and cook as directed and now you have time to do other duties or attend a sporting event or whatever and return home to find your meal ready. (Use the timer on your cooker for the correct length it takes to cook what ever you are preparing.)

Keep in mind that the best results are achieved with less heat and longer periods of time which also helps retain more vitamins and flavors in foods. It is always best to use the recipe times suggested, but if you cook longer do not worry because your food will not burn because the cooker will not overheat and stirring is not required.

Be sure not to keep taking the lid off to see what you are cooking for each time you take the lid off it takes additional minutes to recover the steam and temperature, which means a longer cooking time.

If you prefer softer veggies or well done meat, then be sure to cook your item longer than the suggested time given. (One hour on high is equal to two hours on low).

More suggestions next week.

Below are recipes for your slow cooker.

Till next week!

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Jambalaya

1 broiler-fryer chicken, cut up

3 onions, chopped

1 carrot, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 14-ounce can tomatoes, cut up

1 pound shelled, raw shrimp

2 cups cooked rice

In slow cooker, combine all but shrimp and rice. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours. Turn control to high. Add shrimp and rice. Cover and cook on high 30-40 minutes or until shrimp done.

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Shrimp Marinara

1 16-ounce can peeled tomatoes, cut up

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 pound cooked, shelled shrimp

grated Parmesan cheese

cooked spaghetti

In slow cooker, combine tomatoes with parsley, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, oregano, tomato paste and seasoned salt. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. Turn control to high. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese over cooked spaghetti.

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Paella in a Pot

1 2 1/2-3 pound frying chicken, cut up

2 carrots, cut into sticks

2 onions, cut into eighths

1 13 3/4-ounce can chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

1 1/16 teaspoon saffron powder

2 cups cooked rice

1/2 pound shelled raw shrimp

12 small clams in shells

In slow cooker, combine chicken with carrots, onions, broth, garlic, pimiento, salt, oregano and saffron. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Turn control to high. Add cooked rice, shrimp and clams. Cover and cook on high for another 30-50 minutes or until shrimp is done.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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