Post #390 The Summer of Slow Cookin’

July 10, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #390 The Summer of Slow Cookin’

A friend of mine (and before you say it, I will “You have FRIENDS?!!)  Anyway, a friend of mine asked me recently if I had any good slow cooker recipes.  I do.  She’s an older, single lady cooking only for herself and likes flavor.  So once a week for the foreseeable future, I will be including a couple of slow cooker and slow cooking recipes.  It makes sense since it won’t heat up your kitchen, apartment, house during the hottest days of the year.

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I’ve written before about crock pot cooking.  There are some foods that just lend themselves to the crock pot, and there are others you want to stay away from.  I’d never grill a steak in a crock pot although I’m told you can.  I’ve read that you can bake a cake in a crock pot.  What for?  The oven is better.  And if your oven doesn’t work, just go buy a cupcake.

To me, the best recipes for slow cookers are soups and stews.  As I’ve said many times before, the best part of cooking your own stuff is you get to control what goes into it.  I find prepared sauces and soups to be too salty for me.  Making them on my own, I can reduce or cut out the salt altogether.  If I don’t like the way it turns out one day, I can experiment until it comes out exactly as I want it to.

However, the slow cooker does an amazing job at turning cheap, tough cuts of meat into tender, juicy, tasty cuts that will have your mouth drooling.  Cook the meat separately, pour off the juices for stock or broth later, and add other ingredients like barbeque sauce or salsa.  A pork roast cooks so quickly in a slow cooker, you’d swear they were invented for each other.

Back in college, my sister and her husband would make slow cooker rice pudding.  Because of the size of it, it would make a gallon of the stuff at a time.  I don’t care for rice pudding.  I’ll eat small amounts of it when I’m in the right frame of mind, but the last time was in college.  One time, I’d misheard the conversation and rice pudding was all I made for dinner that night.  They were okay with it since they loved the stuff.  I think I had a peanut butter sandwich.  But desserts can be made fairly well in the slow cooker.  Just make the right one.

For this week, I’m going to recall two recipes I’ve posted about in the past.  The first is a chicken Mexican dish and the second is a pork green chili.  Both are delicious!

The first I call a Mexican Chicken Tortilla Layer Bake.  It’s easy.  You can use canned chicken, or raw chicken.  Just be aware that if you use raw chicken, this will be juicier than you might expect.  Cut two chicken breasts, or four chicken thighs, or any combo of those two you like into small pieces.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, and a little salt.  Set aside.  Shred one cup of cheddar cheese and set aside.  Chop one small onion into small pieces and set aside.  Open a medium sized jar of your favorite salsa.  Open a package of corn tortillas.  Now, spread a spoonful of salsa on the bottom of the slow cooker.  Arrange 2-3 tortillas to cover.  Spread more salsa in a thin layer over tortillas.  Place 1/3 of chicken over salsa and cover with 1/4 cup of cheese and 1/4 of the onions.  Continue creating layers until three layers are done and all chicken is gone.  Cover top with more tortillas, salsa, and last of cheese.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours.  Uncover, turn off slow cooker, allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.  Spoon out and eat.  Also makes a good dip.  Can be served over rice, too.  The spiciness depends on the salsa used.  Remember that as salsa cooks, it gets spicier.  Experiment by adding black beans to the layers, or extra chili peppers.  Is good stuff!

The second one is Green Pork Chili.  Use a small pork roast.  Season it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Cook on low for about five hours.  Remove roast and drain off all juices, reserving for later use.  Roughly shred the roast into large pieces (it should be fall-apart tender at this point) and remove any large fatty pieces.  Place pork back into the slow cooker and add a full jar of your favorite green salsa.  {An aside here:  My favorite green salsa is made with a large amount of tomatillos which are not spicy and have a citrusy flavor.  We love them, but some people don’t.  Most green salsas rely on green chilies to give kick and flavor.} Stir, replace cover, cook for another two hours.  Remove lid, turn off slow cooker, give the pot a stir, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.  Eat.  It’s good stuff.  I like to fold this up into flour tortillas when it’s cool enough to not burn my hands.  A dollop of sour cream goes very well with this.

Let me know if you try these and what experimenting you do with them.

And as always

Enjoy

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