Northeast Times

A slow cooked spread

Crock pots: Per­fect for the busiest of cooks

You’ve come a long way, Baby! What I’m talk­ing about here is the Crock Pot. From the device’s humble be­gin­nings in 1970 as “The Bean Pot,” Rival Man­u­fac­tur­ing tweaked its design, changed its name to “Crock Pot,” and made a for­tune selling it.

Crock Pots have come a long way from their ori­gin­al avo­cado or har­vest gold col­ors. They are now avail­able in Col­legi­ate (any col­lege A to Z), NFL and Cre­ate-A-Crock (your pic­ture here!). They come in vari­ous sizes and shapes, among them a Hook-Up Con­nect­able En­ter­tain­ing Sys­tem that serves as a hot buf­fet, when pots are joined to­geth­er. The very new Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cook­er en­abled with WeMo of­fers a free app for your smart phone that al­lows you to man­age your Crock Pot, mon­it­or cook­ing time and tem­per­at­ure, and vir­tu­ally cook your din­ner from a re­mote loc­a­tion.

The Crock Pot is an in­valu­able kit­chen com­pan­ion that af­fords “all-day cook­ing without look­ing.” With min­im­al pre­par­a­tion in the early morn­ing, the slow cook­er can make din­ner while you’re work­ing, shop­ping, run­ning er­rands or just loaf­ing at the pool.

Sat­urday is the first day of sum­mer, and va­ca­tion time be­gins. Just as the stu­dent looks for­ward to a va­ca­tion from school, the cook looks for a way to get out of the kit­chen. However, sum­mer or not, stom­achs rumble, ap­pet­ites abound, and there’s al­ways a chor­us of “I’m hungry!” What’s a moth­er to do? How about dust­ing off the old (or new) slow cook­er?

Al­though sum­mer is the per­fect time for en­joy­ing salads or oth­er light din­ing, some­times you just want some meat and pota­toes. The fol­low­ing re­cipes al­low you to be on your merry way, and still have a great meal when you re­turn.

CROCK POT PORK CHOPS

4-6 pork chops

2 Tb­sp. oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 small green pep­per, thinly sliced

2 to­ma­toes, halved and sliced

1 Tb­sp. quick-cook­ing ta­pioca

½ cup ketch­up

1 Tb­sp. vin­eg­ar

2 Tb­sp. honey

1 tsp. Worcester­shire sauce

1 tsp. dried mus­tard

¼ cup red wine (bur­gundy or something dry)

1 tsp. ground cumin

- Trim ex­cess fat from chops. Brown them in skil­let on both sides. Drain chops on pa­per tow­els. Set aside.

- Ar­range onion, green pep­per and to­ma­toes in bot­tom of Crock Pot. (4 qt. or lar­ger)

- Sprinkle ta­pioca over ve­get­ables.

- Place pork chops atop ve­get­ables.

- Com­bine the re­main­ing in­gredi­ents in a bowl, and pour over meat and ve­get­ables in the Crock Pot.

- Cov­er and cook on low heat set­ting for six to eight hours, or un­til meat and ve­get­ables are tender.

VEAL SCAL­LOPINI

2 lb. veal cubes

¾ cup flour mixed with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pep­per

2 Tb­sp. oil

½ lb. fresh mush­rooms, sliced

2 onions, thinly sliced

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pep­per

1 tsp. sug­ar

1 tsp. oregano

1½ tsp. basil

1½ tsp. pars­ley

1 gar­lic clove, minced

1 can to­ma­toes (16 oz.)

- Dust veal cubes seasoned flour. Brown in oil.  

- Place veal cubes and all re­main­ing in­gredi­ents in­to crock pot.

- Stir to­geth­er.

- Cov­er and cook on low six to eight hours.

MUSH­ROOM-BAR­LEY RISOTTO

2 Tb­sp. oil

2 Tb­sp. but­ter

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 clove gar­lic, minced

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pep­per

1 lb. fresh mush­rooms, some minced, some sliced

1½ cups bar­ley

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. poultry season­ing

3 car­rots, diced

32 oz. Swan­son chick­en broth (re­serve ¼ cup to add at the end of cook­ing)

1 cup Parmes­an cheese

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup pars­ley, chopped

- Heat oil in a large skil­let over me­di­um heat.

- Add onions, salt and pep­per, and cook a few minutes un­til onions are lightly brown but not burnt, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

- Add mush­rooms, and cook for an ad­di­tion­al 2 or 3 minutes.

- Add bar­ley, and con­tin­ue to cook for a few more minutes. Stir un­til the bar­ley turns lightly golden brown.

- Put the bar­ley mix­ture in­to the crock pot.

- Add the thyme, poultry season­ing, car­rots and chick­en broth.

- Cov­er and cook on low for 3 hours.

- Add Parmes­an cheese, white wine, ¼ cup chick­en broth and pars­ley. Stir. Cov­er and cook on low for an ad­di­tion­al 15 minutes.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 3412 Pro­gress Drive, Suite C, Ben­s­alem, PA 19020)

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