Prep it, set it, forget it; Crock Pot great way to home-cooked meal

Published 9:12 pm Monday, May 4, 2015

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One of my absolute favorite gadgets in my kitchen is my Crock Pot.
I love the ease of setting up a meal to cook all day and being able to walk away while this handy-dandy device does the work. While some recipes call for some prep work before you put everything in the slow cooker, for a lot of recipes, it can be as simple as tossing everything inside and then setting it and forgetting it. Really, it can be one of the simplest ways to prepare a home-cooked meal.
Plus, allowing something to cook slowly really allows the richness of flavors to develop and permeate the dish.
Not only is it easy, there are so many things that can be cooked in your slow cooker ­— everything from soups, appetizers, side dishes, main courses and even desserts.
This week, I am sharing with you some of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Crock Pot
Chicken Corn Chowder
2 tablespoons butter
11⁄2 lbs chicken tenders, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 small carrots, sliced
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cans condensed cream of potato soup
11⁄2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1⁄2 cup half and half or evaporated milk
In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine; brown chicken. Transfer chicken to slow cooker.
Add onions and celery to skillet and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender.
Transfer the onions and celery to crock pot, along with carrots, corn kernels, soup, chicken broth and parsley.
Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.
During the last 10 minutes, stir in the half and half or evaporated milk. Continue cooking until hot.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes
6 slices bacon
3 pounds red potatoes, chopped
11⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon powdered ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Spread bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until brown and crispy, about 12-14 minutes. Let cool before crumbling; set aside.
Line a slow cooker with aluminum foil, leaving enough to overhang to wrap the potatoes on top, and coat with nonstick spray. Using 1⁄3 of the potatoes, make an even layer in the slow cooker. Top with 1⁄3 cup of the cheese, 1⁄3 of the Ranch Seasoning and 1⁄3 of the bacon crumbles. Repeat layer process 2 more times, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the cheese.
Cover potatoes with aluminum foil and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Open foil and sprinkle with remaining 1⁄2 cup cheese.
Cover again and cook until melted, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

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Slow Cooker
Beef and Broccoli
1 cup beef broth
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup oyster sauce
1⁄4 cup Imperial Sugar Light Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
In a medium bowl, whisk together beef broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic.
Place beef into a slow cooker. Add sauce mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 90 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1⁄4 cup water and the cornstarch.
Stir cornstarch mixture and broccoli into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve immediately over white rice.
Crock Pot Apple Crisp
8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 cup white sugar
3⁄4 cup flour
3⁄4 cup oatmeal
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 cup butter
Generously spray a crock pot with nonstick cooking spray, line with apples. Sprinkle the white sugar and cinnamon over top.
Mix together flour, brown sugar, and oatmeal. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until you get pea size pieces of butter. in a bowl. Cover the apples with this mixture.
Pack the flour-oatmeal-brown sugar-butter mixture. Cook on high for 3 hours.
Use a medium size crock pot to make this. Using a large crock pot will probably not work well as the ingredients will be too spread out and may burn around the edges.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Abby was born and raised in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County. Her love of cooking grew over the years as she worked in the kitchen alongside her mother and grandmother. Reach her at