Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easy, Fast and Tasty Slow Cooker Recipes

I don’t know about your household, but spring doesn’t just bring singing birds, beautiful flowers and sunny days with it around here; it also brings a very hectic family schedule! Between sports, school plays, yard work, and daily duties it’s hard for me to find time to shop for groceries, no less turn those groceries into a meal!

Slow cooker to the rescue! Besides being a great way to have a hot meal ready at various times, crock pot creations are a delicious treat to take along to cookouts and parties too. So here are some fast (throw in the ingredients, stir, run out the door, return hours later to a finished product!) recipes.

Get outside, enjoy spring and let the slow cooker do the work for you…but remember…you should still take all the credit when everyone praises the meal!

Tangy Meatballs
1 2-lb. bag frozen meatballs
1 jar of jelly, 12 oz. (any flavor)
1 jar chili sauce, 12 oz. (found in grocery store near ketchup)
Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Never fails—when I take these meatballs to a party, at least three people ask for the recipe. I tell them it’s a secret. No…just kidding…I tell them the recipe and they are always surprised at how simple it is.

Pulled Pork (or beef)
3-4 pound pork loin (or beef) cut up into huge chunks
1 bottle barbeque sauce, 16 oz.
Two ingredients for this recipe! The trick is to “pull” the pork/beef as it cooks. Cook on high for 3 hours, then cook on low for 3-4 hours. In the last two hours of cooking time, use two forks to pull the meat pieces apart—it’s so tender that this job is very easy. Serve on buns.
The longer this cooks, the tastier it is!

Beef Stew
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 onion, diced
1 lb. beef, cubed (more than 1 lb. if you like a lot of meat)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups string beans, cut into pieces
1 large can V8 juice
Pour olive oil into bottom of crock pot; add garlic, onion and cubes of beef. Cook on high setting for one hour (you can cook the beef/garlic/onion on the stovetop instead if you’re running out the door for the day.) Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low setting for 6-7 hours.
The V8 is my mother’s trick—it gives the stew a nice flavor and really seeps into the ingredients. Remember to cut the potatoes into small pieces so they won’t be crunchy. Add some rolls and you’ve got a very hearty meal!