12 pm: 62°FMostly Cloudy

2 pm: 67°FMostly Cloudy

4 pm: 70°FMostly Cloudy

6 pm: 69°FMostly Cloudy

More Weather


The slow cooker process fits perfectly and economically with today's busy life

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Slow cooking could be a new twist to an old dance, as the slow cooker process has slowly, but surely, returned to kitchens everywhere.

Busy lifestyles prevent many households from preparing healthy meals, but with this culinary device, one's dinner can be waiting when the work-away-from-home shift and running of errands are done.

The use of a slow cooker has other benefits as well. It prevents the kitchen from heating up like the actual oven, which makes hot-weather cooking cooler. The food stays warm for the family as they arrive from their various activities. It frees up the stove top and/or oven for other dishes. Normally there are enough leftovers to serve at another meal, which prevents extra cooking the next day.

Cuts of meat that are less expensive become tender when slow cooked for a longer time, which makes this type of cooking more economical.

Often when food is boiled, nutrients "go down the drain" when liquids are drained. But with slow cooking, nutrients and minerals stay in the pot. When preparing the food, the cook can be in charge of what goes in the pot, such as fat and skin from meat can be trimmed making meal time healthier and providing more weight control.

These "slow-cooker" recipes are provided by Pillsbury:

SPICY THREE BEAN SLOW-COOKED CHILI

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with added puree, undrained

1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, drained, rinsed

1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion

2-3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin

TOPPING

3 purchased corn muffins, crumbled

3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In 31/2- or 4-quart slow-cooker, combine chili ingredients; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting at least 9 hours or until bell pepper and onion are tender. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange crumbled corn muffins in single layer on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 5-8 minutes or until light brown and crisp. To serve, ladle chili into six individual soup bowls. Sprinkle each with toasted corn muffin crumbs and cheese.

SLOW-COOKED TURKEY DINNER

6 small red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered

2 cups sliced carrots

11/2 pounds turkey thighs, skinned

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons dry onion soup mix

1/3 cup chicken broth or water

1 (103/4-ounce) can condensed 97 percent fat-free cream of mushroom soup with 1/3 less sodium

Place potatoes and carrots in 31/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Place turkey thighs over vegetables. In medium bowl, combine flour and remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour over turkey. Cover; cook on high setting 30 minutes. Reduce setting to low; cook at least 7 hours or until turkey is fork tender, its juices run clear, and vegetables are tender. With slotted spoon, remove turkey and vegetables from slow cooker; place on serving platter. Stir sauce until smooth; pour over turkey and vegetables.

HEARTY ITALIAN SPAGHETTI DINNER

3 (4-ounce) boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of fat, cut into 1- by 1/4-inch strips

1 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut up

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with added puree, undrained

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

12 ounces uncooked spaghetti

In 31/2-or 4-quart slow cooker, combine ingredients except spaghetti; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting at least 7 hours or until pork is no longer pink and onions are tender. Cook spaghetti to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain. Serve pork mixture over spaghetti.

MEXICAN RICE AND BEAN CASSEROLE

1 cup uncooked regular rice

2/3 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15-ounce) can spicy chili beans, undrained

1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained, cut up

1 (14.5-ounce) can ready-to-serve chicken broth with 1/3 less sodium

1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add rice; cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until light golden brown. In 31/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine browned rice and remaining ingredients except cheese; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting at least 5 hours or until rice is tender. Stir mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Cover; cook until cheese is melted.

SCALLOPED POTATOES AND TURKEY

1 pound ground turkey breast

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 (7.8-ounce) package cheesy scalloped potatoes

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

21/2 cups boiling water

11/2 cups skim milk

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add ground turkey; cook until browned and no longer pink. Stir in thyme and pepper. In large bowl, combine sauce mix from potato package, potato slices and margarine. Add boiling water; stir until margarine melts. Add milk; mix well. Stir in browned turkey; bell pepper and onion. Spoon mixture into 31/2-or 4-quart slow cooker. With back of spoon, press down potatoes to cover with sauce. Cover; cook on low setting at least 7 hours or until potatoes are tender.

(u'addcomment', u'nobuy')

Comments

The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.