Tag Archives: Crock-Pot

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Wow, have I been making the most of my slow-cooker this season!  Here on the East Coast, we have been hammered with snow, and  there is nothing like coming into the kitchen after hours of shoveling or sledding to the aroma of a hearty soup or stew. My most recent concoction? A creamy and delicious Butternut Squash Soup.  I pre-roast the squash for about 15 minutes which really brings out its wonderful nutty taste.  Curry and coriander add layers of flavor to the soup and are balanced by a slightly sweet touch of applesauce.  Serve the soup in a huge mug and grab a warm, crusty chunk of bread and a cozy blanket.  My frostbitten toes are tingling just thinking about it!

Butternut Squash Soup

Makes about 10 cups

1 butternut squash, peeled and halved  (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
– Preheat oven to 400F.  Place butternut squash halves, cut side up, in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast 15 minutes.  Cut into 1-inch cubes.
– In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned.  Stir in curry powder; cook 1 minute.
– Place butternut squash and onion mixture into a large slow-cooker.  Add remaining ingredients except heavy cream and walnuts.  Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
– In food processor or blender, process mixture in small batches until purèed.  Return to slow-cooker on WARM setting; add heavy cream and stir  until heated through.
– Sprinkle each serving with chopped walnuts and a sprig of fresh thyme if desired.


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Filed under Butternut Squash, Crock-Pot, curry powder, Entertaining, Soup

On a Roll with the Crock-Pot

I tell you, without a kitchen, my new found friend is the Crock-Pot. I made Pork Chops with Sauerkraut, a blast from the past from my childhood! My Mom used to make this in the oven. When I was a kid, I wouldn’t touch it, but today — I love it. And in the Crock-Pot, the pork is so tender, it slips right off the bone. Caraway seeds and bacon– my secret ingredients!!!  OK, I know that bacon is not the best thing for you, but boy, does it add great flavor. You’ve got to live sometimes!!!

Tips:

– I added some baby potatoes, halved to the sauerkraut mixture.  You can also add sliced carrots.
– If you are not a caraway seed fan, just eliminate them.
– Use turkey bacon if you don’t want the extra fat and cholesterol.
– Recipe can be doubled to make 4 servings.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 2 servings

3 slices bacon
1 bag (16 ounces) sauerkraut
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 center cut loin bone in pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)

    – Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, reserve bacon drippings.

    – In 5 to 6 quart Crock-Pot, place sauerkraut, onion, brown sugar, caraway seeds and black pepper.  Crumble bacon over sauerkraut mixture and add reserved bacon drippings; stir well.

    – Place pork chops over mixture.  Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours.

    C

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    Filed under Crock-Pot, Main Dishes, Pork, Potatoes

    Healthy Crock-Pot Oatmeal

    My husband Rich and I have been trying to eat healthier.  No more bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for our weekend breakfasts!  I’ve discovered steel-cut oats. I love the texture of the oats—nutty, crunchy, so good ! They are the healthiest variety of oats, but also take the longest to prepare.  Crock-Pot to the rescue!!  Since it’s just the two of us for breakfast, I purchased a small Crock-Pot just for the oats—a 1 1/2 to 2-quart size works great, plus they are inexpensive.  I start the oats the night before and have a healthy breakfast in the AM.  I add lots of good toppings, too!

    Tips

    – Be sure to spray the inside of the Crock-Pot with vegetable cooking spray.  If not, the oatmeal forms a sticky crusty coating on the sides of the Crock-Pot.
    – Add dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pineapple, apricot, apples—the combinations are endless.
    – Add nuts, flax seeds, toasted wheat germ, granola—be creative!
    – You can also add fresh fruit.  If I do, I get up a little early and add it about 1/2 hour before the oatmeal is done.
    – I love adding brown sugar or a touch of maple syrup (okay, so much for being healthy!)
    – If you have a large family, use a larger Crock-Pot and double or triple the recipe. To make a smaller amount as in this recipe, it is important to use the right size (smaller) Crock-Pot as specified above.

    Here’s the recipe:

    Makes 2 heaping servings

    4 1/2 cups water
    1 cup steel-cut oats
    1/4 cup dried fruit
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    – Spray inside of  1 1/2 – 2 quart crockpot with vegetable cooking spray.
    – Place all ingredients in Crock-Pot.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

    C

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    Filed under Breakfast, Crock-Pot, Healthy

    Crock-Pot BBQ

    The salad dressing recipe is coming but I have to tell you about the great BBQ baby back ribs I made last night. The secret: my new Crock-Pot. It is the greatest invention. I have been in the food business for more than 30 years and I only just bought one, thanks to Heather. It comes in handy, especially right now when I have no kitchen to work in! Easy, easy easy ribs: two racks baby back ribs, one onion, sliced and one bottle of your favorite bottled BBQ Sauce ( I used Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce). Place all in Crock-Pot (be sure to add some water to bottle of empty BBQ sauce; shake to get the last drop of sauce and pour over all) Cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours. We are talking about fall-off-the-bones goodness. The sauce caramelizes—yummy. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers! Till next time…
    C

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    Filed under BBQ, Crock-Pot, Ribs