A Chicken in Every Pot (or Not)

No I am not stating my political views. I just couldn’t resist the play on words!

I saw one of those recipe videos on Facebook  – you know the ones where they step through the recipe in double-time and it looks super easy and successful. Well I saw one for a roasted, beer-can type chicken in a slow cooker.

Seemed simple – put some foil balls in the bottom of your slow-cooker (instead of the beer can) and pour the beer ( or water or cider or whatever liquid) in the bottom. Place a seasoned chicken on top and put the lid on – cook on high for 4-5 hours. Voila! Perfectly juicy, roasted chicken.

So I bought a chicken, pulled out my slow cooker and tried it. Here is my video (slide show):

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I left the chicken in there  about 4.5 hours and it didn’t look any different – it just looked raw! I pulled it out and took its temperature – 120 degrees!! After FOUR AND A HALF HOURS!

I considered for a quick minute about finishing it in the oven, but then I thought about how many hours it had been squished in the pot, in the FDA danger-zone, trying to reach temperature. No thanks – into the trash. What a waste.

Moral of the story: get a bigger pot or a smaller chicken – pretty sure you need to fit the chicken in spaciously but who knows sometimes, the internet is just plain wrong.

 

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longs days, slow cook

open book

I am sorry I have been away for so long! I have been busy. Very Busy. Some may know and some may not, but I am a grad student finishing up my thesis in the next 2 months and I barely have time to breathe never mind cook!

So I am hoping to squeeze in a few things between now and my final thesis deadline in late January but forgive me if I am a little slow about posting. Now as I head into the holidays I am going to have even more things to juggle!

These busy days call for the helping hand of the slow-cooker. There is nothing better than dumping a few things in and hours later having a meal waiting for you. My latest creation was inspired by the cold night and the fact that I happened to have potatoes on hand.

I put scrubbed, chopped to bite size potatoes into the slow-cooker with a couple of tablespoons of butter and 1 smallish-medium onion chopped small. I opened a can of creamed corm and a can of niblet corn and added that. Next a can of low sodium broth, a dash of ground nutmeg, dash of garlic powder and plenty of salt and pepper. I also happened to have a small ham steak in the fridge so that got chopped and added too, but you could leave out for a vegetarian version. I let the whole thing cook on low for 8-10 hours till potatoes were tender. (consult your crock pot directions for times/settings as you may want to do high for a shorter time) At this point I took out my immersion blender and gave the mix a quick couple of pulses just to “thicken it up” with the blended potatoes etc. I added about a cup of half and half, adjusted for salt and pepper and served!

It came out delicious, couldn’t have been easier and sustained me  and my husband for several servings each while I march onward towards my academic goals!

chowder

Crock-Pot® Love… or is it “slow-cooker” love?

The term Crock-pot®  is a trademarked brand name for a kind of slow-cooker.

Bet you didn’t know that.

Well whatever you call it – I am in love.♥

I have some friends who are in love too. You know who you are. (Lydia.;-)

Mostly I just love having dinner all ready and waiting for me when I get home. This concept is nothing new. Folks have been bringing out the slow-cookers for years. For the holiday pot luck. For the family reunions. For the summer gatherings.

But the slow-cooker revolution is on. The internet is burning up with recipes. The bookstores are sporting more and more books dedicated solely to this form of cookery. 841 search results on Amazon alone!  Mark my words, I bet a food network show completely based on slow-cookers is already in production!

My latest slow-cooker love:

1 small pork roast – bought on sale and defrosted the night before in the fridge.

1 16 oz jar of “Better Than Freds” Caribbean Salsa. (Can’t find it – order it here – SO worth it)

1 can( 14oz +/-) Black beans, rinsed and drained

Frozen corn kernels – about a 1/2 bag  – doesn’t everybody have that in their freezer?

2 tsp Cumin – I LOVE this spice – if you don’t have it or love  it – leave it out.

Put everything in the slow-cooker (Meat on the bottom please.) Turn it on high and eat it 8 hours later over rice.

Full Disclosure:

I did not receive any compensation from either the salsa company or the slow-cooker company for promoting or advertising their products. But if anybody wants to send me some free stuff, please feel free to email me!

Wednesday Night Curry

What do you get when you mix:

Coconut Milk, cilantro, Anaheim and Serrano pepper puree, soy sauce, cane sugar, ginger, sea salt, shredded coconut, garlic, lime juice, cumin, coriander,lemon grass, arrowroot, Xanthan gum and white pepper in a crock-pot?

What! You mean to tell me you don’t have all that in your pantry?!

Well neither did I, but I did have a jar of Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce thanks to Aunt Barbara’s “cabinet stew in a box” gift. So that is what you get if you had all those ingredients listed above and the know how to put it all together.

So into the crock-pot goes the jar and a little water to make it extra “saucy.” Oh and that random package of boneless country ribs that I froze a month ago.

A few hours later after a hard day of work – add rice and frozen peas…  Voila!   Dinner is served!

Now that is some Wednesday Night!

Saturday Night Baked Beans

Baked beans are generally loved in all parts of the country (except maybe California and Florida where they are busy having fun sipping Mojitos and eating light to fit into year-round bikinis! – I’m not jealous…much.) Here in New England Boston baked beans are a serious tradition.

Once football weather starts and there is a nip in the air; beans begin to make an appearance. They are cooked in traditional bean pots, in dutch ovens and like me in slow cookers. (aka crock-pots) The original Boston baked beans dinner would be started on Friday night or Saturday morning and cook all day in the stone-lined family “beanhole” so they could be served Saturday night after the Puritan Sabbath started. They were the original plan-ahead cooks. They could also be served on Sunday morning as a quick breakfast or after church as a supper.

Following in the footsteps on my ancestors – I rinsed, picked and soaked the  beans overnight Friday night. Saturday morning I rinsed and boiled the beans in fresh water for about an hour. Skins on the beans should just be bursting. Toss them into the crock pot with some traditional basics – chopped onion, dark molasses, salt and pepper, a healthy dose of yellow mustard.

Here is where I get creative and throw in a few things from the “cabinet” and fridge.

From the fridge: I had these veggies in the crisper just asking to be used before they got too wrinkly! Red pepper, green pepper and onion. I don’t show it here but I had 1/2 of a bottle of my favorite sweet and spicy BBQ sauce just begging to be used. Why not? It can only stay half-used in the fridge for so long. Also not shown: the yellow mustard – French’s of course.

From the cabinet: Salt/pepper, one small can of tomato paste, (some folks use ketchup for the “tomato-y” flavor of the beans) Cumin because it is my favorite and adds a nice smokey flavor to go along with that BBQ sauce. The molasses of course for that sweet caramel-like flavor that puts the “Boston” in the “Boston baked beans.” (Google the “Boston molasses flood” for some interesting history.) And my newest ingredient Epazote. You can read about that herb here and maybe figure out why I used it.

True Boston baked beans would have some salt pork or bacon or something yummy like that in them. Shockingly I didn’t have any pork type item on hand. So I went without and 8 hours later on Saturday night – they were delicious. And of course healthier without all that salt and fat that Pork brings.

And vegetarian! (Don’t tell my husband!)