Slow Cookin’

The days of homework, afterschool activities and harried evenings short on daylight are upon us. This is the time of year when I crank up the crock pot, or slow cooker, the most. It’s so nice to come home after a busy school or work day and have dinner either already done or at least well on its way.

Let your slow cooker or crock pot give back some of the time you spend scrambling to get dinner cooked on busy school nights or even lazy weekends. Try these recipes, get immersed in the billions of recipes
online, or tweak your own favorites like pot roast or even gumbo. An added bonus is that you’ll come home to heavenly aromas wafting from your kitchen on slow cooker days.

To get tips and tricks about slow cooking, read the full article in the September issue of City Social or pick up a copy around town.

PotatoSoupSmoked Cheddar Potato Soup Courtesy of Tammy Pearl, neighbor and crock pot queen.
1 30-ounce bag of frozen hash browns
3, 14-ounce cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 onion, chopped
Pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, not fat-free
5 strips cooked bacon, chopped
3 bunches green onions, chopped
1 block Applewood smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Mix everything together except the cream cheese. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Add the cream cheese about 30 to 45 minutes before serving. Stir in the shredded cheese, if you decide to add it, and bacon just before serving. Reserve some for topping along with sour cream and green onions.

Cook’s Note: I added the smoked cheddar to Tammy’s recipe, but it is perfectly delicious with or without it.

Chipotle Pulled Pork SlidersPorkSliders
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1, 6-pound pork shoulder or Boston butt, trimmed of fat
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
4 chipotle chiles
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotle chiles
1 cup barbeque sauce
20 to 32 split dinner rolls

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. In small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, salt, mustard, pepper and cumin with a fork. Rub seasoning mixture over pork. Place pork in cooker. Sprinkle sliced onion over top of pork in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat setting 7 to 8 hours.

Remove pork from cooker; place on cutting board. Skim fat from liquid and reserve liquid from the slow cooker. Shred pork by pulling two forks in opposite directions. Return to cooker. Mince garlic cloves with chipotle chilies and adobo in a food processor. Whisk together barbeque sauce, garlic and chipotle mixture, then pour shredded pork. Stir in some of the reserved cooking liquid for desired moistness.

Increase heat setting to high. Cover and cook 15 to 30 minutes longer or until pork is hot. Spoon pork mixture onto each roll and serve. Pork mixture can be kept warm in the slow cooker on low up to 2 hours.

AppleCrispSlow Cooker Apple Crisp
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1 stick butter, cut into cubes

Put lemon juice in the bottom of a slow cooker. Peel, core and slice apples and put in the slow cooker with the lemon juice and toss to coat. Mix together sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over the apples and toss to coat.

For topping: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumb topping on top. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until apples are tender. For the last hour, cover the slow cooker with a paper towels capture the moisture and set the cover slightly askew to allow the steam to escape for the topping will crisp.

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