Monday, December 5, 2011

In the Kitchen - All Hail the Crock Pot

At Thanksgiving this year I prepared roasted root vegetables as a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes.  They were a hit!  I chopped and tossed with a head of garlic, olive oil, and rosemary the following: purple potatoes, butternut squash (I know it's not a root veggie but it just fit), sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and carrots.  They roasted at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Easy and delicious!

Well I chopped way too much and was left with a tub of tupperware of seasoned, not-yet-cooked veggies.  Enter chicken and dumplings!  I've been craving them ever since I saw an ad for Panera's newest seasonal dish.  In 10 minutes I had a wholesome meal simmering in the crock pot allowing me to decorate and fold laundry for the afternoon, which then led to a night of football watching (ouch) and Christmas decoration admiring while chowing down on simple comfort food.  In the crock pot I dumped the chopped veggies, added a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of stock, and 3 large, uncooked chicken breasts (cut into cubes).  I seasoned with a little black pepper and cooked everything on high for about 5 hours.  20 minutes before we were ready to eat I added some frozen peas and dumplings (2/3 cup Bisquick mixed with 2 cups milk).  Seriously delicious and enough for quite a few meals.  



And in case you haven't visited my 'favorites' page and need one more recipe to try, here's Joe's mom's famous BBQ.  It's one of the few things Joe knew how to cook when I met him.  It's perfect for summer get togethers on the deck because it serves a crowd or cold winter days because it's hot and hearty. 

4-6lbs pork butt or shoulder
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 T sugar
bottle of favorite bbq sauce

Trim meat of excess fat and silvery skin.  Place in crock pot; salt and pepper meat; and add garlic, vinegar, and sugar.  Cook on low for 12-14 hours or on high for 6-7 hours.  Remove bone if necessary (I use a pair of tongs and it slips right out), drain liquid (reserve some to toss with meat to prevent dryness), and shred meat with fork.  Serve with favorite sauce and coleslaw on buns.  ENJOY!

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