I have to admit, I have been too freaked out to use my Crock-Pot in the past. I can’t say why exactly. Well, perhaps because the whole idea conquers up images of scary-looking congealed concoctions from church potluck pasts. But over the year, I’ve conquered that fear and boy am I glad that I did. Not only is cooking with a Crock-Pot eco-friendly due to using less energy than a conventional oven, but it is a life saver for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook a hot meal in the evening.
I have to say, coming home hungry to yummy-smells literally makes me dash about the house doing my best Kevin McAllister impression.
Moroccan Crock-Pot Chicken
Layer the following ingredients in the order listed:
- 4 bone-in organic pastured chicken legs (save the bones for stock when done cooking)
- heavy sprinkle of sea salt
- 1.5 T. Moroccan seasoning
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1-3 Tbls. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced, or six, uncrushed whole garlic cloves
- 1/2 lemon wedge (squeezed and dropped into the pot)
- 2/3 of a yellow or sweet onion, chopped
- tomatoes (handful of Sungold or 1 medium Hothouse chopped or 1 can diced or whole tomatoes, with juice)
- a handful (about 6 large) crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- small handful kalamata olives (optional)
- chicken stock (1 cup for a moist, stewey dinner, or up to four cups for more of a soup – you can use water in a pinch as the bone-in chicken makes its own broth)
Directions: Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5. Remove lemon wedge. Ladle into bowls, removing and reserving bones.
Easy Crock-Pot Coconut Curry Chicken
Follow the instructions as indicated above, with the following replacements:
- one hefty spoonful of coconut oil in place of olive oil
- one tsp. turmeric and one tsp. curry powder in place of Mediterranean seasoning
- omit olives
- one 16 oz. can coconut milk in place of or in addition to chicken stock
Absolutely delicious, and a completely different flavor.
Beef Stew (adapted from Nourishing Traditions recipe)
- red wine
- 1-2 lbs. beef stew meat
- salt & pepper
- several tsp. seasonings such as oregano, marjoram, rosemary
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 carrots, sliced in rounds
- 6 garlic whole uncrushed garlic cloves
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 cups beef or vegetable broth
- peel and a bit of the juice from one lemon or orange
Directions: Marinate beef stew meat in red wine for about an hour prior to cooking. Ladle off most of the wine. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6. Remove orange or lemon peel and serve.
Shredded Chicken with Green Beans (this is the awesomeness I was eating the other day when I went on that epic rant)
- four bone-in chicken legs or breasts (or small-medium sized boneless chicken breasts)
- heavy sprinkle of sea salt
- 2 tsps. dried marjoram
- 1 tsp. turmeric (optional)
- 2-4 carrots, cut in 1″ pieces (optional)
- 1-2 lbs. fresh green beans, ends snapped
- 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, depending on amount of vegetables used
Directions: Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5. Serve in bowls, removing and reserving bones, then shred chicken (you won’t have to work much in order for this to happen).
Easy Slow Cooker Prep Idea
When Meg linked to this ingenious slower cooker prep idea, I was hooked. To cut down on organic meat costs, we order fresh meat packs in bulk from our local grocer. Whenever we get a new pack, I separate out chicken and beef stew meat and then add the meat, vegetables and even the herbs and spices to a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Then I label the bags, flatten them and pop them into the freezer.
I either put a frozen bag in the fridge the evening before I plan to slow cook, or leave it on the counter for about a half hour before adding to the slow cooker. Then I add the liquids, put the lid on and turn on the pot. If the contents are still a bit frozen, I typically turn it on high for an hour, and then drop it down to low for the remainder of the cooking time. A little prep work up front makes using a slow cooker that much easier.
What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes?