Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Slow-cooked flavour

The crock pot is a great time-saver that can make tasty and nutritious meals for those who don't feel like sweating over a hot stove

One of the easiest ways to overcome the week night dinner doldrums is with the use of your slow-cooker.

This countertop cooking method can do it all, from whole meals, special entrées, to desserts. You can prep the night before or in the morning before work, and let your slow cooker meal simmer throughout the day while you go about your busy life. It  takes stress out of meal preparation, it’s convenient, versatile, and the perfect way to enjoy a hot family meal that is ready when you are.

A few tips when converting recipes to the crock pot to keep in mind: Buy roasts and other large cuts of meat that will fit in your crock pot, or plan to trim them to fit. Remove skin from poultry and trim excess fat from other meats before cooking. Fresh root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and onions, should be placed in the bottom of the pot, under the meat, for faster cooking as they tend to cook more slowly than meat.

Since slow cookers sometimes dilute flavours over a long period, be creative with your seasonings. Seasoned salt, garlic powder, seasoned pepper and complementary herbs and spices are best added near the end of cooking. And since colours tend to fade in slow-cooked foods, adding a garnish such as chopped fresh parsley, chives, tomatoes, red peppers, cheese or sour cream can add much visual appeal.

Today’s recipes are slow- cooker favourites; the first a wonderful potato soup. The second recipe may sound strange but it tastes amazingly delicious. It’s a pork roast that can be used in many ways, from pulled pork  to a meal with the addition of potatoes and vegetables. Give it a try.

Crock-Pot Potato Chowder

8 cups diced potatoes

1/3 cup onion, chopped

3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cubed, softened

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Chives

Combine potatoes, onion, broth and cream of chicken soup in crock pot.

Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Add cream cheese and blend.  Top with bacon and chives before serving.

pepsi pork roast

3 lbs. pork shoulder butt

1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

Half (1-1/4 ounce) package onion soup mix

1 (12 ounce) can Pepsi

Place roast in crock pot.

Mix soup mix with soup.  Add Pepsi to soup mixture and pour over roast. Cook on high for 4-5 hours (or low for 8-10 hours).

When done, remove roast and thicken juices with cornstarch for wonderful gravy.

Note: You can cook potatoes and carrots with the roast for a complete meal if you wish.

 

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