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Old 07-10-2010, 10:46 AM
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Default Slow Cooker recipes that won't kill you

I am trying to get better about using our crockpot so we don't have to cook every night.

The thing is, I have no real experience with one of these, and the majority of highly rated recipes I can find seem to involve tons of cheese or cream sauce or something else heavy and gross. However, a healthy veggie one I tried was bland as hell. I've kind of stalled at this point since trying a new recipe involves lots of ingredients and makes a ton of food, and I don't like eating terrible food for days, especially if I've just spent a lot of money buying the ingredients for said terrible food.

Can anyone recommend some good not full of fat crockpot recipes? To give a better idea of what I'm thinking of, one really good soup I made was a combination of these two recipes.
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:01 PM
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If it weren't for the hot weather, I'd be indulging a craving for minestrone right now.
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, ends trimmed, cubed
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained; mash half of them
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • pepper
  • 1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, mashed, with juice
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 5 leaves Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 c. elbow macaroni

Saute the onion, carrots, celery, and zucchini in the olive oil in a skillet until soft, ~5 minutes. Transfer to the cooker and add the kidney beans, salt, bay leaf, pepper, parsley, tomatoes, and broth, then bring up to ~1" over the vegetables with water. Cook on LOW for 5 hours, then add the chard and wine and cook for another 2-3 hours. Fish out the bay leaf, add the pasta, and cook on HIGH until done, 20-30 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan.

I have a small volume cooker, so I pull about half of it out before adding the chard and keep it in the fridge for a few days. It also stores well if removed just before adding the pasta.

The recipe I had originally suggested some lima beans and far less pasta; for personal taste, I'd rather add more pasta and, if I'm soaking them myself, slightly more kidney beans.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:26 PM
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I once started to put together a collection of slow cooker recipes, but it seems that most of them have been lost to the ether. These are the only ones I could find, but I would only use them for inspiration. I remember trying some and modifying them heavily, but again, those modifications seem to have been lost. The rough drafts in that Google Docs folder probably have some imbalances in the spices.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:37 PM
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Why do you specifically want crockpot recipes? Crockpots are mostly for stewing a cheap cut of meat all day until tender, while using less electricity/producing less heat than the stove or oven. Hence the sort of recipes you're finding. Most vegetables will turn to mush if you cook them for more than a few hours. Leafy greens are your best best there- collards, chard, kale, etc. If you go that route, go find Turnip's recipe for pepper sauce.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazian and mablem8
Recipes
Thank you! The minestrone looks awesome and a lot of the stuff on your list sounds great, mablem8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
Why do you specifically want crockpot recipes? Crockpots are mostly for stewing a cheap cut of meat all day until tender, while using less electricity/producing less heat than the stove or oven. Hence the sort of recipes you're finding. Most vegetables will turn to mush if you cook them for more than a few hours. Leafy greens are your best best there- collards, chard, kale, etc. If you go that route, go find Turnip's recipe for pepper sauce.
I generally dislike cooking but I'm more willing to cook in the morning before I head to work. When I come home at the end of the day I just want food and I want it NOW and have no interest in cooking it. Also the house smells amazing and we have a bunch of stuff to freeze so there's less cooking involved.

I've only recently started using collards/kale/chard recently but I agree, the stuff is great.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:42 PM
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My wife and I frequently make pulled pork from a recipe we found online, which makes the house smell amazing, and gives us enough to make meals all week long. I usually end up using an 8-lb roast instead of 4-6, and don't worry about it being boneless, since the bone ends up falling out anyways.

2 onions, sliced thin
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs paprika
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 (4-6 lb) boneless pork butt or shoulder
¾ cup cider vinegar
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½tsp sugar
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Place onions in crock-pot. Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper; rub over roast. Place roast on top of onions.

Combine vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne; stir to mix well. Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.

Cover crock-pot; cook on low 12-14 hours. Drizzle about 1/3 of reserved vinegar mixture over roast during last ½ hour of cooking.

Remove meat and onions; drain. Chop or shred meat and onions. Serve with remaining vinegar mixture.

EDIT: oops, missed the "not full of fat" part. Well, YMMV. We've made a few stews in the slow cooker that were fairly good. Carrots and celery survive the process fairly well.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam View Post
EDIT: oops, missed the "not full of fat" part. Well, YMMV. We've made a few stews in the slow cooker that were fairly good. Carrots and celery survive the process fairly well.
No problem, this looks really tasty, and honestly doesn't look that fattening, at least it won't have that heavy fattening feel of cream sauce or cheese stuff.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violentvixen View Post
No problem, this looks really tasty, and honestly doesn't look that fattening, at least it won't have that heavy fattening feel of cream sauce or cheese stuff.
The shoulder is literally the greasiest part of a hog. If you cook one over live coals for 7-12 hours or so, that will burn out most of the fat, but in a crock pot, it's going to be sitting there stewing in fat.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
The shoulder is literally the greasiest part of a hog. If you cook one over live coals for 7-12 hours or so, that will burn out most of the fat, but in a crock pot, it's going to be sitting there stewing in fat.
Well crud. I've never cooked pork so there ya go.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violentvixen View Post
Well crud. I've never cooked pork so there ya go.
Most pork is actually pretty lean these days, but the larger cuts still have a decent amount of fat on them. If you want to braise a large cut of pork and are worried about fat, try to find a fresh(IOW, uncured/unseasoned) ham. The ham is naturally drier than the shoulder.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violentvixen View Post
I've only recently started using collards/kale/chard recently but I agree, the stuff is great.
Well, just to repeat, make some pepper sauce. It's excellent for this kind of leafy green. A bit of meat(bacon, ham hock, pig's feet, etc.) also does wonders for their taste. Alternatively, you could add more red and/or black pepper in lieu of seasoning meat.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
The shoulder is literally the greasiest part of a hog. If you cook one over live coals for 7-12 hours or so, that will burn out most of the fat, but in a crock pot, it's going to be sitting there stewing in fat.
*a cloud of smoke*

A cook appears! command?

How convenient I just made a lean pulled BBQ pork from pork shoulder this weekend.

Step 1: cook the pork shoulder in the crockpot on high for a several (5-6) hours along with a cup of water, some (cooking) wine, garlic, onion, salt and any herbs to taste. This renders much of the fat, and softens the rest of the fat and connective tissue.

Step 2: Remove shoulder from now-greasy liquids, place on cutting board or bowl, and separate the meat from the nasty stuff. Takes 5-10 minutes on a 4 pound or so shoulder If the meat is already falling-apart soft, instead start pulling lean meat out into said bowl.

Step 3: Toss now relatively lean and extremely tender meat back into crockpot with BBQ seasonings of your choice on low/warm setting (as meat is fully cooked) to allow flavours to develop.

This prevents that pulled pork from having that nasty greasy mouth-feel I hate so very, very much.

*if you use a lean cut of pork, reserve liquid from step 2, skim the tiny bit of fat off, and add some juices back to meat.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazian View Post
If it weren't for the hot weather, I'd be indulging a craving for minestrone right now.
Well its cold weather here, and we just bought a 6L slow cooker, so I may just have to use this recipe to christen it. I love a good minestrone.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwolfe View Post
How convenient I just made a lean pulled BBQ pork from pork shoulder this weekend.
You made braised pork. You haven't made barbecue unless you set something on fire and removed all ketchup from the house before starting prep.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:28 AM
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nooooooooooo, let's not derail another thread into the definition of barbecue.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:25 AM
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Every time I see this thread I misread it as "Sly Cooper recipes that won't kill you". Then I'm disappointed.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:59 AM
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I just call it grilling (oder grillen) to make my life easier.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:14 AM
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nooooooooooo, let's not derail another thread into the definition of barbecue.
Sometimes, I make jokes.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:18 AM
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Sometimes, I make jokes.
Sometimes.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwolfe View Post
Tasty stuff
To clarify, you dump the greasy water before putting the shoulder back in, correct?

Also, what's that cold vegetable soup? I thought minestrone was often served cold, but it doesn't seem like it.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:00 PM
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Also, what's that cold vegetable soup?
Gazpacho?
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:04 PM
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Gazpacho?
I was thinking of that, but I didn't think tomato was the prominent ingredient. From looking at the other ingredients I think I'm just remembering it wrong. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
You made braised pork. You haven't made barbecue unless you set something on fire and removed all ketchup from the house before starting prep.
Holy nitpicking, batman!

My point was that your issue with cooking pork shoulder in a crock pot (greasiness) is easily resolved.

I was extremely careful to call it BBQ, that abbreviation that encompasses the sauce, not barbecue, the cooking method, by the way, and you still had to ... *sigh*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violentvixen View Post
To clarify, you dump the greasy water before putting the shoulder back in, correct?
Exactly right. I dump the grease and water, wipe out the crockpot to blot most of the grease out, then put the meat back.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:58 PM
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Sometimes, I make jokes.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
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Sometimes, I make jokes.
Are they ever funny?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:21 PM
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Are they ever funny?
Once, but a man died.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:22 PM
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Are they ever funny?
We aim not to please.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:28 PM
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I'm doing a modification of dwolfe's pulled pork recipe tonight. I already did it once and it was delightful, but tonight instead of cooking it on high for five hours and doing the shredding at midnight, I've let my mom talk me into cooking it on low over night. I really doubt there'll be a problem, but I can't shake this feeling it'll all just dissolve into cat food by then.

Not to mention stuffing the slow cookers (two of them!) to the brim with pork to cook it all in one night instead of over a couple days like I wanted. I tell you, if there's any problems with this batch I'll never listen to my mom's advice on pulled pork again.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:51 PM
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I love the hell out of my crock pot. Pulled pork (just to be clear, not the for-reals barbecue kind) is always a safe bet. And while all of the preceding advice about pouring off the fat from a pork shoulder is perfectly valid, you can also get pretty decent results from a leaner cut, like a pork loin (if you're willing to pay a bit more and don't need huge amounts of it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwolfe View Post
This prevents that pulled pork from having that nasty greasy mouth-feel I hate so very, very much.
Though to be fair, if you don't have a least a little greasy mouth-feel from pulled pork, you're doing it wrong. My uncle coined the "grawesome" (I think it's a combination of "gross" and "awesome?") to describe pork fat when he was teaching in culinary school. It's slimy and nasty and will kill you in large amounts, but that's where the flavor's at. A little bit won't hurt that much, and will arguably provide a better result.

You can do pretty much the same thing with beef also - if you do that right a couple of times, you will never go back to ground-beef whitebread bastard-tacos ever again. I don't have an actual recipe, since I tend to shoot from the hip when cooking (since I'm a LOOSE-CANNON COOK who DOESN'T PLAY BY THE RULES!), but chipotle peppers usually feature prominently.

Although, probably the main thing I use my slow-cooker for is chili. You can use cheap, low-grade stew meat, and it still winds up being tender and delicious thanks to the prolonged application of heat.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:47 PM
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http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Slow-C...ref=pd_sim_b_3
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