Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurry up, it's slow cooker season!

Hurry up! It’s slow cooker season
I know lots of people have multiple slow cookers stashed away and often forget to use them. I’m guilty myself, but Crock Pot: The Original Slow Cooker has some new packets to make a family meal that will draw them to the table. The very thought of simmering meat and vegetables makes me think of the word “hearty,” and that’s the title of one blend: Hearty Beef Stew. My mom made this and we got to smell it all afternoon before it was time go get our bowl full. And our second bowl full.
I tried my hand at BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning mix. The picture shows a pot of meat that can be used for sandwiches, tacos, etc. Of course I couldn’t play by the rules and instead of pulling the meat, I flavored slabs of pork with the packet’s contents, onions and jalapenos. We loved it, and I can’t hold this column any longer to try Savory Pot Roast, because we’re still enjoying all our leftovers.

Slow cooking for Thanksgiving
If you’re cooking for one or two this Thanksgiving, try creating your feast from turkey legs cooked in the slow cooker. Jonnie Downing has bunches of ides in “Holiday Slow Cooker” that are organized by good times.
Try mock turtle soup for Mardi Gras, tortilla soup for Cinco de Mayo, Boeuf en Daube for Bastille Day and keep going all year.

From the Christmas section, she claims her recipe for Brussels sprouts with spicy brown mustard, kosher salt, cracked black pepper and butter will make a believer out of those are not fans. You know, I think I detest Brussels sprouts, but think I’d like these.
Desserts include S’more Fondue with graham crackers for dipping.
Here’s a quickie:

Sweet and Easy Cranberry Sauce
Make this sauce a day ahead, leaving one less task for Thanksgiving Day.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix the cranberries, sugar, water and lemon juice in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for three hours, or until the cranberries burst. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to 18 hours.

Popcorn History
G.H.Cretors has been in the popcorn business since 1885 and Great Grandpa Cretor invented the popcorn machine which drew lines at the 1893  Chicago Columbian Exposition. I’d never known of him, but I’m thanking him. Today you can order up bags with titles like Chicago Mix, Just the Caramel Corn, Caramel Nut Crunch and kettle corn. That’s real cheddar on Just the Cheese Corn. You can arrange for tastings from tiny little paper cups. Okay, they’re adorable, now pass me the big bag. This brand is popped to perfection. The fluffy, salty ones pair so well with the crispy and sweet ones. I’d say this family is still making Grandpa proud.

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