The clock was turned back one hour. Our days turned shorter and became darker earlier. Just the thought of having to come home when it is night already and then fixing dinner can be a daunting task. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if dinner cooked itself and was ready to serve to your hungry family as they step into the house?
There is a way, and the crockpot is the answer. A marvelous little pot that does most of the job for you, freeing up your evening hours for more important chores.
Most people use their crockpot only to cook their cholent for Shabbos, but it can also be used any other day of the week. Simple hassle free one-dish meals can be cooked with fabulous results. Just place all ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and let it do the rest. You will be happily surprised with the results- deliciously evenly cooked meals that are ready to be served at your whim.
Almost any recipe that requires baking or stovetop simmering will work beautifully in the crockpot. Another advantage of cooking in a crockpot is that it does not allow for the nutrients to escape as they all stay sealed.
Suggested Cooking time
Stove top Crock pot (low) Crock pot (high)
15 to 30 minutes 4 to 8 hours 1 ½ to 2 ½ hrs.
30 to 40 minutes 6 to 10 hours 3 to 4 hours
50 min. to 3 hours 8 to 12 hours 4 to 6 hours
To adapt a favorite recipe reduce the amount of liquid by approximately half. Remember that liquids do not boil away as they do in conventional cooking therefore less water is required. Do not overfill the pot or liquid will ooze out, especially if you chose to cook on high.
Generally, there is no need for preparatory steps. Onions and other vegetables do not need to be browned or sautéed first. Simply place all ingredients you have selected for your days meal in the pot and let it simmer all day. Change cooking times to meet your schedule. One hour on high generally equals two hours on low. The crockpot cooks gently, so don’t worry about length of cooking time. If you are in a hurry, cook on high for first 1 to 3 hours and then turn down to low for the remaining time.
Try not to remove the lid during the cooking process, for that will cause steam to escape and cooking will take longer. Lately I have been taking meals out of the freezer, one bucket of rice and another of beans and warming it in the crock pot, with delicious results, especially since it is ready when I am, and it is not necessary to scramble to warm up my food the last minute. The meal feels more lavish when it is ready ahead of time.
A single dish served with a healthy tossed salad is all you need for a perfect meal accomplished to perfection with little effort.
Barley Vegetable Soup
1 cup regular pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
3 large carrots cut in rounds
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups frozen green beans (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tbs Braggs Amino acid
1/2 inch piece of Ginger
6 cups of water - adjust amount towards end of cooking
Place all ingredients in a 5 to 6 quart crockpot in the order given. Do not stir.
Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Before serving stir soup, adjusting salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Succulent Chicken Dinner
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
4 chicken bottoms (legs and thighs)
2 Tbs mayonnaise
2 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs sugar free apricot jam
2 medium potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup water
Peel and cube potato and sweet potato and place over onions. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Pour water into the pot. Lay chicken over the potatoes. Mix mayonnaise, ketchup and jam until well combined. Spread over chicken. Turn on your pot on low for 6 hours. After 5 hours add a package of your favorite frozen vegetables and turn it into a complete delectable meal.
Gourmet Hungarian Goulash
This is one dish that the family loves. The recipe is really easy to make. It can be cooked in a pot but the slow cooker always brings out the best in any recipe. Prepare it the night before and refrigerate overnight and then just plug it in the morning.
800g /2 lbs. round steaks, cut in 3 cm /1 inch cubes or goulash meat or spare ribs
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1−1/2 Teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Dried thyme, crushed
400g/14 oz can tomatoes
1 cup brown rice rice
Put steak cubes, onion, garlic in the slow cooker. Stir in flour and mix to coat steak cubes. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well, cover and cook on low for 8−10 hours Add your favorite frozen vegetables and 1 cup brown rice 1 hour before serving, and stir in thoroughly. (High: 4−5 hours, stirring occasionally.)
½ onion finely diced
1 clove garlic
1 cup green or French lentils (pre soaked 6-8 hours)
1 large carrot chopped
½ sweet potato
1 thinly sliced leek (checked and washed)
1 rib thinly sliced celery.
Put all ingredients in crockpot and set on high for about 3 hours. Add salt to taste. Add 2/3 cup whole-wheat spiral or elbow macaroni for the last hour of cooking while on low flame. Enjoy your hot meal when you are ready! Preparation time 20 minutes Serves 6.