Running a popular cooking site definitely gives me insight into what people are making, what they are requesting, and what types of recipes they do not want to make. Topping the request list are desserts, roasts, chicken dishes, holiday ideas, and weeknight, easy recipes, especially crock-pot (same thing as a slow cookier) options. Call it retro or just practical, crock-pots are in-fashion and in high demand. Each week, I’ve been testing new crock-pot recipes to bring you delicious and easy options (no browning meat first in my choices). Everything from meat, chicken, soups and even desserts work well in a crock pot, but dishes that requires browning or mixing in other bowls, just don’t save much time or clean-up, so I savor and remake the ones that score high on taste and also on the equally important, ease of preparation. Here are a variety of choices that win in both categories.
Asian Orange Chicken
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, thawed
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 pieces ginger, about ¼ inch thick
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 6 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (keep frozen)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, optional
In a zip-lock bag, combine the orange juice concentrate, honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Mix well. Place the chicken in the bag and coat it well with the sauce. Pour the chicken and sauce in the Crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Remove the chicken. Strain the sauce (or just pour it in) into a saucepan. In a small dish, stir the cornstarch and cold water. Pour into the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 – 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with rice.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
- 1 red wine
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 pounds beef short ribs
- 2 onions, chopped
Combine the wine, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar and pepper in the crock-pot and mix until smooth. Add the ribs, submerging them in the sauce. Stack them in a round crock-pot to make room for all of them. Distribute the onions over the ribs. Cover and cook on LOW until tender, about 7-8 hours.
Apple Sweetened Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 1 (5-pound) corned beef
- 1 quart apple juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (use Dijon mustard as a substitute)
- 8 to 10 small red potatoes, scrubbed
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 onion, sliced
- ½ green cabbage, cut into chunks
Place all ingredients in crock-pot and stir to mix. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.
Broccoli, Garlic and Olive Oil Soup
- 3 pounds broccoli (I use the frozen, florets and stems)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced (use them all)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Chop the broccoli into bite size pieces. Combine the broccoli, oil, garlic, thyme, broth, wine and lemon juice in a crock-pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 – 6 hours.
Before serving, mash some of the broccoli with the back of a spoon. Or if you prefer a smooth soup, puree it with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper. I like to serve this with chunky Italian bread for dipping.