December 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm
by Heather Eng
During our last Facebook slow cooker chat of the year, we heard about many dishes that would be perfect for the holidays: ham, buffalo chicken dip, hot fudge brownies, hot chocolate and more. Plus, Michael Tyrrell, our associate food editor and slow cooker expert, shared tips on making stocks, soups and stuffing in your crock-pots. Yum!
Family Circle: Welcome to our last Slow Cooker Chat of the year! Introducing again our associate food editor and slow cooking expert Michael Tyrrell. Come ask him your questions and share tips. But first, tell us: what did you make in your crock-pot this weekend and how did it turn out?
Elaine: I made Mock Cabbage Rolls. I just cut everything up into pieces and let it cook. Saves all the rolling etc, tastes just as good. I have also done it with lasagna!! Just still it all gently.YUM YUM
Michael: Elaine – I have done a recipes like that and called it unstuffed cabbage—all the flavors of stuffed cabbage but easier. Never did it in the slow cooker—must try. Give us a little more detail about what you did.
Daneen: This weekend nothing, but I’m making chicken cacciatore on Friday.
Michael: Daneen – that type of recipe does well in the slow cooker. What cut of chicken do you use?
Kari: I did a ham in the crock-pot. So moist and tender.
Michael: Kari – tell us more about what you did with the ham, please.
Christine: Would love to know about the ham too!
Kari: It was a fully cooked ham so I put it in on high for 4 hrs (thought it was on low…oops!). Added a cup of cola and sprinkled the top with brown sugar…was perfect.
Michael: Kari – I agree, cola or root beer soda makes a good sauce. Just don’t use diet soda.
Maureen: Cheesy Potato Soup. It was awesome! The new recipe is definitely a keeper.
Michael: Maureen – that type of soup is great this time of the year. Let us give you a link to our loaded potato soup.
Family Circle: Maureen – check out our Baked Potato Soup (with bacon and cheddar cheese).
Family Circle: One of our Slow Cooker Newbies also made the Baked Potato Soup with less calories (and vegan!):
Kerry: I need an easy dip to make for Christmas Eve. Not a lot of cheese and no fish please.
Michael: Kerry – I think a dip came up in last week’s chat. Go to our blog and you’ll find the transcript under Slow Cooker Chronicles.
Christine: I love Buffalo Chicken Dip. Here’s one recipe made in the crock-pot.
Michael: Christine – thanks for the dip recipe. I just made some stovetop for holidays and froze. May try this one next time.
Family Circle: Kari – a fellow Slow Cooker Chatter mentioned making a buffalo chicken dip.
Christine: I’m making fudge in the crock-pot today! Praying it works out. I’m using the double-sided insert. Peppermint Chocolate Fudge in one side, and regular Chocolate Fudge in the other. Anyone do that before?
Michael: Christine – do you have a recipe for the fudge or are you just winging it? I never did fudge in the slow cooker but don’t see why it wouldn’t turn out ok. Let us know how it comes out.
Christine: It’s actually SKINNY fudge! Healthier too! Here’s the link.
Debbie: Someone told me they made stuffing in their crock-pot. Do you have a recipe for that?
Michael: Christine – stuffing I believe has come up in previous chats—maybe we can find you the link. If not, I would just be sure to cut back on the liquid so it doesn’t turn out too wet. You can always add a little more broth at the end. Good luck!
Family Circle: Reader Shannon shares her stuffing recipe here.
Moya: Beef stroganoff cooking in the crock-pot right now.
Michael: Moya – do you brown the beef first or just put it in raw (that’s what I do).
Moya: I browned first this time to shorten the cook tome a little…but I usually use it raw.
Michael: Moya – I never brown meats first—conventional wisdom is that browning adds flavor. I don’t brown and am always happy with my results.
Michelle: Can you do rice? I have tried before and it didn’t work. My rice was still crunchy. I would like to use my slow cooker more often as I love one pot dishes.
Michael: Michelle – I stir instant rice or par-cooked rice in at the end of a recipe.
Helena: Next week when family comes to visit I’ll use small slow cookers to keep fondue warm. I really like the different sizes!
Michael: Helena – Rival, I believe, sells a slow cooker with a smaller one included as well called the Little Dipper. I have one and think it’s very handy when entertaining.
Jennifer: I like to make Pork Carnitas in my slow cooker. So simple. Put a 3 lbs pork butt and 2 cans Rotel tomatoes in the slow cooker and cook for 6 hrs. Assemble tacos with your favorite toppings. Yum! Full recipe is in my cookbook Simply Suppers.
Family Circle: Jennifer – one of our Slow Cooker Newbies actually make delicious Drunken Pork Carnitas.
Michael: Jennifer – pork shoulder or butt is wonderful in the slow cooker. Let us link to our recent “Pork Shoulder, 5 Ways” slow cooker story.
Family Circle: Try this: “Pork Shoulder, 5 Ways”
Jennifer: I have never made a cake in my slow cooker but have seen some recipes. Have you ever tried it?
Family Circle: Jennifer: Try this Applesauce Cake.
Michael: Jennifer – yes we have tried cake—we’ll give you the link to a dessert story we did a while back.
Family Circle: We also have a collection of Slow Cooker Desserts.
Kari: I also have a recipe (at home) for beef roast using brewed black tea…and it makes an awesome gravy.
Michael: Kari – tea sounds good. We did a pot roast with coffee—let us link to our “5 Ways with Pot Roast” story. In a future chat, share with us the tea recipe, please.
Family Circle: Delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast.
Carla: I didn’t use it last weekend, but this coming weekend I’m making cheesy potato soup for Christmas Eve.
Michael: Carla – what type of cheese goes into your soup?
Carla: Just Velveeta. We’re not too fancy around these parts.
Michael: Carla – love me Velveeta in anything. Best when you want it melted into a dish.
Helena: Chocolate cake in the slow cooker is good.
Michael: Helena – does yours come out like a molten chocolate cake that you serve warm? With vanilla ice cream, I bet.
Helena: Yes, that’s the one.
Peggy: Hot fudge brownies are incredible. Taste just like brownies hot out of the oven with chocolate sauce and all you need is three ingredients: boiling water, chocolate sauce and a package of brownie mix.
Michael: Peggy – sounds so easy. Can you give us amounts you use and cooking time, please?
Dee: Peggy, how long do you cook it for?
Peggy: Prepare the brownie mix per directions on the box. Put on bottom of cooker. Mix 1 c boiling water and 1 c chocolate sauce. Pour over brownies. Cook for 2 1/2 to three hours on high. You won’t be sorry!
Family Circle: Thanks, Peggy!!!
Connie C: want to try Tastefully Simples Chocolate Ugly Cake in there but just haven’t made the time to do it yet.
Michael: I am likin’ the sound of these simple chocolate recipes.
Dee: Peggy – what kind of chocolate sauce do you use and does it end up like a molten cake?
Jennifer: Thx for the ideas!!! Happy holidays!!!
Family Circle: It’s the Holiday season! Are you making any Hanukkah or Christmas dishes in your slow cooker? Or are you serving up any New Year’s Brunch favorites with your crock-pot? Share your recipes and ask Michael your questions!
Alli: I’m making crock pot hot chocolate, does that count?
Mix 1 1/2 c. Heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups milk
2 c. Milk chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla in a 5 qt crock pot.
Cook on low for 2 hours.
Michael: Alli – that sounds like a crowd pleaser. Love the idea, especially for a party that includes kids.
Michael: One thing I am planning for New Year’s Eve dinner party at my house is to include pea or navy bean soup with my Christmas ham bone.
Michael: I would also suggest that if you have a turkey for Christmas—take the meat off the bird and throw the carcass in the slow cooker and cover with water along with an onion and a few carrots. Let it go all night on low and you’ll have a great stock for soup or risotto the next day.
Liz: I have 3 ham bones in the freezer…but we don’t like pea soup. What else can I make in the crock with these?
Michael: Liz – OMG. I am jealous. Try red beans and rice with one of them—use some Cajun seasoning. I would cook the rice stovetop and add in at the end. Also make a white bean and ham soup—my fave soup.
Family Circle: Since this is our last Slow Cooker Chat for the year (come back January 4th!), what are YOUR favorite dishes that you’ve made in the crock-pot this year? What have you learned? Any recipes you’re dying to try in 2012?
Amanda: I made a fantastic turkey breast. So simple but oh so good! I used dried cranberries and chicken broth.
Michael: Amanda – boneless or bone-in? Also how long did you cook it and was it on high or low.
Connie C: beef and noodles in mine right now!
Michael: Connie – when do you put the noodles in? Is it beef stew meat you are using?
Connie S: Chicken Chili!!
Michael: Connie – we love all kinds of chili in the slow cooker. Try one of ours next time. We’ll link you a story we did.
Family Circle: Connie S: have you tried our Mediterranean Roasted Veggie & Chicken Chili?
Connie S: TY Family Circle! I will try it! Printed the recipe ♥
Heather: I would like to attempt a cake. Suggestions? But mostly would like to use my cooker more often.
Michael: Heather check out the link to our dessert story. Cakes in the slow cooker are fun.
Family Circle: Heather: Check out our entire Slow Cooker Recipes Collection for some GREAT ideas! We even have a desserts story where you can find some yummy cakes.
Shani: made an awesome smothered meatloaf!! Thank you Sandra Lee!!!
Michael: Shani – tell us more about the meatloaf.
Julie: Salad Bar Soup! Just grab a full box of stuff from the salad bar (carrots, beans, veggies, onions, spinach, cabbage, etc.) 2 cans of condensed tomato soup, some potatoes and zucchini cut into small cubes, a box of 365 Whole Foods veggie broth, a can of Italian stewed tomatoes (cut up a bit) and about a cup and 1/2 of water. Toss in a handful of barley, and some seasoned salt. Cook on high until the potatoes are tender, a few hours. Yum!
Michael: Julie – thanks for the suggestion—sounds tasty but very little prep.
Christine: Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos! My entire family ate it! (including 3 kids)
Michael: Christine – what cut of chicken did you use?
Connie C: Christine: that sounds yummy!
Christine: I used 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts, 1 jar salsa, package of taco seasoning, juice of one lime, 3 tbs fresh cilantro. Low 8 hrs.
Connie S: Yay, thank you so much!!! I work in a CPA office and I ♥ to use my slow cooker at least 3x a week during this season…thank you again!!
Connie C: I am using beef stew meat, with red wine, cream of mushroom soup, beefy onion dry soup, quick cook tapioca and the noodles will get cooked separately and the beef put over.
Heather: Just wondering if you can make quick breads too???
Michael: Heather – I can’t recall ever doing a quick bread but I would think there are slow cooker recipes for them out there.
Dishing With Leslie: I love my Balsamic Chicken and my Shredded Beef Tacos. I make them on a regular basis.
Family Circle: Thanks for stopping by for our weekly Slow Cooker Chat! This is the last one for the year, but please make sure to come back on January 4th. In the meantime, read all about our slow cooking (including recipes from the Slow Cooker Newbies and these chat transcripts) on our blog.
Join us next year for more slow cooker chats, starting on January 4th! In the meantime, here are some recipes to tide you over: