February 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm
by Jennifer Moncayo
Every Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm EST, we host our live Slow Cooker Chat on Family Circle’s Facebook wall, where we invite you, our readers, to discuss everything slow cooking with our associate food editor Michael Tyrrell. During yesterday’s chat, you shared some of your delicious recipes—like Buffalo Chicken Lasagna—and asked great questions about using slow cooker liners and the best ways to cook pork tenderloin. Read on for Michael’s advice and the full discussion:
Family Circle: Welcome to our weekly Slow Cooker Chat with associate food editor and slow cooking expert, Michael Tyrrell. He’s here to answer all of your questions, share recipes and give great tips. Let’s start with: what did everyone make this weekend?
Michael Tyrrell: On Sunday, I made turkey meatballs and turkey sausage in the slow cooker. Let us link you to our web editor’s post on our blog for the recipe.
Family Circle: Here’s the turkey meatball recipe our web editor tried.
Jackie: I made a pork/beef roast in my slow cooker… YUMMO!!!
Michael: Jackie—beef and pork roast at the same time. Give us more details please.
Jackie: I bought it like that from the grocery store. I don’t remember the cut of the beef but it was a little tough… but the pork was Boston butt I believe. They had it tied up and seasoned so I just put about a tablespoon of oil in the bottom and cooked it for about 4 hours on high. It was even better the next day after sitting in the juices!
Michael: Jackie—that sounds good but I never saw it before. Next time maybe add a cup of beef broth and cook less. You could then thicken the liquid with cornstarch for a simple sauce.
Christine: I made Buffalo Chicken Lasagna! A bit too spicy for me, it was SUPER good; I just might go lighter on the wing sauce next time.
Michael: Christine—buffalo chicken anything is always a win. Tell us about what you did for the lasagna. Also let us link you to one of our lasagna recipes on our site.
Christine: Mixed cooked chicken breast with a cup of Frank’s Wing Sauce and a jar of spaghetti sauce. Layered whole wheat lasagna noodles (they cook slow and don’t turn to mush) with first ricotta cheese, then the chicken mixture and then mozzarella cheese. When done with layers, sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles. Put on low for about 4 hours.
Michael: Christine—I like the sound of your buffalo chicken lasagna. I agree with you 1 cup of sauce sounds like a lot. 2/3 cup would probably still be nice and spicy enough.
Family Circle: Hi Christine, here’s another lasagna recipe you might want to try, Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna.
Christine: Just “pinned” the Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna! That looks GREAT! Thanks!
Natalie: Is it possible to cook rice dishes in my slow cooker?
Michael: Natalie—rice can sometimes be a problem, either gets overcooked or it’s still crunchy. You really have to experiment with your slow cooker and the recipe.
Christine: Also, got the idea of buying a family pack of boneless chicken breasts and when I got home from the store, throwing 3 in the crock-pot to cook for 4 hours (in a little bit of water) , and then having cooked chicken to use different ways for the week!
Michael: Christine—great idea about cooking chicken ahead for other recipes. Let us give you a link to some of our chicken recipes.
Family Circle: Hey Christine, here’s some chicken recipes you might want to try.
Get Crocking: I slow cooked some Chicken Tortilla Soup this past weekend. Love this stuff.
Michael: Get Crocking—soups are always good candidates for the slow cooker. Let us give you a link to our soup slideshow on our site.
Get Crocking: I love soups because they are easy to make and reheat. Would love to try some soups from your site!
Michael: Get Crocking—soups and stews are always great individual portions to freeze for lunches. Gives frozen assets a new meaning.
Get Crocking: Frozen assets, LOL. Never tried freezing soups. I’ll have to give this a try.
Family Circle: Hi Get Crocking, here is the link to several soup and stew recipes.
Yael: I have a daughter who is a picky eater and no too happy with meat. But she loves when I make stew in the crock-pot. She says it’s her favorite meal. I have always just made it up, but I am going to try your version from the cookbook. Hopes it tastes good.
Danielle: I tried making pork tenderloin in my slower cooker and burned it. I have a hard time getting the timing right and maybe the recipe wasn’t that good either cause it didn’t say to put much liquids in.
Michael: Danielle—people do have good experience with pork tenderloin. You have to be careful of it getting dry. Try shoulder sometime, we will give you a link to a pork shoulder recipe on our site.
Family Circle: Hey Danielle, here is the link Michael was referring to for pork shoulder.
Family Circle: Hi Danielle, here are some additional pork recipes for the slow cooker that you might want to try.
Get Crocking: Michael—Are slow cooker liners really worth the money in your opinion? I found a coupon for $1 off (regular $1.97) but there were only 3 in the box. Any advice on a cheap substitute or somewhere to buy in bulk for less money?
Natalie: I’d like to know about the liners too!
Michael: Get Crocking and Natalie—I don’t use them myself. I ALWAYS spray the crock with Pam and never have a problem.
Ann: Here is when slow cooker liners ARE worth the money—when you are taking a slow cooker full of something to a potluck! I love pulling out the liner and pitching it when it’s time to go!
Michael: Ann—that’s a good point. What kind of slow cooker do you take to pot lucks? The kind that has a lock on top?
Ann: I just got a new locking-lid crock-pot for Christmas. But, you can use a big rubber band to keep it closed too. I cook for the teachers at my kids’ school once a month; almost all slow cooker stuff because it stays hot for the two hour span when different teachers eat.
Ann: My kids’ teachers favorite is Italian beef—big roast, pack of au ju powder, and pack of Good Seasons powder, 8 hours on low. Shred and serve on crusty buns. Delish!
Ann: Au jus, not au ju.
Michael: Ann—sounds good and what could be easier? Probably good over rice as well.
Michael: Ann—Hamilton Beach has what they call the stay or go with a lock thingy on top. We’re having a giveaway next month.
Ann: I think that might be the one I have. But, I have three slow cookers.
Ila: I made a slow cooker chicken paprikash to eat later this week.
Michael: Ila—stew like chicken dishes like that are usually better heated over. Just reheat stovetop or in the microwave not in your slow cooker.
Family Circle: Hi Ila, hope the dish turned out nice. Here’s a Family Circle recipe for chicken paprikash you can also try.
Ila: Actually, that is the recipe that I used. It was out of your 15 slow cooker recipe book off the web.
Natalie: Do you think your butterscotch cake would work well with sugar-free puddings? I’m thinking of trying it with vanilla, since I don’t have butterscotch on hand. http://www.familycircle.com/recipe/pudding/butterscotch-pudding-cake/
Michael: Natalie—I would try the sugar free, the flavor would be different but my guess is that it would work.
Cheralyn: My question is if a slow cooker recipe calls to brown the meat on all sides then put in the slow cooker can you skip this part? After all the premise of crock-pot cooking is dump it all in in the morning and go.
Michael: Cheralyn—a fave question. I never brown first and am always happy with my result. Conventional wisdom is that browning adds flavor but I like easy.
Danielle: Can you recommend some real healthy slow cooker recipes using ground chicken or turkey?
Michael: Danielle—we have some great recipes on our website. Let us give you a link. I seem to recall a stuffed pepper recipe not that long ago made with ground chicken I think.
Family Circle: Hey Danielle, here is the stuffed peppers recipe with chicken that Michael mentioned.
Family Circle: Hi Danielle, here are some healthy slow cooker recipes, like a Chicken and Corn Chili.
Family Circle: Danielle, here are some additional light slow cooker recipes you might want to try, like a Wild Rice with Chicken and Sugar Snap Peas.
Family Circle: Slow Cooker Chat continues: What slow cooker recipe are you going to make this weekend? Ask for tips from our slow cooking expert, Michael Tyrrell, and share your recipes!
Agnes: Beef Thai curry in the slow cooker.
Michael: I just wanted to add that we have a great slow cooker story in our March issue currently on newsstands. It is an excerpt from Michele Scicolone‘s new book, “The French Slow Cooker.” Wonderful recipes to try.
Michael: FYI: Our web editors post some really good and easy recipes on our Momster blog under Slow Cooker Chronicles. Let us give you the link to the blog.
Ann: Has anyone tried making baked potatoes in the slow cooker? Great for summertime when you don’t want to heat up your whole house baking potatoes!
Jennifer: I have a recipe book that suggests using the cooking bags inside of the slow cooker to separate food but still allow it to cook so you don’t always have a stew of sorts. It’s called “Crock it.” She suggests bagging some food and poking small holes in the bag so you get flavor transfer but the food is separate. It works well!
Michael: Jennifer—I hadn’t heard of that. Sounds interesting.
Family Circle: Thanks for joining our weekly Slow Cooker Chat, everyone! Come back again next week from 1pm-2pm EST on Wednesday to talk more with our associate food editor and slow cooking expert Michael Tyrrell and share your recipes
Join us on our Facebook page next Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST for another Slow Cooker Chat.
Check out these links for more slow cooker recipes: