November 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm
by Heather Eng
Thanks again for joining us yesterday for another great Facebook slow cooker chat with Michael Tyrrell, our resident slow cooker expert and associate food editor. I’m hungry just thinking about all the delicious dishes you’ve made in your slow cookers–spaghetti squash, spaghetti sauce with chicken and sausage, pulled pork with root beer, chicken a number of ways. In fact, I’m having a hard time figuring out what to cook this weekend. Read on for these recipes and more.
Family Circle: Welcome to our Facebook Slow Cooker chat with food editor and expert Michael Tyrrell. What questions do you have for him? How did your slow cooking go this weekend? What did everyone make? Let’s chat!
Tara: I am looking for a good hot apple cider recipe.
Michael: Tara – we’ll try and find a link to a hot cider recipe on our website. Should be easy to adapt to slow cooker.
Deborah: Oooh hot apple cider sounds great.
Family Circle: As for the apple cider… why not try converting our Spiced Apple Cider recipe.
Deborah: A friend gave me a slow cooker but I have yet to use it–would love to try pulled pork. Looking for a good recipe
Michael: Deborah – pulled pork is one of the best things to do in the slow cooker. We’ll link you to a great recipe on our website.
Family Circle: How about this Latin-Style Pulled Pork?
Deborah: Thank you–I just might try that one.
Shannon: Deborah – I do that one a lot, too…big hit.
Betsy: Can you use gluten-free pasta in a slow cooker and not have mush at the end?
Michael: Betsy – pasta is tricky to begin with in the slow cooker. I wouldn’t try it. Make the rest of the recipe in the slow cooker and add in the cooked pasta at the end.
Family Circle: If you DO want to try pasta, we have a great Pork Ragu & Bowtie Pasta recipe.
Deborah: I think I have the only child that doesn’t eat pasta.
Michael: Deborah – try couscous–kids generally like it and it couldn’t be easier.
Tracy: Couscous recipes in the slow cooker… yum any recipes that you’d like to share?
Tracy: I love my slow cooker, but am pretty much tied down to recipes…How do I take a favorite non-slow cooker recipe and turn it into a slow cooker recipe???
Michael: Tracy – we did a story a while back giving some general guidelines. We’ll try and find it for you.
Family Circle: Here’s how you can modify a favorite recipe into a new slow cooker favorite.
Tracy: Thanks for the conversion article So is it pretty safe to assume that I can slow cook most recipes by following these guidelines?
Denise: How do you keep slow cooked chicken from tasting like slow cooked chicken?
Michael: Denise – do you use thighs? They are the best cut for slow cooker. Try less time as well.
Linda: Any recipes with just 4 ingredients?
Michael: Linda – many chicken, bbq sauce recipes are only 4 or 5 ingredients.
Heather: I made spaghetti squash. I used the slow cooker to steam the squash for 8-9 hrs. It came out great. Then I made a spaghetti sauce to go with it.
Shannon: Love making Yankee Pot Roast in mine…use it every Sunday.
Cindy: Do you recommend defrosting your meat prior to putting it in the slow cooker or is it okay to place frozen foods in there?
Michael: Cindy – definitely defrost–otherwise timing will be way off.
Julia: Any ideas for fall soups, veggie style, besides butternut squash?
Michael: Julia – let us link you to a slow cooker soup story we did a while ago.
Family Circle: Try some of these slow cooker soups.
Deborah: I LOVE soup–thx.
Shannon: Simple meals I love to use it, but I want to throw it together and not have to do anything, but serve it up.
Michael: Shannon – even when a recipe calls for browning, I usually skip that step and am always satisfied with the result.
Dianne: How much broth do you use for steak so that it doesn’t taste like it is boiled?
Michael: Dianne – be sure to use a very fatty cut–just enough to come halfway up steak should be enough. What cut do you usually use?
Elizabeth: Most of my slow cooker recipes say to cook for 6 hours, but I’m at work for 8. Is it bad to keep cooking for a couple extra hours?
Michael: Elizabeth – try 8 hours on LOW. Also, you may want a slow cooker with a timer or use a Christmas tree timer on a manual model.
Blanca: I love my 6, 8, 10 hour timer slow cooker. I commute to work, so I love that I don’t have to worry about my food burning. It cooks for the time selected, then it switches to warm all by itself.
Karin: I have tried to make a variety of flavorful beef stews but am dissatisfied with my results…any ideas you can share?
Michael: Karin – try to switch up the seasoning–maybe chili powder and cumin. Also a dash of Tabasco and squeeze of lemon juice at the end is a great way to perk up stew, soup and sauces.
Heather: Last month, I made a spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker that included chicken. The chicken was super tender and the sauce was thick and rich from cooking all day…yum.
Carmen: @Heather can you share the recipe for the chicken spaghetti sauce? Thanks.
Heather: Spaghetti Sauce with Chicken & Sausage: 1lb Italian sausage, 3-4 boneless chicken breast cut into 1 in chunks, 1c chopped green pepper, 1c chopped onion, 1-2 tsp of Italian seasoning, 2 (4 oz) cans of mushroom stems and pieces, drained, 2 jars favorite spaghetti sauce, hot pasta. 1. Brown the sausage and drain, cut into chunks, 2. Brown chicken. 3. Place chicken in to pot, add pepper, onion, Italian seasoning, mushrooms. Pour sauce over all. Cover and cook for 6-8 hrs.
Michael: Heather – sounds like a Sunday meal. I would serve with rigatoni
Heather: Funny you should say that…it was a Sunday meal for us…add a bit of garlic bread and you are good to go…with leftovers to last a day or so.
Shannon: Dishes with rice?? My daughter won’t touch it…I’d like to sneak it in since 3 outta 4 love it.
Michael: Shannon – have you tried couscous instead? Also try orzo instead of rice for a change?
Debbie: I made your standard pot roast but I had some parsnips that I needed to use, some yellow peppers and a friend of mine always puts 6-10 dried prunes in her pot roast, so I tried that, too. Let me tell you that was probably the BEST roast we have had and the prunes pretty much dissolved and made the sauce delightful!
Nat: Thanks for the tips. I love my slow cooker. What’s the best thing you ever made in a slow cooker?
Michael: Nat – My fave thing in the slow cooker is ribs, especially country style cause they are the meatiest.
Margarita: I make Asian-style beef short ribs…easy and delicious!
Family Circle: Try these Beer-Braised Short Ribs.
Kelly: @Deborah…I am a vegetarian but I make a pulled pork for my family. I take boneless pork and top it with a cup of bbq sauce and a cup of root beer. Let it go on low for about 5 hours and then I shred it with 2 forks, leave the lid off slightly and turn it to high to thicken a bit. Put on buns and enjoy. Everyone loves it, although I can’t say personally.
Deborah: @Kellly – root beer?
Kelly: I know it sounds strange…that is what made me make it the first time.
Michael: Deborah & Kelly – I agree, root beer or cola soda are great bases of a flavorful sauce especially for pork.
Deborah: I must say I’m really glad I joined in the chat–have learned some tricks (root beer lol) and gotten some good recipes. Thanks.
Dianne: I tried sirloin on top of potatoes and then I guess I put in too much beef broth. Also can I bread veal like scallopini with potatoes around and no water?
Michael: Dianne – breading doesn’t sound like the way to go–you’ll always need to add some liquid or you get burning.
Dianne: My family does not like any cream of anything soup. What can I use as a substitute?
Michael: Kraft has these new flavored cream cheese cooking sauces. What about stirring some in at the end?
Margarita: Do you have any great Latin style recipes like Ropa Vieja?
Michael: Margarita – yes check out out “5 Ways with Pot Roast” in our September issue. We’ll get you the link.
Family Circle: Here’s the Ropa Vieja recipe.
Tracy: Does everyone already know about this site: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ It’s AMAZING!!
Margarita: Tracy, thanks for sharing the link, it is now in my favorites! ) There are also several FB pages that share recipes and I have gotten some great ones from them.
Rona: Should I over-season so that after the cooking time the food won’t taste bland?
Michael: Rona – leave part of the seasoning out and add in last 30 minutes of cooking time to reinforce. Also I’ve said this before–a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of hot sauce perk things up.
Robyn: What are good game day snacking foods for the slow cooker?! I usually make drunkin dogs, chilly, or wings but I’m looking for some new ideas to keep the boys happy and well fed!
Jenn: Any suggestions for vegan dishes from the slow cooker? Almost all vegan cookbooks have no crock-pot section, and many regular books have only meat dishes. I need help!
Michael: Robyn and Jenn – we did a butternut squash chili a while back that could easily be adapted for slow cooker and vegan requirements–we’ll try and find the link for you.
Family Circle: Try the Butternut Squash Cincinnati-Style Chili.
Jenn: Love that I can make this without cheese and be within my diet restrictions. Thank you! Any suggestions for other pasta sauces. A Puttanesca-like sauce would be awesome!
Family Circle: Jenn – try this Hearty Meatless Sauce for the slow cooker.
Heather: I have heard of folks baking cakes in the crock-pot…has anyone tried this?
Michael: Heather – yes–we’ll try and find you a link to a story we did. [Note: We have several cake recipes in this slow cooker desserts slideshow.]
Sandy: I’m making a pork tenderloin in my slow cooker…so delicious!
Family Circle: Since someone asked about fall recipes, one of our favorites is the pot roast that Michael made for the November 29th issue on newsstands now. What other fall recipes are you looking to try? Has anyone made anything great with apples or pumpkins?
Michael: My plan this weekend is to do a ground pork & beef chili with tomatillo salsa and I think butter beans for a change. Not sure what else I’ll put in.
Family Circle: In one of our first slow cooker chats, a reader shared her recipe for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Pudding and our editor Heather made it. Have you tried it yet? Check out the recipe.
Stacey: Today I am slow cooking a turkey tenderloin…I ♥ my crock-pot.
Ashley: I cooked my very FIRST roast in our slow cooker using the Yankee Pot Roast recipe. I normally avoid roast because I’m not a big fan, but we happened to have one in our freezer from one of my Grandpa’s cows on the farm and I wanted to use it. I have changed my mind about roast! The meat was so tender and juicy and full of flavor. My Grandpa would be proud!
Michael: Ashley – I agree–pot roast is a great candidate for the slow cooker.
Jasmin: Made a version of this with baked tofu…it was a delicious vegetarian alternative!
Family Circle: Jasmin- try these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers for the slow cooker, also.
Family Circle: Our slow cooker expert Michael is always raving about ribs. But we all know that everybody loves chicken. What are your favorite slow cooker chicken recipes?
Jackie: Honey garlic chicken…mmm yum.
Cherryl: Here’s mine!
Cassidy: I love this recipe. (I also put a package of sliced baby bella mushrooms in the crockpot with the chicken. Serve with pasta, rice, or egg noodles.)
Josephine: Sweet and sour chicken with pineapples
Michael: Josephine – this type of meal usually is a kid pleaser.
Rita: I just wish my chicken would not go dry!
Michael: Rita – what cut do you use?
Michael: This past weekend I made an easy chicken curry. I put the recipe on our blog–check it out
Family Circle: Michael’s Slow Cooker Chicken Curry.
Robyn: I love chicken topped with stuffing! Simple and the kids love it!
Michael: Robyn – give us more details of what you do.
Patricia: My family’s favorite is crock-pot chicken and dressing. My grandchildren aways love it and my co-workers as well.
Michelle: Boneless skinless chicken breast with a jar of Pace. Shred it up at the end add a cup of sour cream. Good with tortilla cheese and lettuce.
Michael: Michelle – include tortilla chips and it’s like a nacho dinner!
Cathy: 4 chicken breasts, 1/2 stick of butter, 1 pkt of Good Seasons Italian dressing . Place this in crock-pot for 6 hrs on low. Shred up chicken then add 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 lg brick of cream cheese and cook for another hour. Very good. The next day we wrap the leftovers in tortillo wraps and add green pepper chopped and onion chopped and shredded cheese very good this way too,
Michael: Cathy – your chicken recipe sounds tasty and easy. We all love getting a second dinner from our slow cooking!
Family Circle: What about this White Chicken Chili to warm you up as the weather gets colder?
Family Circle: And try these Lemony Garlic Chicken Thighs (Michael’s told us before that chicken thighs are particularly great in the slow cooker).
Helena: Chicken chili.
Helena: 9 to 5 Mexican Crock-Pot Chicken.
Family Circle: Helena – try our Mediterranean Roasted Veggie and Chicken Chili for a great new twist.
Jacque: Good ol’ chicken, noodles, onions, carrots and love–LOTSA love!
Kristi: Right now, I have adobo in the crock-pot. Large pack of chicken thighs, garlic, a cup of soy sauce, a half cup of vinegar and two bay leaves. I serve it with rice & CA blend veggies.
Karrey: I have 2 steaks in my crock-pot. I rubbed them with dry onion soup mix, wrap in aluminum foil and cook on low for 10 hours. You don’t add water or anything else to it. I can’t wait to eat them.
Cathee: I’ve got ribs in the crock-pot now! The house smells awesome! My recipes are never the same, I just throw in what’s in the fridge. But the key to super moist and tender ribs is to slow roast them first. I do this the night before, dry rub using your favorite spices (add some brown sugar to sweeten it up), oven at 250 for about 2 hours (I forget them and they are still good after 4 hours, so entirely up to you with timing). Next day I mix some ketchup, bbq sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, apple juice and some steak sauce until I like the taste, at times it’s tart so I add honey, then add the ribs (I cut them into pieces) and roast away…sorry no measurements…
Christine: Smothered chicken–8 pieces of chkn any cut, 1 can cream of mushroom, and 1 can of milk (use soup can for measuring). Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Serve over rice.
Kim: Can’t get much easier than this: A 3-4 pound pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a bottle or two of our favorite BBQ sauce. (Or whatever happened to be on sale.)
Family Circle: Last 10 minutes! So what’s everyone making this weekend?
Susan: Reservations! jk
Shannon: I’m thinking about trying chili, actually
Family Circle: Shannon – try one of our chili recipes and let us know what you think!
Shannon: Oh I will! Thank you! Just have to pick one, they all look good.
Bitty Bliss Bakeshop, LLC: Omg I am so hungry! Chili sounds like a good pick!
Beth: Pirate stew! And Christmas cards.
Amy: Hot dog soup!
Moya: Meatballs in the slow cooker.
April: RESERVATIONS at RED LOBSTER RESTAURANT!!!
Shannon: I had chicken and stuffing last night. It was so good I may make it again!
Shannon: But for the big BAMA/LSU game…Rotel dip!
Maureen: I’m going to make the Yankee Pot Roast in the slow cooker.
Michael: Hi Maureen – let us know how you like it
Michael: Maureen – also try the Sauerbraten from that same story some other time. I liked it alot.
Helen: Beet borscht. My family love it!!
Margarita: Cincinnati Chili – My family’s favorite!
Kylie: Chicken enchiladas
Michael: Sounds like we have a winner-DING-DING-DING-CHILI!
Michele: BBQ chicken in my crock-pot. OHHH How I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s! This time it’s Sweet & Spicy. )
Anita: Good homemade pizza tonight, crock-pot wings tomorrow.
Diane: No really, it’s a dippy weekend..sausage pizza dip and for sweet pumpkin cream cheese dip….yummilicios..thanks.
Tammy: I am going to try a recipe Michael mentioned a couple weekdays ago but I have a question….the recipe is ribs with canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and red pepper…does it matter if the tomatoes are whole or diced or crushed? thanks!
Michael: Tammy – crushed will give you a thicker sauce but the other will work fine–if you use whole break them up a little.
Tammy: perfect…crushed it is can’t wait to try it. Thanks Michael!
Jacque: I am making reservations this weekend! LOL!
Christine: Chili this weekend!! It finally cooled off here in Vegas!! Dying for some warm comfort food! Made a stew this week. Will probably make bbq pulled pork as well. I love my crock-pot and probably use it 3 times a week!!!
Jenni: Feeding a bunch of Single Soliders this Thanksgiving so I am practicing recipes that involve BACON. They think it’s a food group lol.
Jennifer: I know it’s not dinner, but we’re roasting pumpkin seeds and trying new flavors!
Tricia: Crock-pot BBQ chicken
Beth: This weekend? I’m trying to figure out what I’m making tonight!!
Margarita: Thank you Michael, this was fun. I got some great recipes and made my afternoon go by a little faster at work.
Family Circle: Thanks for participating everyone! We’ll see you at next week’s slow cooker chat. Same time (Wednesday at 1pm EST), same place!
Need more ideas for slow cooking, this weekend? Try these recipes: