November 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
by Heather Eng
We FC editors seem to have curry on the brain, but during our slow cooker Facebook chat yesterday, the conversation was all about your hearty, comforting favorites: pulled pork, lasagna soup, Tuscan chili, cowboy stew and more. (Maybe because we’re well into fall now?) Plus, Michael Tyrrell, our associate food editor/slow cooker guru/Facebook chat star, shared his recipe for his often-cited slow cooker ribs. Read on for all that and more crock-pot inspiration.
Family Circle: Welcome to our slow cooker chat with associate food editor and expert Michael Tyrrell. Tell us, everyone, what did you make in your crock-pot this weekend?
Donna: Have a large pot of chicken soup on right now.
Nicole: Taco soup.
Cindy: Have a whole chicken that I am going to put in today. Any good ideas?
Michael: Cindy – what about chili powder, cumin, lime slices in the cavity?
Cindy: I only have chili powder. Not shopping ’til tomorrow.
Cindy: I just hate boring chicken. Typically, I use seasoning salt, Mrs. Dash, garlic powder, onion powder, soy, white or marsala cooking wine, teriyaki and bay leaf. Am I using too many ingredients?? I don’t know why this seems boring to me!
Michael: Cindy – check out some of the McCormick spices specifically made for chicken. I like Montreal Chicken seasoning.
Cindy: Thanks Michael! I will try it.
Jody: Beef stew
Cathy: I made a rump roast with potatoes and carrots and onions. I just want to say that I swear by my slow cooker. I use it for everything. I do wild meat in it and if someone came into my home and didn’t know it was moose or venison, they would think it was just an ordinary roast.
Stephanie: Tortilla soup
Melinda: Making pulled pork sandwiches in mine as we speak!!!!
Michael: Melinda – pulled pork is one of the best slow cooker meals, I think.
Family Circle: Melinda – are they like our Cajun pulled pork sandwiches?
Melinda: Mine is pretty simple. Pork, 1 can of Dr. Pepper, 1 can of tomato sauce, garlic powder and season all. Four hours on high, then shred and add the bbq sauce and continue to cook for another hour. YUMMY!!!
Natalie: Melinda – the Dr. Pepper is an interesting twist. Do you taste it in the end or is it just for moisture?
Heather: I made a lasagna soup yesterday and my whole family inhaled it!
Michael: Heather – what goes into your lasagna soup?
Valerie: @Heather…Lasagna soup? Recipe please!
Emma: I would like the recipe for lasagna soup too please!! Chili in mine right now!!
Heather: I just kinda threw it all together but this is what I did:
1 cup beef broth
5 cups water
2lb cooked ground beef (we like it meaty haha)
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 zucchini chopped up
1 green pepper chopped up
1 med onion chopped up
Chopped garlic (to your taste)
Season to taste with basil, thyme and bay leaf
Add pasta 30-45 min before serving!
Family Circle: That lasagna soup sounds great! One of our other favorites is this veggie lasagna.
Sarah: Chicken Tortilla Soup – SO yummy and warm!
Natalie: I made Rustic Italian Chicken, and it was soooo tasty!
Tina: Any recipes for turkey meatloaf that only uses a few ingredients?
Michael: Tina – we have a great meatloaf recipe on our website- we’ll find the link for you.
Family Circle: Here’s our Italian Turkey Meatloaf recipe.
Tina: Thanks, Michael. My family is soo picky LOL.
Natalie: Tuscan chili sounds good! Recipe please?
Tracy: Tuscan chili! made with white kidney beans and Italian sausage, tomatoes, onions etc. So few ingredients – such amazing taste!!
Michael: Tracy – Tuscan chili sounds good. Do you brown any of the ingredients first?
Tracy: Here is my Tuscan chili recipe.
Kim: We made loaded baked potato soup and today we’re doing barbeque chicken sandwiches.
Family Circle: What about making a chicken and rice soup?
Michael: I made pork ragu with pork ribs on Sunday. I posted the recipe on our blog–check it out.
Family Circle: Here’s Michael’s pork ragu with pork ribs. YUMMY.
Sarah: The pork ragu sounds amazing!! I think we’ll have that on Friday! Thanks for sharing that one!
Jackie: I am going to try that pork ragu–it sounds really yummy.
Sara: I love doing a pulled bbq beef. It’s always amazing!
Jessica: I have chicken noodle soup in my crock-pot now! Perfect meal on a cold, windy, gloomy, rainy day in St. Louis!!!
Michael: Jessica – when do you put the noodles in the soup?
Jessica: The last hour. Or if in a hurry, bump it to high and cook noodles for 30 mins.
Michael: Jessica – that sounds right to me. I think some people put in noodles or rice too soon and it gets way overcooked.
Jackie: Sirloin tip rubbed with my husband’s awesome homemade rub. Then made beef dip sandwiches!!
Michael: Jackie – do you thicken the liquid at all?
Michael: Jackie – give us an idea of what goes into the rub?
Cindy: Yes, Jackie, please do!!!
Jackie: Well, it’s my husband’s secret recipe. He won’t even share it with me. I know there is “Garlic Plus” and “Roasted Red Pepper with Garlic.”
Jackie: He also rubbed with Dijon mustard and horseradish.
Michael: Jackie - Dijon is a good to add at the end as well–perks up the sauce and thickens it somewhat.
Jackie: All we used for the liquid was beef broth and no, we didn’t thicken it as we used as an au jus.
Michael: Jackie – That’s what I thought since you were making sort of a beef dip. You could also thicken it stovetop with equal parts water and cornstarch for a change.
Charmaine: I just made a roast with mushroom gravy. Simple, easy, delicious.
Family Circle: Charmaine, did you make our Stroganoff-Style Pot Roast with Mushrooms?
Sheri: Pot roast with onion, carrots and taters. It was sooo GOOD!!
Michael: Sheri – pot roast is a home run in the slow cooker. Do you cook the potatoes with the roast or stovetop?
Lori: Ideas for slow cooker for college student in dorm are needed. Any out there?
Family Circle: Lori – try some of our easy slow cooker meals.
Cindy: Lori – Try the pulled pork recipes.
Lori: Thanks for your help. I will look over them and maybe when our daughter comes home for Thanksgiving, we can try some of them.
Tina: I’m so hungry reading all these posts!!!
Family Circle: Shannon, have you tried one of our slow cooker chili recipes?
Shannon: Are all slow cooker recipes based on a certain size slow cooker? if so, what size and can you easily convert recipes?
Michael: Shannon – it’s best to stick with 5 to 6 quart models in our experience.
Natalie: Does anyone have slow cooker dessert ideas?
Michael: Natalie – let us link you to a story we did a while ago with some great desserts.
Cindy: Yes, Michael–please give us the dessert link.
Family Circle: Here’s the desserts story.
Natalie: Thanks for the fantastic slow cooker desserts link. Now my mouth is watering!
Brooke: Chicken spaghetti and broccoli cheese soup
Tammy: I always make my beef tips in the slow cooker…2lbs stew meat, 1/2 cup red cooking wine, 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 1 envelope Lipton soup mix cooked on low for 6 hours or so. I throw in some sliced mushrooms about halfway through and serve over egg noodles.
Michael: Tammy – your beef tips sound good. Do you thicken the sauce at all?
Margaret: One of our favorites is cowboy stew–beef cubes, country baked beans, onions, Yukon gold potatoes and some barbecue sauce…great with bread on a cold evening!
Michael: Margaret – the potatoes sound like a good addition. When do you put them in the slow cooker?
Margaret: Thanks, Michael. I put the potatoes in from the beginning…I layer it all–first the beef cubes (1.5-2 lbs), then the onions (1 sliced as thin as I can manage), then the potatoes (about 5 or 6), washed and cut into slightly larger than bite size–I leave the skins on–then the baked beans (one lg can and 1 reg can) and then the barbecue sauce (about 1/2 cup). I cook it for a minimum of 8 hours on low. Everyone in my family loves it.
Tina: I made pork chops with Worcestershire, white wine, Mrs. Dash and some chop seasoning. MMMMMMM…they were good!!! Super tender!
Tina: I also made beef stew and bbq boneless ribs. I totally love my slow cooker!! I have 3 kids ages 4 months, 4 years and 9 years. Slow cookers are awesome when you are always on the go!!
Michael: Tina – Do you bone-in chops? I love that type of super tender pork with mashed potatoes.
Family Circle: Did you try our Beef Stew with Potato Dumplings?
Tina: I usually use boneless but have used bone-in chops. They just fall right off the bone, though.
Susan: Deer chili
Michael: Susan – tell us more about deer chili. Do you use cubes of meat and saute first?
Jackie: I need a bigger slow cooker. Anyone have suggestions on brand or size?
Michael: Jackie – do you need one larger than 6 quarts?
Jackie: Michael, no not that big. My slow cooker is really old–one of those smaller ones with the pottery type insert.
Michael: Jackie – the reason I asked is that 5 to 6 quart is usually big enough for most recipes.
Jackie: Okay, thank you.
Jackie: Any brand better? Also, with my commute and work, I am away for 12 hours and I’m finding my meat is burning from cooking too long.
Natalie: Jackie – when I have had that trouble in the past, I have found that cooking the meat in some kind of liquid really helps. And make sure you are cooking on low!
Carolyn: Navy bean soup! It was very YUMMY! @Jackie found a 7.5 qt one at Walmart last year. Sorry, don’t remember the brand.
Michael: Carolyn – do you soak the beans and how long do you cook?
Jennifer: I made pulled pork.
Donna: I used the leftover from a roasted chicken that I don’t clean right off. Add chicken broth and a small amount of beef broth and let cook til meat comes off bones. Pour through a colander, put back into slow cooker and add onions, carrots, cauliflower, fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper to taste. Add the broad egg noodles half hour before serving.
Family Circle: Our editors are seriously in a curry mood lately. We’re loving Michael’s Slow Cooker Curry Chicken and Heather’s Thai Chicken Curry. What ethnic foods do you love to make in the slow cooker?
Michael: We published a slow cooker Indonesian beef curry a while back. We’ll try and provide a link.
Family Circle: The Indonesian Beef Curry.
Family Circle: With the weather getting colder by the minute, we love our slow cooker soups and stews. What are some of your favorite slow cooker comfort foods?
Michael: The great thing about soups and stews is that they make easy lunches for the next day.
Michael: This weekend I am going to do a smoky brisket with dark beer, molasses and smoked paprika. Not sure what else I’ll put in but am going to shred it and serve like chili with cornbread.
Carolyn: Homemade navy beans with bacon and ham or throw in a venison, roasted taters, carrots, onions, spices and come back later to eat! YUMMY!!!
Melissa: I would love a great butternut squash recipe…anyone?
Michael: Melissa – let us try and link you to one on our website.
Family Circle: Melissa – here’s a great Gingery Butternut Squash Soup for the slow cooker.
Melissa: Ohhh I luv u, thanks soo much! I had this on a train ride one night and have been craving some in this snowy weather! Made my day, thanks.
Heather: I just always love to make a chicken stew. Put in half a packet of country gravy (the breakfast kind), put in a can of herbed cream of chicken soup, add water and thigh meat, mix in Sazon carne asada seasoning…just a little and a pinch of lemon herb dry seasoning (tastes better with bone and skin on). Add some potatoes and celery and carrots the last half hour. Serve with anything from bread to noodles to tortilla chips. It’s really good! Mmmmmmmmm.
Michael: Heather – I think a lot of people aren’t familiar with Sazon seasoning–a great addition. If you’re not familiar with it, look in the Goya section of your market.
Family Circle: Tomorrow we’re hosting a SPECIAL Thanksgiving Chat at 2pm EST. With the holiday only a few weeks away, are you going to make any of your sides in the slow cooker? Will you be making a pumpkin dessert, like the slow cooker pumpkin pie pudding that an FC reader shared?
Michael: Applesauce is a holiday fave in the slow cooker.
Family Circle: Try Heather’s applesauce or Irina’s spiced apple butter.
Join us today on Facebook at 2 pm EST for a SPECIAL Thanksgiving chat and next Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST for our usual slow cooker chat. Plus, when you “Like” our page, you can download a free slow cooker cookbook with 15 of our favorite recipes.
Not sure what to slow cook, this weekend? Try these recipes: