2.14.2012

Slow Cooker Spectacular!

So as I previously mentioned, I've been hoping to add a bit more variety to the blog...hence, I've decided to add a new theme: slow cooker recipes! Due to Justin's and my more than slightly abnormal schedules, eating dinner together has become a luxury for which we have become very grateful when we get the chance. During our first year of marriage (...when I didn't have a job...), I had lots of time to experiment with food and ease into the job of preparing meals for us. I look back fondly on those times when I would spend literally HOURS preparing and experimenting with various elaborate recipes. Sadly, since returning to school, I haven't had as much time to dedicate to making meals, so things have gotten more basic around here (think sandwiches, casseroles, and oh so many Crockpot creations).

However, I when I stumbled upon this recipe, I jumped at the chance to attempt making such an elegant main course, Crockpot-style. For the heck of it (and with the excuse of sort-of-not-really-but-really-yeah celebrate Valentine's Day), I also threw this creation on the menu with the intention of healthifying (yup, that's a word) the entree up with some easy steamed green beans and plain baked potatoes. 

This seriously was not at all difficult.

It took probably 20 minutes max, and that was only because Justin came home from running errands right in the middle of me mixing stuff....and was talking to me....and I have great difficulty multi-tasking in the kitchen so I there were many pauses and re-thinking what I had just done throughout the process.

Thus was my attempt at creating a nearly-completely-slow-cooker-prepared meal...


(Major advanced apologies for the less-than-ideal-quality photos - thankfully my new camera arrived in the mail today so no more iPhone photos! Also a big thanks to my friend Grace for lending me her white slow cooker so I could successfully complete this!)

I decided to start with the chocolate cobbler since the directions indicated that it could possibly take longer to cook with both recipes set to High and being prepared at the same time. 

Chocolate Cobbler in the Slow Cooker
Originally from Tasty Kitchen
Adapted from Eat at Home blog
    INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 4 Tbsp cocoa
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 3 Tbsp cocoa
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups hot water
    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with cooking spray.
    2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, 3 Tbs. cocoa and 3/4 cup white sugar.
    3. Stir milk, melted butter and vanilla into the flour mixture until smooth. Pour into the greased crock.
    4. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle over the top of the batter in the crock.
    5. Pour hot water over the top of ingredients in the slow cooker. Do not stir!
    6. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Remove the lid and let stand for several minutes before serving. At first, it will be a bit too liquidy, but should thicken up after several minutes.
    I gathered my supplies:



    Started mixing...



    Note: No matter what the recipe says, I always prepare my crock with non-stick spray. This saves me a whole heck of a headache later on when I'm soaking and scrubbing the daylights out of it to no avail....



    Added the initial chocolate goop portion...
    ...mmm goop...



    ...and then the dry (pretty much pure sugar) part and water...



    Put on the lid, set to high, and let it do its job!



    Then I moved on to preparing the main course...


    SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CORDON BLEU
    Originally from AllRecipes.com
    Adapted from Chef in Training blog

    INGREDIENTS
    • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
    • 1 cup milk
    • 4 ounces sliced ham
    • 4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
    • 1 (8 ounce) package herbed dry bread stuffing mix
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour enough of the soup into a slow cooker to cover the bottom.
    2. Layer chicken breasts over the sauce.
    3. Cover with slices of ham and then Swiss cheese.
    4. Pour the remaining soup over the layers, stirring a little to distribute between layers.
    5. Sprinkle the stuffing on top, and drizzle butter over stuffing.
    6. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or 2 to 3 hours on High.

      Again, I gathered my supplies:


    ...in went the soupy goop...
    ...mmm more goop...


    Whoops - didn't take a picture of the lonely chicken breasts in the crock. For the record, I could only fit four average to largely sized pieces in my 6 quart. I'm not sure whether the original author meant six tenders to be shoved in or to just use a gigantor crock, but next time I might try tenders and distribute the ingredients a little better.


    Also, I actually added some more soup before putting the ham slices on top of the chicken. I don't know why I did this but I wouldn't recommend it since the slices (and thus the cheese and bread topping, too) kept sliding off when I was trying to make it look all nice on the plates when it was done. Next time I'll just do what the recipe says and wait to add the soup until all the layers have been added.


    Who doesn't love cheese? I used to think Swiss reminded me of old sweaty gym locker rooms, but I've actually come to appreciate the unique flavor. Hopefully this doesn't mean I'm going to start salivating whenever I walk into a gym's locker room from now on...gross.


    Aaaaand on went the stuffing mix.




    Another note: I will not add this bit plus the butter until maybe a half hour or so before the whole thing is supposed to be done. I was expecting the topping to be crunchier than it turned out (it was almost completely soggy), and I think adding it later on will help with this problem.



    Popped the lid on and let it do its magic!


    That computer setup you sort of see in the upper left hand corner of the below photo is a contraption set up by Justin to aid me in cooking (I swear this man could do anything in the world with his array of talents...you see, he also created this drying rack pulley contraption so we don't have to use our dryer! That's a whole other post, though...)


    The computer shelf thing helps me see online recipes without taking up counter space along with keeping me occupied by playing Netflix while I cook. 


    What a nice setup.


    3 hours later...
    Ta da!


    Dinner is served.


    ...and then dessert:



    So there you have it - a meal almost completely prepared by slow cookers! 

    Are you hungry now?

    Stay tuned for another slow cooker post as I venture into the world of delicious Asian-inspired ribs!

    NPR

    1 comment:

    1. This looks awesome, Nicole! I'm gonna try it all!

      ReplyDelete

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