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Use crock-pot for simple holiday fare


Last updated 7/3/2008 at Noon

Perhaps you are not like me. In one regard I hope so, as I have been known from time to time to plan to do too much…and then there I am overwhelmed and not really having fun at my own party!

Sound of trumpets…it’s the crock-pot to the rescue.

From the original maker of this most forgiving of all small appliances comes the ability to prepare many favorites without hovering, without any attention and without any worry.

My Rival Manufacturing Crock-Pot goes back to my college years when a sorority sister came dancing home one afternoon to tell us she had landed a job with this company. None of us snickered, but none of us knew a thing about Rival or their invention.

Suffice it to say that was many years ago and today a crock-pot is made by many manufacturers. However, it is doubtful that many best the creator.

In a 2006 cookbook, “Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes” from Rival, I was mesmerized by all the good foods that can be done in a crock-pot, including a cake!

Crock-Pot Guidelines

These recipes were developed for a medium-size slow cooker, one that accommodates 3½ to 4 quarts. If you want to prepare recipes in a larger unit, such as a 5-, 6- or 7-quart slow cooker, follow these crock-pot guidelines:

• Roasted meat, chicken and turkey quantities may be doubled or tripled, but seasonings should be adjusted to not more than 50% more…especially items such as garlic or chili powder, which intensify during long, slow cooking.

• When preparing a soup or stew, you may double all ingredients except seasonings and thickeners. Increase liquid volume by no more than half or as needed. Do not double thickeners such as cornstarch at the beginning. You may always add more thickener later if needed.

• When preparing dishes with beef or pork in a larger unit, such as a 5-, 6- or 7-quart slow cooker, browning the meat in a skillet before adding it to the crock-pot yields the best results; the meat will cook more evenly.

• When preparing a baked good, it’s best not to double or triple the recipe. Just prepare the original recipe as many times as needed to serve more people.

So, with this in mind and the crock-pot available, relax and enjoy your holiday weekend with these well-loved slow cooker recipes.

The sweet and tangy sauce envelopes appetizer-size meatballs that are simply delish.

Maple-Glazed Meatballs

• 1½ cups ketchup

• 1 cup maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup

• 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

• 1 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca

• 1 ½ tsp. ground allspice

• 1 tsp. mustard

• 2 pkg. (about 16 ounces each) frozen fully cooked meatballs, partially thawed and separated

• 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice, drained

Combine ketchup, maple syrup, soy sauce, tapioca, allspice and mustard in slow cooker.

Carefully stir meatballs and pineapple chunks into ketchup mixture.

Cover; cook on low 5 to 6 hours. Stir before serving. Serve warm; insert cocktail picks in each meatball, if desired.

Makes about 48 meatballs.

Just six minutes on the grill, then pop the ribs into the slow cooker for a fall-off-the-bone menu pleaser…and no hovering, no basting, no flare-ups.

Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs

• ½ cup paprika

• ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar

• ¼ cup onion powder

• 1 ½ tsp. salt

• 1 ½ tsp. black pepper

• 2 ½ lb. pork baby back ribs, skinned

• 1 can (20 ounces) beer or beef stock

• 1 qt. barbecue sauce

• ½ cup honey

• White sesame seeds and sliced chives, optional

Lightly oil grill grated and preheat on high.

While grill heats, combine paprika, sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper in large mixing bowl. Generously season ribs with dry rub mixture. Place ribs on grill. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until ribs have grill marks.

Portion ribs into sections of 3 to 4 bones. Place in 5-quart slow cooker. Pour beer (or beef stock) over ribs. Cover; cook on high 2 hours. Blend barbecue sauce and honey and add. Cover; cook for 1½ hours. Garnish with white sesame seeds and chives, if desired. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Busy with games, fishing, rest in the

hammock and let your appliance do dinner.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

• 1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)

• ¼ cup ketchup

• 2 tbsp. brown sugar

• 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 clove garlic, crushed

• ¼ tsp. salt

• ¼ cup liquid smoke

• 1/8 tsp. black pepper

• 10-12 French rolls or sandwich buns, sliced in half

Place beef in crock-pot. Combine remaining ingredients, except rolls, in medium bowl. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours.

Remove beef from crock-pot, shred with 2 forks.

Combine beef with l cup sauce from crock-pot. Evenly distribute meat and sauce mixture among warmed rolls.

Tip: to reduce the amount of fat in crock-pot, trim and discard excess fat from meats or choose lean cuts.

What would a summer holiday be without baked beans? Here’s the easiest way ever with your crock-pot. Inexpensive, too.

Mama’s Best Baked Beans

• 1 bag (l pound) dried Great Northern beans

• 1 pkg. (1 pound) bacon

• 5 hot dogs, cut into ½-inch pieces

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 1 bottle (24 ounces) ketchup

• 2 cups packed dark brown sugar

Soak and cook beans according to package directions. Drain and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cool, then crumble bacon; set aside. Discard all but 3 tbsp. bacon fat from skillet. Add hot dogs and onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until onion is tender.

Combine cooked beans, bacon, hot dog mixture, ketchup and brown sugar in crock-pot. Cover; cook on low for 2 to 4 hours.

Everyone likes this version of Southern-style pulled pork. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 pork shoulder roast (about 2 ½ lb.)

1 bottle (14 oz.) barbecue sauce

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. brown sugar

1 medium onion, chopped

8 hamburger buns or hard rolls

Place roast in slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours.

Remove roast from crock-pot; discard cooking liquid. Shred pork with 2 forks. Return pork to crock-pot. Add barbecue sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and onion. Cover; cook on high for 1 hour or on low for 2 hours. Serve shredded pork on hamburger buns or hard rolls.

Makes 8 servings.

Tip: for 5-, 6- or 7-quart slow cookers, double all ingredients except barbecue sauce. Increase barbecue sauce to 2 ounces.


Remember that the general testing of recipes is for the medium crock-pot of about 4 quarts…especially important for baked items. Here you have a cake that is also a pudding. Topped with whipped cream or served with vanilla ice cream…yummy!

Baked Fudge Pudding Cake

6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

4 eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup (sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

Grated peel of 1 orange

½ cup whipping cream

Serve with: toasted pecans and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Coat slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat slow cooker on low. Blend cocoa, flour and salt in small bowl; set aside.

Beat eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed until thickened. Gradually add sugar, beating about 5 minutes or until very thick and pale yellow. Mix in butter, vanilla and peel. Stir cocoa mixture into egg mixture. Add whipping cream; mix until blended. Pour batter into preheated crock-pot.

Cover opening of crock-pot with paper towel to collect condensation, making sure it does not touch the pudding mixture. Place lid over paper towel. Cook on low 3 to 4 hours (do not cook on high).

To serve, spoon into dishes. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


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