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       Volume I - January 28, 2008

Crock Pot (SLOW Cooker) Magic
by Alice Osborne

We know slow cookers are the efficient friend of those cooks who are gone all day, but who want to offer substantial home-cooked food to their households. Not only do they handle dried beans and less expensive cuts of meat wonderfully well, they do their job whatever their size, and there’s several sizes to suit a variety of needs.

AND we love them because they’re so portable. You can prepare a dish one evening, store the filled “lifted-out” vessel in the fridge overnight, and then place it into its electric holder in the morning before dashing out the door. Or you can tote the whole works to a buffet or carry-in meal, doing no damage to the quality of its contents.

Here’s an idea for toting:

Out-the-Door Mashed Potatoes

Make your batch of mashed potatoes ahead of time; place in slow cooker. Turn on cooker when arriving at your destination. They’ll be hot and steamy in no time.

Now just some really good recipes:

Quick and Easy Nacho Dip

1 lb ground beef
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 16-oz. jars salsa
1 15-oz can refried beans
1½ C sour cream
3 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Tortilla chips

Brown ground beef. Drain. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, and minced garlic. Combine beef mixture with salsa, beans, sour cream, and 2 C cheese in slow cooker. Cover. Heat on LOW for 2 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with remaining 1 C cheese. Serve with chips.

Download this recipe.

White Bean Chili

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 lb ground turkey, browned and drained
3 bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 14½ -oz. cans broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 15½ -oz. can butter beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (increase this to 2 cans if you omit butter beans)
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies
2 Tbsp chili powder
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1½ - 2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hrs.

Download this recipe.

Mexican Corn Bread

1 16-oz. can no-salt-added cream-style corn
1 C cornmeal
½ tsp baking soda
¼ C extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
1 C milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ C taco sauce
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 lb 85%-lean ground beef, lightly cooked, drained, and patted dry

Combine corn, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, oil, milk, eggs, and taco sauce. Pour half of mixture into slow cooker. Layer cheese, onion, garlic, green chilies, and ground beef on top of cornmeal mixture. Cover with remaining cornmeal mixture. Cover. Cook on HIGH 1 hour and then on LOW for 3½-4 hours, or only on LOW fro 6 hours. Incredibly good!

Download this recipe.


“HIGH” on most cookers is about 300° F. “LOW” is about 200°.

Leave the lid on while the slow cooker cooks. The steam that condenses on the lid helps cook the food from the top. Every time you take the lid off, the cooker loses steam. After replacing the lid, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to regain the lost steam and temperature. This means the food needs longer to cook.

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