The slow cooker is back

February 27, 2012

Crockpot / Slow cooker, Food, Recipes

Remember that crock pot, hiding for years, in the back of your cupboard? Today, it is the new, hot kitchen gadget.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Remember that crock pot, hiding for years, in the back of your cupboard? Well, guess what? It has become the new, hot kitchen gadget. Today’s fresh foods and spices are making their debut in delicious slow-cooked meals. When searching for what to make, however, do not look to the old recipes, but search for new cookbooks or look online. This brilliant cooking method is a low, slow braise, and the trick is to be creative in the preparation and not just succumb to the “dump-and-forget-about-it” strategy from years ago.

Slow cooker recipes can be very healthy because they call for leaner meats and lots of vegetables, so you can cut back on the calories, but not the hearty flavors. Vegetables offer a host of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and folate, to name a few.

Here are some inspirational recipes that will make you want to dig your slow cooker out of the back of your cupboard.

Easy Slow Cooker Jambalaya


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1-3/4 cups long-grain rice
  • Parsley, optional


Combine chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, spice mix, thyme and oregano in a large (5-quart) slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 hours. Add shrimp and rice; raise heat to high and cook for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired. Serves 8.

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket With Beer


  • 1 (3-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 large)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped parsnips (about 2)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottled light beer


Rub brisket with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add brisket to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove brisket from the pan. Add 1/4 cup water to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add onion and parsnip; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place onion mixture, vinegar, bay leaf and beer in a large electric slow cooker. Place brisket on onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Discard bay leaf. Cut brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce. Serves 12 (3 ounces beef and 1/3 cup sauce).

Mediterranean Slow-Roast Turkey


  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) boneless turkey breast, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Combine first 9 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Combine remaining 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add broth mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Slice turkey. Yield: 8 servings (about 4 ounces turkey and 1/3 cup onion mixture).

Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Stew


  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
  • 4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium leeks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 can (14 oz) vegetable or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water


In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, place all ingredients except cornstarch and water. Cover; cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Mix cornstarch and water; gradually stir into stew until blended. Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Serves 8.


Source:,, eatbetteramerica and Joanne’s recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2010.

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