Posts Tagged ‘crock pot’

by Sarah Steimer

This meal was the first time I pulled the slow cooker out this season — I missed it so.

  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce, to your liking
  • 6 Swiss chard leaves, rinsed and chopped
  • 3-4 flour tortillas
  •  toppings (we went with a pepper jack cheese and chopped banana and bell pepper — other options could include tomatoes, shredded carrots, guacamole or sour cream)

Place beans, water, onion, cumin and garlic in a slow cooker. Cook on high until the beans are very soft (2-3 hours). Drain and return the solids (mostly beans and onions) to the slow cooker, saving about 1/4 cup of the water.

Add the salsa, hot sauce (if using), Swiss chard, and additional salt and pepper. Mix up so the chard is not merely hanging out on top. Continue to cook on high until the Chard is completely wilted and the beans are nearly falling apart, about 30-45 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add the saved water. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve the bean and chard mixture, still hot, in the flour tortillas with the chosen toppings. Also works well just scooped up with tortilla chips (which is how I ate it, reheated, the next day).

Makes 3-4 burritos.

Recipe adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen

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by Sarah Steimer and Caitlin Saniga

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There are only five more days until Hanukkah and 10 more days until Christmas, and according to a few informal surveys – a lot of people out there aren’t ready yet.

So on top of offering recipes for your holiday parties and charitable ideas for your yearly donation, we’ve also kindly put together a list of great holiday gifts for the food love in your life – whether he or she likes to entertain, is a seasoned pro or is just getting started.

Small kitchen appliance

  • Crock-Pot slow cooker
    • You really, truly cannot go wrong with a slow cooker. It’s so simple to use and does all the work for you. A slow-cooker can make anything from chili to dessert, or just simply keep your punch warm at a party. —S
  • Cuisinart 7-cup food processor
    • I’ve had my eye on this mid-size food processor for quite some time. Right now I use a blender to do many tasks, but a food processor opens up so many more possibilities! It can chop nuts, cut up meat, mix ingredients for bread dough, churn out pesto, etc. Consumer reviews say this machine does great work for the price and size. —C

Everyday cooking tool

  • Wooden spoon set
    • I think the safest bet for any type of pan is to use a wooden spoon instead of any metal or plastic spatula. It’s one of the handiest utensils I own and you’ll never burn your hand because you left your wooden spoon on a hot surface. I wouldn’t imagine, at least. —S
  • Glass citrus juicer
    • My mom has one, and now that I’m living on my own, it would be nice to have one, too. Citrus juicers come in a number of shapes and sizes (My current juicer is a fork!), but I like using glass because it is easy to clean. And if it chips or dings, it only adds to the character of the piece. —C

Entertaining item

  • Cork trivet set
    • Cork trivets are great to have around if you ever serve food straight from the oven or the stove. Instead of rooting around for a kitchen towel that will match your table scape or putting a bulky cooling rack on the table, place a few cork trivets underneath your hot pots and pans. The cork is simple enough that it can match almost anything. —S
  • Stemless wine glasses
    • I like this set because it include glasses for white (skinny) and red (fat) wines. And they have the potential to hold so many things other than wine: juices, iced coffee, layered salads, layered pudding desserts, ice cream sundaes, even votives or flowers. —C


  • “Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets” by Deborah Madison
    • The recipes in this cookbook are extremely simple, as they should be when you feature seasonal foods. It’s a fantastic reference for any time of the year, especially when you’re stumped in the winter months or grab an odd vegetable at the farmer’s market on a whim. Madison also incorporates stories from markets she’s visited around the country. —S
  • “The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh” by Barbara Fairchild
    • My three favorite words! I’ve cooked recipes from the magazine, and while they’re always delicious, they’re not always the simplest or quickest to prepare. I’ve tried a few recipes from the cookbook, and I can definitely tell that “fast” is emphasized in most of the dishes, as many can be prepared in 30 minutes or less (so they say!). —C

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by Sarah Steimer

I like the crisp edges you get with baked mac and cheese - like any other human - but sometimes I'd rather have a mac that's nice and creamy.

  • 8 ounces Fusilli pasta (spirals)
  • 1 heaping cup smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent. When both are ready, drain the pasta and add it, along with the onions, into a slow-cooker.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing with a whisk until you’ve made a rue. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue whisking until it thickens to the consistency of cream. Add the cheeses, eggs, Greek yogurt, broth and salt and pepper. Mix until the cheese has melted then add to the slow cooker. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Fold in the spinach. Cook on low for about an hour.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted (very loosely) from: a recipe my sister, Jess Sweeney, sent me – she made a different crock pot mac & cheese once and it stayed way more moist than what you usually pop in the oven.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes   –  all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Pulled pork is one of the main reasons I bought a slow cooker, no lie.

For the pork

  • Pork loin, butt or shoulder
  • clove of garlic, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water

Brown the outside of the pork in a saute pan. Place in a slow cooker and add water, salt, pepper and garlic. The water should reach about an inch of the way up the meat. Cook on high for about 3-6 hours, depending the size of your cut. Mine was only about a pound and a half, if that, so it only took about three or so hours. You can also cut your meat into large chunks, browning each, to quicken your cook time. You can tell your meat is done when it basically falls apart when you poke at it.

Was the garlic necessary? I don't know, but it made the house smell awesome.

Shred the pork with forks and keep warm.

For the sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke (I used a bit more)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir and simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Serve over the pulled pork.

I also made my coleslaw on top, which was pretty simply shredded cabbage and carrots. The sauce is just vinegar, mayo and sugar (I never measure, just guess and taste). Of course there’s no shame in buying slaw dressing… or even the slaw itself.

Barbecue recipe adapted from: My Luscious Temple

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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