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Filed under: Food Week 2010

Slow Cooker; Crock Pot

December 11, 2010 by · 8 Comments 

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Slow-cooker

(Photo Caption: Slow Cooker)

Since moving into our motor home full-time, the slow cooker has become our most important appliance in the kitchen.  We have found that putting ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and then going about our day of exploration and returning home to an excellent meal is a great way to save time.

We’ve also been surprised at the variety of things you can do in a slow cooker—everything from entertaining beverages, to cakes, to stews, to complete meals.  There are many recipes available and the options are endless (Fix it and Forget it has many recipes).  We also modify a lot of the recipes we find to meet our dietary goals.  We have even prepared a meal while traveling by sitting the slow cooker in the sink just in case (and using a recipe with low liquid content).

Before I go any further, though, I have to mention the greatest slow-cooker related invention ever—the cooking bags.  They are amazing; you line the cooker with the bag and then cook whatever you desire.  When you are finished, you just throw away the bag and the slow cooker is as clean as it was before you started.  This is a huge time saver, as any of you know who have spent time cleaning that line from the liquid.

While it is difficult to come up with the best recipe for the slow cooker, I do have my all-time favorite that has come from growing up in New Mexico—green chile stew.  While people not from New Mexico may not know all of the ingredients (or may think that they can substitute other peppers for green chiles) most of you will be able to find them in the grocery store.

Green chile

Green chile

While there are many recipes for green chile stew, I prefer to have potatoes and black beans in mine to make it more of a meal in itself.  I start with 2-3 pounds of pork roast, cubed (sometimes we substitute lamb depending on where we are).  We lightly coat the pork with flour and quickly brown it in ¼ cup of oil and then scrape all into the slow cooker (meat, oil, and flour) to thicken the sauce.  We add Yukon gold potatoes (amount proportional to the meat, based on taste), an onion, and a few cloves of garlic to taste.  Then add one can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and juice (tomatoes and green chile) and diced green chile to taste (depending on heat and your taste for green chile).  Add water as required and turn the slow cooker on low and cook for around 6 hours (until the potatoes and pork are done).  When it is done, I add a can of black beans (drained) for additional flavor and texture.  Once they are heated, the stew is ready to serve.

I recommend serving in a bowl with some shredded cheddar cheese on top and plenty of tortillas.  Naturally, the green chile is the key ingredient and determine the flavor and heat of the stew.  Good, hot, Hatch green chile may result in a stew too hot for comfort to many people.  As winter approaches, this is an excellent meal for those cold days.

One other recommendation is to use the left over green chile stew to make huevos rancheros for breakfast.  Take a tortilla (flour or corn, depending on taste), warm and then put eggs to order on the tortilla (I think fried eggs are best for this dish).  Then cover the eggs with the green chile stew, top with grated cheddar, and serve.

Comments

8 Responses to “Slow Cooker; Crock Pot”
  1. Patti Faustini says:

    Hi Hoby, and I, too, love my crockpot, especially when camping. OK…WHERE do you buy crockpot liners? I only heard of them yesterday, and now you have talked about them. I understand they’re expensive, but they sure sound worth it. Are they are Safeway’s and places like that? Patti

  2. Hoby says:

    @Patti,

    I sometimes find them at the specialty cooking stores, because those seem to be better and you get more per package. However, they seem to be in all the grocery stores by the foil, cooking bags, etc. As for the price, they usually come with 4 in a box, so could be considered expensive. However, if you consider the value of your time, and realize that you will never have to soak or scrub your slow cooker again, then they seem like a bargain. My wife says they are the best invention ever!! :) Thanks, Hoby

  3. Ross Brand says:

    Our favorite thing to do. Is to get the Crock Pot ready to go and put it in the sink and plug it in with the inverter. (Crock pots use very little power. ) Then it is cooking all day as we travel. The difficult part is about 2 PM when the smell of dinner is so good that you want to pull over and eat right then and there.

  4. Hoby says:

    Ross, we have also cooked while driving and experienced that same “problem” with the smell being so good it makes you want to stop. That reminds me of another similar issue I had. I bought a bread machine and thought the timer setting was awesome. So, my plan was to set the timer so that when I got up the next morning, I would have fresh bread for breakfast. The problem was that the incredible smell woke me up about 4 am!!! I never tried that one again.

  5. Paul Garnett says:

    Making me hungry reading this :-)… But it’s not the cooking element of your article that really interests me. It’s the fact that you say you have moved in to your motor home fulltime.That to me says you know alot about using a motor home..In August we are going to Phoenix and will be hiring a motor home. I was wondering if it is possible to park up wherever you like with a motor home in America, like it is here in Sweden? Would be grateful for any motor home advice from yourself or any other of your readers if you can spare the time to write.Thanks // Paul

  6. Hoby says:

    Paul, the thing in the US is that each community (state, county, and city) determine where you can park. In some states you can spend the night in a rest area, but in other states you can only be there a couple of hours. The same with parking lots; for example, WalMart is very good about allowing RVs to spend the night; but some municipalities have passed laws that make it illegal to spend the night in any parking lot. It is the same with community parks; some allow it, some don’t, and some even have dump stations and hook ups. Most truck stops allow free overnight parking. The good news is that when you are not allowed to spend the night, it is normally posted. There are some sites that are helpful. Here are two that I’m aware of:
    - http://www.overnightrvparking.com/index.php
    - http://www.freecampgrounds.com/othercamps.html

    I know lots of people that use the free parking spots, but I have not used any (you just have to find your own comfort level).

    Thanks, Hoby

  7. Paul Garnett says:

    Thanx for finding the time to write Hoby…Shall check out those sites now..Thank you

  8. Hoby says:

    Paul, you are welcome! Hope to see you on the road. Hoby

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