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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crock Pot Cooking

As we get into the busy holidays, crock pots are the perfect way to find time to cook a family meal.  Several months ago, BYU Today magazine published an article about a graduate named Karen  Bellessa Petersen who cooked something different in the crock pot everyday for a year.  You can read the complete article here.  She rated each recipe she tried (1-5 stars), and included many unusual recipes and ideas (did you know the crock pot is a good place to raise bread dough?).  She has both a blog and a book.  Click here to take a look at her blog.
 I tried two of her "5 star" recipes:

Cashew Chicken 
 Serves 4-6

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders (don't use chicken breasts)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can of water chestnuts (optional)
1/2 cup cashews

Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Serve over rice.

and Brownie Fudge Cake
 Serves 8

1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup water (I probably used 1/2 cup)
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I left these out)
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped (I used 3 tbsp cocoa and 1 tbsp oil in place of this)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In large bowl combine flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; mix well. In small bowl, combine egg with 1/4 cup water, peanut butter, 2 tbsp melted butter, and vanilla; mix well.

2. Stir peanut butter mixture into flour mixture until combined. Add chocolate chips and pecans. Spray a 3 quart slow cooker with nonstick baking spray containing flour. Add batter to slow cooker.

3. In small saucepan, combine ice cream topping, brown sugar, 3/4 cup water, and baking chocolate; cook and stir over medium heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and pour over batter.

4. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Turn off slow cooker, place lid ajar, and let stand for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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