Basic Crock Pot Meal
Start with your meat. Choose what is available, but the cheaper cuts (shoulder, chuck) really do well with long, slow cooking.
Heat a skillet on medium high heat, and add a little oil. Cook the meat until it is very brown, and then turn it and cook the next side. Continue until the meat is browned on all sides. Put in Crock Pot.
Take your veggies and add them to the skillet with a little more oil, browning them on one or two sides and then adding them to the Crock Pot.
Take your liquid of choice (broth, juices from a previous meal, or water and bouillon cubes) and pour it into the skillet. Stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet until the browned bits in the skillet have dissolved into the liquid. Pour the liquid into the crock pot.
Add spices, salt and pepper. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Use your imagination with spices! Use a mix you enjoy or come up with your own. Cumin and oregano give it a Mexican flavor; oregano and basil taste Italian (especially good if you add some diced tomatoes with the veggies!)
Chicken Pot Pie/Chicken and Dumplings
Leftover chicken, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/3 palm full
2 tablespoons flour, a handful
1 quart chicken broth or stock,or a combination of broth and milk
1 cup frozen green peas and carrots
Place a large pot on stove over medium-high heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Stir broth or stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken and peas/carrots to the broth and stir.
From here, you can either pour it into a pan, add a refrigerated pie crust to the top and bake it, or add dumplings and finish it on the stovetop.
For dumplings, you need 2 cups of biscuit mix (like Bisquik) and ⅔ cup milk or water. Place biscuit mix in a bowl. Combine with water or milk. Drop tablespoonfuls of prepared mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly.
Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam dumplings 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir chicken and dumplings to thicken sauce a bit.
To your chopped chicken meat, add enough mayo to coat all the pieces of chicken.
Add salt and pepper, and whatever add ins you prefer. In my demonstration I used dried cranberries, celery, and walnuts. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
To Cook Beans in Crock Pot
Pick over a pound of dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones.
Put beans into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Add a diced onion, a small spoonful of minced garlic, and some salt and pepper. Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they’re tender and cooked through, about 5-6 hours.
To turn the cooked beans into soup, add a bouillon cube and some more water if needed to make the beans soupy.
Chop up a few stalks of celery, an onion, and a bit of carrot. Cook them over medium high heat with a bit of oil until they start looking brown. Add some minced garlic and cook a minute more, until you can smell the garlic. Add the veggies to the crock pot.
Add a pinch of chili powder, about a teaspoon of cumin and two teaspoons of dried oregano. Cook on high 2 hours.
Come to the next demo!
If you would like to attend the next cooking demo, please call the library at 585-589-4246 by Sat., April 18 to register. The demo will be on April 18 at 10:30am.
Pictures from this event will be posted soon on the library’s Facebook page.