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<b>Cookbooks to convert</b>

Cookbooks to convert

So, you have a new crock pot and you haven’t tried it out yet.  Now is the time to start.  Cooking in the crock pot is simple and easy but the meals are delicious. Buy a crock pot recipe book first so you get experienced with how the crock pot cooks, then you can learn to adapt your own recipes.  Converting regular recipes to crock pot recipes isn't very difficult at all if you just remember these few facts.

Soups and stews are the easiest recipes and are natural slow cooker favorites so try them first.  The crock pot doesn’t brown the meat so if you like the look and taste of brown meat then you need to quickly brown it first before adding it to the pot.  Also this helps with reducing any fat you may get from the meat as the fat makes the food cook faster.

You need to reduce the liquid in a traditional recipe as these don’t evaporate in cooking as in regular cooking so as a general rule halve the amount of liquid you need except when using rice and pasta.

I like to cook most stews and meats on low for around 8 hours as this allows the meat to tenderize and the vegetable to soften but if you making a large quantity I would cook on high for 3 hours then reduce to low for another 6 hours.  As a general rule if a recipe says to cook for 30 minutes then adjust that to 5 hours, 45 minutes to 6-7 hours and 1 hour plus to 8 – 10 hours.

Vegetables cook slower than meats so cut or dice them into small pieces and you can put them at the bottom of the crock pot too if the recipe method allows.  If the recipe includes milk or cheese then add them near the end and you should thicken your cooking around the same time.  Also use fresh herbs rather than dried when available.

Converting regular recipes to crock pot recipes isn't that difficult if you just remember the tips and ideas above.  If you are a new cook and don't have any favorite recipes to convert yet then I suggest you check out a book from Amazon called  Rival Crock-Pot Incredibly Easy Recipes (Incredibly Easy)

Now get your crock pot out and make something nice for dinner.

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Prunes in Port Wine

This recipe for prunes in port wine is very easy and makes a nice simple dessert.  Its a very old recipe that was given to me about 20 years ago.  I have adapted it to the crock pot slow cooker which was very easy.

I love prunes right out of the bag but with the combination of port it makes a nice light dessert.  Its not everyone's idea of a great dessert but I like it and its different. Just remember to not eat too many at once or you may get a stomach ache.  My son learned the hard way that when he was a little boy.  He told me the black apricots made him feel a bit sick.  hehe

Prunes in Port Wineprunesinport1

1/2 lb (250g) dessert prunes
2 cloves
2 slices of  fresh orange and a piece of orange rind
1 tbs sugar
1  small cinnamon stick
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup port wine
Place all ingredients in a small crock pot or slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Stir light once during cooking but be careful not to break up the fruit. Serve hot with custard or cold with cream.  Serves 4.  You can double the recipe for a dinner party.

There are some great old recipes out there that you or your mother/grandmother used to make and they are adaptable to the slow cooker usually quite easily.  Why not dig out some of your own and try them yourself this week.

For other recipes here at Crock Pot Meals you can access them all here - Recipes


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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Beef Stew

This slow cooker beef stew is very easy to put together and you should have all the ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry.  The flavors of the red wine and mushrooms really gives this recipe its great taste so I encourage you to use the wine.  You can also use half and half of wine and beef stock if you prefer.

1 1/2 pounds (650g) of round steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
16 oz (400g) can tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt & black pepper to taste
1 small carrot, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
1 small grated (or finely chopped) onion
2 bay leaves (optional but recommended)
1/4 tsp thyme and oregano
1/4 pound (120g) fresh mushrooms, sliced

Turn on the slow cooker to high and spray with some non stick spray .  Put the steak into the slow cooker, add everything else except the mushrooms and then stir gently.  Put the lid on and turn the heat down to low and cook for 8 hours.   Add the mushrooms in the last 1/2 hour of cooking. You can thicken with cornflour or potato flour about the same time.  Remove the bay leaves from the slow cooker before serving.  Oh, and I have forgotten that step once or twice and was the lucky one who got the crunchy bay leaf.

Serve this slow cooker beef stew with rice or mashed potato and some peas, corn or other vegetables.   I must admit my favorite accompaniment with this crock pot meal  is sweet potato mash.  Serves 4

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Beef and Carrots Crock Pot

This beef and healthy carrots crock pot recipe is a low cost one except for the beef but because it is slow cooked you can use the cheapest cuts for this. I like to cook this recipe on low because it give the meat time to tenderize. It's a traditional kind of recipe and you can jazz it up to your tastes fairly easily.   You can set and forget these kind of crock pot meals and I often will cook this on a Sunday morning and let it cook all day.  I then have a meal for Monday night dinner as well.

beef and carrots crock potBeef and Carrots Crock Pot

12 oz (600g)  cubed round steak or gravy beef
1 tab flour
small onion sliced and chopped
clove garlic, crushed
splash of oil
2 tomatoes, diced
3 large carrots, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 tabs parsley
salt and pepper
extra parsley for garnish

Brown the onion and garlic in a non stick pan with the splash of oil then add the meat which has been coated in the flour.  Continue to cook for a minute or two then add the tomatoes, wine, stock, and parsley.  Transfer to the crock pot and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours.  You can thicken with a little more flour mixed with some water if needed.  Sprinkle the extra parsley when serving.  I like this recipe served with mashed potatoes and extra vegetables.

This is a nice warming meal on a cold night or a great family meal.  Beef and carrots crock pot is one of my favorite old time recipes and I hope you like it too.

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