/ 9.3.11 / 19 Comments / ,

Kitchen Testing Crock Pot Recipes...

baked potato

I love the idea of cooking with a crock pot..but I don’t like many of the recipes I’ve tried. Why? Because they often come out mushy or bland and boring.  I’ve looked through my Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes any times, but most of the recipes just didn’t sound all that appealing to me. What about you? It looked like there was a lot of repetition and not too many ingredients..and lots of cream of something soup.

Well, after relying on a roaster oven at speech and debate tournaments while feeding several hundred people x 3 days x 8 tournaments, I’ve discovered that it’s amazing what you can cook in a slow cooker! My favorites?  Baked potatoes, Meatloaf, Pot Roast, Beef Stew, Roasted Chicken, Potato-Corn Chowder and Macaroni and Cheese.  To be able to use a crock pot for these everyday staples makes it my favorite kitchen appliance! 

Until now, though, I had never tried to recreate what we did in huge quantities in my small crock pot at home. In fact a roaster oven, though it can slow cook, works rather differently in that it can get up to oven high temperatures..like 450 degrees! You can easily saute chicken breasts in a roaster oven.

crockpot baked potatoes

This month, Rebekah, my daughter, and I decided that we are going to get over the learning curve and start experimenting with the crock pot. Sure, we may make some mistakes along the way, but I’m pretty certain we have not even begun to explore the many wonderful options available for crock pot cooking.

One thing I had always wanted to try, which I DID try this week, with STUNNING results..was baked potatoes. I don’t believe they are in the crockpot cook book.  Oh my goodness!! They turned out just fantastic!!  I didn’t even fill the pot, I just put in our usual five potatoes (one for each person). I cooked them on high and in about two hours, they were done to perfection.

baked potatos fluffy

They were a little moist on the outside, but almost browned on the bottom. I didn’t add water, just rubbed them with a wee bit of butter, poked them with a knife, and popped them into the pot. Voila! Perfect baked potatoes!  They were supposed to be for last night’s supper, but the boys got a  hold of them before I could stop them. 

So I threw three more into the empty pot, and they were perfect before my daughter got home for work just a couple of hours later. No more running the oven just for five or six potatoes! Hurrah!  Just in time for summer’s heat.  You gotta love not running that oven in the summer.

My next plan is to fill the pot with potatoes and see how long it takes to cook them. What a great thing to take to our weekly potluck supper at church! And it’s the perfect start to homemade baked potato soup.Yummy!

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Rebekah and I have picked out sixteen recipes to ‘kitchen test’ this month.  We've got the freezer and pantry stocked with ingredients..and we're ready to go!

Even though I haven't gotten excited about most of of what was in the cook book before, I spent the afternoon yesterday pouring over the recipes and realized that just about ANYTHING that you cook at home, has a crock pot version of a recipe in this book. (Even baking bread!!..This I have to see.)

I decided to try only recipes that seemed unique or had lots of people recommending them.   I figured that if so many people liked the exact same recipe then that should be a pretty safe one to try.
Frankly, it’s hard for me to imagine being able to make a casserole in a crock pot..but we’ll try it!

baked potato 2

Here are the sixteen different recipes we will be testing this month…

Tex-Mex Chicken Chowder
Rigatoni Casserole
Steak Stroganoff
Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken and Stuffing Supper
Beef Minestrone Soup
Cabbage and Sausage Dinner
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Beef Enchiladas (Meat)
Cranberry Pork Roast
Scalloped Ham and Potatoes
Sweet Italian Sausage and Spaghetti
Tater Tot Casserole
Beef Napolean
Cola Pot Roast
   beef stew

Next week, I’ll include a list of the great crock-pot cooking tips listed in this book. Here are three of my favorites…
    • You can use a roasting bag in a crock pot! Just use it according to the package directions.
    • And of course, don’t open the lid while cooking..as it takes 15-20 minutes to build back up the heat.
    • You can make ahead any casserole the day before serving, put it in the fridge overnight, move it to the crockpot and cook on high for an hour before leaving and then turn  it on low for four hours to heat through.  (Perfect for church lunches!) 
I’ll keep you updated on our progress over the next few Wednesdays! Hopefully, I’ll have some new ideas and some great recipe recommendations for you to try.  

Have fun with your crock pots friends! 

Say, what’s your favorite tried and true crock pot recipe? Just add it in the comments and perhaps I can try it out next month. I’ll even give the credit where it’s due…to you!

Linking with the Clip Cafe’s WIP
Raising Homemakers Homemaking LinkUp 

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19 comments:

Amy said...

I'm so excited about this! Thank you. The crock pot is such a helpful cooking method year round. Now I'm wanting to go put potatoes in for dinner:)

Caroline said...

Donna! I've been wanting to do baked potatoes this way! It would be lovely for our small group to have a baked potato supper - just enough if I fill both pots. What size potatoes are you using? normal or jumbo? just curious. Will be curious when you fill the pot too.

Oh, BTW, my hands-down absolute favorite crockpot website is http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/. Her stuff is amazing. And gluten free. I've only used probably one or two dozen of her recipes but most are REALLY good. Great for Sunday lunch to cook all night Saturday and make the house smell amazing ....

Have a great day!

Kerrie said...

Awesome Donna! I had forgotten about making meat loaf in the crock but never tried the baked potatoes! You caught me before grocer shopping so I am excited-ha! Your picture made my mouth water! Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful tool I have right under my nose!! Looking forward to more recipes! Kerrie

Donna said...

Thanks for the idea Caroline! The size doesn't seem to matter at all. I didn't use jumbo though..just the normal size. I'll probably put all sizes in the pot for a test. They almost get steamed though in my opinion. They seem plenty fluffy but I think it's their own steam that cooks them through.

Trudy Callan said...

Thanks, Donna. I will go right now and throw in some potatoes for tonight's dinner. I'm excited to follow your journey. This will make my life easier as I tend to wait till the last minute to try to throw something together. Always a disaster and always late.

Shona Cole said...

potatoes who knew? very cool. some of those you are going to try sound great. I do hope yuo bring them to church ;D, I have done chicken and wild rice in crock, but I will be very interested to see how the enchiladas turn out.

Donna said...

OH my goodness ladies! I'm so excited about a recipe that wasn't in the crock pot book but is perfect for company! It's Company Chicken Spaghetti Ole' (as I call it). We serve this at Tres Dias to the ladies on one night and it's WAY not good for you and tastes absolutely divine! We plan to serve it for a young lady, Kaylene, who will be visiting next week and decided to throw it in the crockpot today. How lovely to know supper is cooked, the dishwasher is cleaning all the dishes I used (another advantage of cooking early in the day) and the kids who are heading off to sports day at 4:30pm will be able to tank up on a great supper before leaving. Kids on the run (and a hubby too) have been a big problem. I need supper to be done much earlier. You can't send them off with fajitas every time!

Took lots of photos and can't wait to share this great recipe. I may have to do a Saturday post, just for this. :o)

Thanks for the website Caroline. My grandchildren are coming on the 20th and need healthier ingredients. (Not to mention me!) :o)

Have fun cooking ladies!

xo
Donna

PS. Don't forget to try m crock pot stew. I added the link at the beginning of the post. I took stew for Sunday dinner.. and yes, Shona, I'm planning to do this Chicken Spaghetti for church on Sunday. I'll cook it Sat. night. Put the crock pot in the fridge and pop back in the base in the morning. Sooo much easier!

mickey said...

I'm using my crock today to make beef ministrone for tonight's dinner. I'll let you know how it turns out!

A Joyful Chaos said...

My crock pot is one of my best friends! I will be using it to make baked potatoes for supper. Thanks so much for giving me the idea.

Blessings~

Trudy Callan said...

You have really inspired me. I have my crockpot full of 12 little potatoes. In the other crockpot I layered first with sliced onions, then with baby carrots, then topped it with sliced eye round steak which I sprinkled with salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder and worcestershire sauce. Then I sliced up some yellow squash and sprinkled it with salt pepper and butter and placed in a microwave safe dish, which I will put in the microwave shortly before I serve dinner. I will toss together a nice green salad and maybe serve up some garlic bread as well, and we're good to go. Can't wait to get more ideas from you.

Donna said...

Gosh Trudy..that sounds awesome!

Joyful Chaos, I didn't realize you were a reader. :o) I need to drop by soon!

xo
Donna

Gloria said...

Oh how exciting about the baked potatoes in the crock pot. I've got to give that a try. I have one crock pot but have been looking for another. This is a great post and just about the right time too when we don't want heat in the house. Thanks dear. I am definitely trying the baked potatoes....that is...when I buy potatoes...tee hee. I only have one potato right now since we don't eat many potatoes I just buy a few at a time...you know, remember that rhyme...
one potato,
two potato,
three potato,
Four!!
BYE NOW:))

Christi L. said...

Can I have the potato corn chowder recipe please?

Christi L. said...

Oh, and look on my side bar. There is a lady with a blog where she used her crock pot every day for a year. She has great reviews and I've had good success with some of her favorite recipes!

Donna said...

That sounds great Christi! I'll have to go check it out. And the potato-corn chowder was Tammy's recipe. I'll have to get it from her. :o)

Michelle - Blessed Mom of 4 said...

I love using my crockpot too, but I've never tried baking potatoes in it. I will have to do that soon! crockpot365.blogspot.com is also one of my favorite sites for recipes, she has so really interesting ones that I never would have thought to try in the crock pot. Can't wait to see more recipes from you!

Trudy Callan said...

Donna, the potatoes turned out great. They were a big hit. Today I'll try sweet potatoes in the crock pot.

free indeed said...

Well, finally, someone else who finds that rave crockpot recipes are only ho hum...seems I don't have very many successes for wonderful meals from my crockpot...am so anxious to watch how your experimenting turns out!
One recipe I have used over the last 30 years is one I concocted by combining two recipes: Sweet and Sour Spareribs. If you want the recipe just let me know.

stanville said...

Try putting a kitchen towel over the top of your crock pot before putting the cover on to absorb excess moisture.

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster
Welcome to Comin' Home! If you lived nearby, I'd invite you over to my neck of the woods for a nice long chat and a cup of tea out on the deck. But since we can't do that, I hope you'll stay and look around. I love learning new things and sharing what I learn with friends. Comin' Home is where I share tips from my many projects. Let's have some fun together! XO Donna

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