The Gourmet Touch: When things get busy, cook slow
Dec 17, 2013 | 1924 views |  0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you still have a lot of shopping to do before Christmas, it's time to make the slow cooker your friend in the kitchen.

Although I really didn't know what to do with that first Crock-Pot I received as a gift many years ago, I noticed a little booklet of recipes that came with it and made some easy meals for the family.

Within the last few years, the Crock-Pot and other slow cookers have reappeared as a "must-have" for the kitchen. In fact, many homes have more than one.

My granddaughter, Meagan, uses her slow cooker often — I think I need to take lessons from her. She makes some of the best pinto beans I’ve ever eaten and she does it in the slow cooker. What surprises me is that they are just as thick as beans cooked on top of the stove for several hours.

Recently, I received a call from a reader who had lost her recipe for Crock-Pot Mac and Cheese and wanted to know if I could help her. I asked her to tell me what she could remember and then found the following recipe in “The Lighthouse Cookbook,” compiled by the youth at our church.

Another great slow cooker recipe that I found in the church cookbook is for Crock-Pot Roast. This would be great to have ready to eat when you return from that shopping trip.

At Christmas time, I like to make chocolate peanut clusters in my slow cooker. It is one of the easiest candies to make and is perfect to have on hand as a gift for unexpected guests during the holidays.

CROCK-POT MAC AND CHEESE
2 large cans evaporated milk
3 cups milk
6 cups shredded cheese (save 1 cup to go on top)
16 ounces macaroni, cooked
1 stick butter, melted
2 cans Cheddar cheese soup

While cooking macaroni, put all other ingredients in Crock-Pot (reserving 1 cup of shredded cheese for top) then put in cooked macaroni. Stir well. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

NOTE: This makes a lot of mac and cheese, so you might want to cut the recipe in half. CROCK-POT ROAST
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 cups baby carrots
1 stalk celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 onion, quartered
2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast
1 can diced tomatoes with herbs
1/2 can water
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in Crock-Pot. Place roast on top. Mix tomatoes and water; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 11 to 12 hours. Serves 3 to 5 people.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS
32 ounces unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 (4 ounce) bar of German chocolate, broken into pieces
12 ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 pound chocolate coating bars (sometimes called almond bark)

Layer ingredients as listed above in large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. DO NOT LIFT LID! After two hours, stir and drop from spoon onto wax paper. Allow to cool and become firm before lifting from paper.

NOTE: I sometimes like to use half dark chocolate almond bark and half white almond bark.
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