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Fall is the perfect time to break out Crockpots

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By Judyrae Kruse
Herald Columnist
Once Halloween has wound down to tail-out tonight, and our trick-or-treaters are bathed, suited up in their jammies or nighties, and tucked up in bed all ready for the traditional bedtime reading session, then it's goodnight kisses and lights out, leaving only the house and kitchen pickup/washup yet to be done.
Whew! The hurry, scurry and happy of Halloween is over for another year, but now we're about to get even busier, because here come Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year dinners, parties, get-togethers and celebrations.
Which makes this the perfect time to load our Crockpots first thing in the morning, cover, flip the switch to the right temperature and waltz off to the day's other must-dos, knowing dinner will be ready when you are.
Happily, the folks at Spice Islands are tuned into our needs and share two variations on the same Crockpot theme: a snappily seasoned chicken and stuffing combo as well as a beef stew, equally well seasoned.
Crockpot chicken and stuffing
21/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup celery
1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
11/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon fine-grind black pepper
12 cups day-old bread cubes OR unseasoned bread crumbs for stuffing
2 eggs
1 can (10 3/4) ounces condensed cream of chicken soup
5 cups chopped, cooked chicken or turkey
In a large saucepan, combine the broth, butter or margarine, celery, mushrooms, parsley, onions, sage, poultry seasoning, salt, basil and pepper in a large saucepan; simmer for 10 minutes.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Combine eggs, soup and chicken; stir into broth mixture until smooth. Pour over bread and mix well. Place mixture in a greased 5-quart Crockpot. Cover and cook on low 5 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the stuffing reads 160 degrees.
Crockpot beef stew
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fine-grind black pepper
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen stew vegetables
1 pound beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup red wine or water
1 bay leaf
1 can (about 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, garlic powder, salt, rosemary and pepper. Place frozen vegetables in bottom of Crockpot. Sprinkle with the flour/spice mixture. Add the stew meat, water or wine, bay leaf and tomatoes. Place lid on Crockpot and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.
The next Forum will appear in Friday's comics section.
Story tags » Cooking

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