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
1cup butter or margarine
1can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
1/4cup dried parsley
2tablespoons dried minced onion
11/2teaspoons dried sage
1teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2teaspoon dried sweet basil
1/2teaspoon fine-grind black pepper
12 cups day-old bread cubes OR unseasoned bread crumbs for stuffing
1can (10 3/4) ounces condensed cream of chicken soup
5cups 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
1teaspoon garlic powder
1/4teaspoon fine-grind black pepper
1bag (16 ounces) frozen stew vegetables
1pound beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4cup red wine or water
1can (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.