Slow Cooker Relief for Summer Heat

Slow Cooker Relief for Summer Heat

Summer heat has arrived with a vengeance so I’ve been trying to remember any and all great dinner ideas that won’t heat up my kitchen. Digging around, I found a fun little recipe book full of slow cooker recipes. A lot of the recipes are awfully heavy for summer fare, but some are not.

Slow cookers offer tender, delicious meals without heating up the kitchen. Score!

This booklet is from General Electric and no doubt was included with a slower cooker at purchase. The booklet gives 2 sets of quantities for each recipe. One set for 3 to 4 1/2 quart cookers and one set for 5 to 6 1/2 quart cookers. I am using the quantities for the smaller cookers here, but the quantities GE gives for the big cookers is double that for small. So if you have a large cooker and want to fill it, just double these recipes.

Hawaiian Chicken

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved

16 ounce can pineapple slices, drained

15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1/ cup cornstarch

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

14 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours. Makes about 6 to 8 servings.

Tex-Mex Beef Barbecue

3 pounds beef brisket

18 ounce bottle hickory-smoked barbecue sauce

1 package chili seasoning

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion

Combine all ingredients, except meat, in the crock. Stir well. Add meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours. Remove the meat and shred. Return the meat to the crock. Stir well to combine. Serve on soft rolls. Makes 8 servings.

Orange-Juiced Pork Chops

6 ounce can frozen orange juice, undiluted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

6 1-inch thick boneless, center-cut pork chops

Combine all ingredients, except the meat, in the crock. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.

Asian Spareribs

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

10 ounce jar duck sauce or sweet and sour sauce

3 pounds country-style pork spare ribs

Dissolve cornstarch in teriyaki sauce. Add duck sauce and put in crock. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Time to get the old crock pot out of the cupboard and dust it off. Quick and easy meals that won’t heat the kitchen are on their way.

Quesadillas are my go-to quick dinner at home, and they are great when I didn’t have a plan for dinner in advance. Slow cooking requires planning. Not my strong suit. Quesadillas don’t require planning. For  lots of great takes on the old quesadilla, check out 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes. Only 99 cents for lots of inspiration.

 

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Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids & Adults – Free June 19-20 on Amazon

We launched Gourmet Ice Pops through a special program called Amazon Select, but our time in that program is almost over. We are offering the book for free June 19-20 as a special promotion.

Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007SPP0I2

Gourmet Ice Pops includes more than 50 delicious recipes with tips and notes to help you create your own variations! Includes color photos and illustrations to make the book more entertaining plus a hyperlinked table of contents for ease of use.

This book is full of recipes and ideas for delicious, gourmet ice pops, divided into 3 sections — kids favorites, gourmet flavors, and adults only (recipes with alcoholic ingredients). Skim through the Table of Contents and you’re sure to find your new favorite!

Vintage Recipe: Ring-Around-the Tuna

Ring-Around-the-TunaToday’s crazy vintage recipe comes from a little book called Joys of Jell-O. I picked this little beauty up at an estate sale recently. I just love these old cookbooks, and some of them have  great vintage recipes in them. Others, less so.

This book was produced by General Foods Kitchens. When I opened the book, it fell open to this recipe. I have to wonder, is it possible that whoever owned this book before me loved to make this dish? Seems so unlikely.

Ring-Around-the-Tuna

A beautiful jewel-like entree salad for your luncheon or buffet table.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime or Lemon Gelatin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons grated onion

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup diced celery

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

2 tablespoons sliced stuffed olives

1 can (7 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked.

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and sat in boiling water. Add cold water, vinegar, and onion. Chill until very thick. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into individual ring molds or a 1-quart ring mold. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp salad greens. If desired, serve with additional tuna and top salads with mayonnaise.Makes 3 2/3 cups, o about 4 entree servings.

That’s the recipe, unaltered. The picture in the book looks a green and see-through, but I swear that the directions tell you to mix the tuna in the Jell-O. Seems like that would make it filmy. Yech.

In the picture, all I can see in the center of the ring is salad greens. Perhaps they are hiding the tuna?

Regardless, I find it unsettling that whoever compiled this cookbook felt that this was a great recipe worthy of a photograph. Only a few recipes have a photo, and only a few of the photos are color. Ring-Around-the-Tuna scored big with a 1/2 page color photo! Yikes.

Jell-O’s Story

The cookbook includes a little history of Jell-O. While I am poking fun at one particular recipe, I would never poke fun at Jell-O. Jell-O is weird comfort food and therefore deserves more respect than that. Also, when I had my children, all I craved in this world was Lime Jell-O.

According to the General Foods Kitchens, “Jell-O Gelatin fist grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897.” That’s 115 years ago! This cookbook is only 50 years old, because it was created to celebrate Jell-O’s 65th birthday.

“The bounty of Jell-O doesn’t end with its lightness, good taste, convenience, and versatility. Jell-O Gelatin is nutritious and low in calories, just 83 calories per half-cup serving. It sits as lightly on your conscience as it does on top of any meal. You can add fresh vegetables or fruit, or even a marshmallow or two, and eat and eat.”

Guilty Pleasure

Jell-O salads are truly one of my favorite things to check out at any buffet or pot-luck function. You never know what’s gonna be in there. Some are delicious, some are repulsive. And some, like this Tuna ring insanity, are just wrong. But they’re never boring.

Here are a couple of quick & easy recipes that sound cool and delicious. Thanks Jell-O!

Orange-Mallow Ring

For year ‘round refreshment, mold fresh or canned oranges in gelatin.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Orange or Orange-Pineapple Gelatin

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold ginger ale or water

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup diced fresh orange sections, drained (or 11 oz. can mandarin orange sections, drained)
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add ginger ale. Chill until very thick. Stir in marshmallows and orange sections. Pour into a 1-quart ring mold or individual ring molds. Chill until firm. Unmold. Makes 3 cups, or 6 servings.

Strawberry-Banana Ring: Prepare Orange-Mallow Ring, substituting Strawberry-Banana gelatin for the Oange gelatin and 2 medium bananas, sliced, for the oranges.

 

Bleu Blue Nachos For a Change of Pace

The local newspaper recently ran a recipe for Bleu (or Blue) Nachos and it caught my attention. I decided to give it a try. I just love nachos, but don’t have many variations that are terribly interesting. Sometimes I add sliced olives – Oooh. Sometimes not.

So the blue cheese sauce idea sparked my interest. Plus it called for blue tortilla chips. I just love those!

Here’s the adapted recipe. Give it a try for a change of pace.

Blue Nachos

Blue corn chips

Blue cheese sauce (recipe follows)

Bacon, chopped

Onions, chopped (Sweet onions or green onions are prettier)

Walnuts, chopped – optional

Place chips on a large plate and cover with the cheese sauce then add toppings. I used Vidalia onions because they are in season, but green onions would add a lot more to the color and presentation of the dish.

To serve for a party, set out cheese sauce in a small crock pot or other container that will keep it warm with a bowl of chips on the side. Add the toppings to the cheese sauce or set them out in small bowls also.

Blue Cheese Sauce

2 cups milk

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon honey

5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Heat milk in a saucepan until simmering. (I used skim milk because it’s what I had on hand. Whole milk would doubtless make a richer sauce, but the skim milk worked just fine.)

Add pepper, honey and cheese and cook on low heat until cheese has melted.

In a separate sauté pan, heat the butter until it melts, then stir in flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes on low heat.

Add roux to milk mixture a little at a time, whisking to blend and thicken the cheese sauce. Continue adding roux until the desired thickness is reached.

This recipe made enough sauce for 2 big platters of nachos with generous sauce and toppings.

For more great party food ideas, check out Touchdown Treats: Quick & Easy Dips and Cheese Ball Recipes for a Winning Party. It is currently free online for a limited time promotion. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.

HCG Diet Plateau Breakers

Some dieters hit plateaus while doing the HCG diet, especially when following the diet for a full 6-week course. A plateau is generally considered 4 or more days at the same weight.

When weight loss stalls, there are a couple of recommended ways to jumpstart it.

Steak Day

To have a Steak Day, dieters drink all the zero calorie drinks they want all day and eat a big steak for dinner.

Apple Day

The other recommended plateau breaker is an Apple Day. To have an Apple Day, dieters drink all the zero calorie drinks they want all day while eating only 6 apples throughout that day.

Common Culprits

Some people find that drinking diet sodas can stall their weight loss, so drink them in moderation and cut sodas if weight stalls. Generally, only sodas sweetened with Stevia or Splenda are allowed on the diet.

Sadly, Balsamic vinegar can also be a stall inducing item and may need to be cut from the diet, at least temporarily.

Under Dr. Simeon’s original HCG diet, only 1 vegetable is allowed per meal. Most current versions of the diet allow vegetable mixing, but for dieters on a plateau, single vegetable portions may help speed weight loss.

Also, lean red meats are allowed on the diet, but it is best to eat them sparingly. Most diets recommend red meat only 3 or 4 times per week and never 2 portions on the same day.

Dieters are also encouraged to keep track of their fluid intake. Drink extra fluids, especially water, to help break a weight stall.

Information in this article is taken from 35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes — available online for only $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.