As I write this post, I can hardly wait for it to go live.
Because the links below are going to become my go-to spot to find delicious, set-it-and-forget-it meals for my family all fall and winter long: This month’s theme for The Recipe ReDux is all about The No-Casserole Crock Pot!
I’ve been a slow cooker cook for quite some time – so I’m definitely up for some new inspiration. Since my Crock Pot and I go way back, I’ll share some of the tips I’ve learned along the way:
Brown meat 2-3 minutes per side before adding it to the slow cooker. Caramelizing the meat surface will result in richer flavor and a more appealing appearance.
Don’t peak. It’s tempting, but don’t lift the lid during the cooking. This releases steam, which lengthens cooking time and potentially reducing the temperature inside the slow cooker to a food safety danger zone of below 140°.
Layer Veggies Accordingly. Place vegetables in the crock in this order:
- Bottom (hottest) – Dense winter squash, cabbage, turnips, potatoes
- Middle – Semi-dense canned tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, parsnips
- Top is reserved for vegetables that would fall apart in high heat for long lengths of time like eggplant, broccoli, greens and peas.
Finish with zip. Fresh herbs like mint or lime/orange/lemon juice sprinkled on at the end of cooking will jazz up the flavor of mellow slow-cooked food. Avoid adding fresh herbs at the beginning of cooking, they will lose their flavor in the long stew.
Every time I do meatballs in the slow cooker, my kids yell “Yay, meatballs!” They are so tender so perfect for any kid who doesn’t like to chew tougher cuts of meat.
This dish has a spice combo that’s a delicious meal for guests, too. I’ve made this Cooking Light recipe a few times and below is my latest adaptation:Print
Moroccan Slow Cooker Meatballs
- Yield: About 36 meatballs
- 1/4 cup grated onion – use a box grater and press into a collander to drain slightly if desired
- 1/4 cup chopped raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 pound ground beef (could also use venison)
- 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (a leftover corn muffin works great)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- Cooking spray
- 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- Feta cheese & fresh mint for garnish
- Combine onions, raisins, spices, garlic, egg, mint in a large bowl. Add beef and breadcrumbs; stir well. Shape into 32-36 (3/4-inch) meatballs.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add a third of the meatballs to pan. Cook 4 minutes total, rolling meatballs around the pan as best as you can to brown most sides. (It’s OK if some sides are a little pink on some sides.) Continue with remaining meatballs in 2 more batches. Transfer meatballs to a 4-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. (DON’T forget the spray to avoid baked-on clean-up.)
- Pour tomatoes over meatballs. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours (or on low for about 4 hours) or until meatballs are done. Garnish with cheese and fresh mint.Serve over a mix of brown and white rice.
What do you cook in a slow cooker? I need more inspiration!