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ELLEN'S KITCHEN

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CROCKPOT GRAINS AND PILAFS

Barley and Mushroom Pilaf      Bulgar Wheat Pilaf
Egyptian Brown Lentils and Rice      Green Chile Grits
Creamy Lentils with Greens: a Pasta Sauce      Picante Lentils
Millet Stew      Brown and White Rice Pilaf
Tofu Spinach Manicotti      Eggplant Caponata      Macaroni and Cheese

Crock pot, crockpot, or slow cooker; whatever you call it, it means convenient, hot, nourishing meals. These meatless dishes can be side dishes or main courses. To improve the protein in these dishes, add 1-2 tablespoons crushed unhulled sesame seed or tahini or Kal nutritional yeast to each serving, or mix in baked seasoned tofu or precooked ground meat or wheat meat/ gluten, or add egg, cheese or dairy side dishes at serving time.

Modern (2002) crockpots run hotter than the old ones, for food safety, around 200 degrees on low and 300 degrees on hot. Modern meats are also more tender and leaner, so you often have to reduce times from older recipes. These work for my Hamilton Beach 3 1/2 quart and 6 quart crockpots. If you want to buy a crockpot, get one that has an automatic setting. This is one hour on high and switches to low, a safer cooking technique than straight low for most dishes, especially those containing meat or eggs.

Every time you remove the lid of a crockpot, it adds about 20 minutes to the cooking time. So if you are a "peeker" add the time.

Rice is tricky in the crockpot and brown or converted white rice works better than regular white rice.

Crockpot Barley With Mushrooms And Green Onions

6 servings

1 cup Brown rice
1 cup Barley
6 Carrots, chunked small
1/2 lb chopped mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon any green herb or garlic spice blend
4 c Water
1/2 c cup green onions, chopped
Bragg's Aminos or soy sauce or salt to taste

Turn on the empty crockpot to high. Saute the carrots and mushrooms until barely tender, tranfer to the crockpot. Saute the brown rice until just golden and fragrant. Turn crockpot to low, add the rice, barley and the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cook covered for 4-5 hours on low.

You can use all barley in this recipe.


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Bulgur Wheat in a Crockpot

6-8 servings

2 cups bulgur wheat
1 cup onion,chopped OR bell pepper or summer squash, diced, or combo
1/3 cup (1 bunch) green onions, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
5 cups vegetable, onion or other broth or tomato juice mix
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried basil,crushed OR 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
Bragg's Amino, soy sauce or salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except basil and green onions in the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours (5-6 hours if using very fine bulgur), then stir in the basil and green onions for the last half hour.

If you saute the vegetables, reduce the cooking time to 6 hours and reduce the liquid about 1/2 cup.


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Crockpot Egyptian Lentils and Rice

6 servings

1 c brown or pink lentils, washed & picked over
3/4 ts Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 cup (1 lg) Onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
1/2 cup rice (converted, to reduce mushiness)
5-6 cups water

Place the olive oil (all of it) into the bottom of the crock pot. Turn the pot onto the highest setting (if variable available) and add the onions. Allow the onions 10-15 minutes to warm in the oil. Add the remaining ingredients, including the water. Cover.

If cooking the dish all day (i.e., a morning start), reduce heat to low for 6-8 hours; otherwise leave on high setting 3-4 hours.

In Egypt, a similar dish is served as breakfast. Traditional accompaniments are a good squeeze of lime or lemon, with chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro and mint, chopped romaine lettuce on the side. You can also dip up this pilaf on sections of hot pita bread for a nice informal sandwich.


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Green Chile Grits in the crockpot

serves 6-8

2 cups regular grits, not quick or instant
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
4-6 ounces chopped mild green chile
1 or more jalapeño chiles, seeded, chopped fine
1 dash cayenne
optional 6 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese stirred in at the end

Combine all ingredients except the cheese in the crockpot and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If cooking on high, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water if it gets too thick.

Just like cornmeal mush or polenta, you can serve right away or you can refrigerate the mixture in a buttered loaf pan for a few hours or overnight, unmold, slice (1/2-inch)and fry in butter until browned. It can be served with a cream or tomato gravy, cheese, or a sweet topping.


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Millet Stew in a crockpot

4 servings

1 cup millet
4 cups water
2 onions, wedged
2 potatoes, chunked
2 carrots, chunked
1 cup celery with leaves, chunked
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme or marjoram

Toast millet in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Put millet in crockpot, saute vegetables if you have the time and inclination.

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.


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Brown and White Rice Crockpot Pilaf

serves 4

4 slices celery, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup raw brown rice
4 green onions with tops, sliced
1 cup raw long-grain converted rice
3 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted, garnish
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, garnish

In dry skillet, toast almonds and set aside. In olive oil, fry celery until just wilted. Stir in brown rice and cook over medium heat until rice is a light golden brown.
Add celery and browned rice to Crock-Pot with green onions, mushrooms, white rice and broth, stir well.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Before serving, stir well; add salt if needed. At serving time, garnish with almonds and cheese.


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Tofu Spinach Manicotti in the crockpot

12 shells- 4 to 6 servings

olive oil to coat crockpot
1/2 cup (1 medium) onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning; or 1/2 tsp each dry basil, marjoram,oregano, and thyme
1 lb soft tofu, rinsed and well drained
1 (10 oz ) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry OR 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped, cooked and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or Soy or Rice based parmesan substitute
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
12 dry manicotti shells (about 6 oz total)
1 quart (2 15 oz cans) tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a 5 qt or larger slow cooker, coat crockpot with oil. Combine onion, celery, garlic, and herb seasoning and make a layer in the bottom of the tub.
In a large bowl combine tofu, spinach, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper; mix well. Stuff uncooked manicotti with tofu filling.
Arrange filled manicotti in a single layer over onion mixture in cooker. In bowl you used for filling, mix tomato sauce and wine; pour over manicotti.

Cover and cook on low setting until manicotti are tender when pierced (4 to 6 hours). Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook until cheese is melted (about 15 more minutes).


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Eggplant Crockpot Caponata

3-4 cups
A savory sweet/sour vegetable relish used as a side dish or appetizer- handy to have in the refrigerator.

1 lb plum tomatoes, diced and seeded
1 eggplant, in 1/2" pieces
2 med zucchini, in 1/2" pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley, flat or Italian preferred
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons oil-cured black olives(optional)
2 tablespoons capers (optional)

Prepare the eggplant by soaking, salting or pressing- whatever you normally do. Dice but do not peel. Chop and dice all the vegetables.
Combine tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, celery, onion, parsley, vinegar, sugar, raisins, tomato paste, salt & pepper in crock pot.

Cook covered on low heat for 5 1/2 hours. Do not remove cover during cooking. Turn off heat, stir in olive oil, olives & capers, if using. Serve warm or cold.


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Picante Lentils

serves 4

1 quart chopped fresh tomatoes or 28 ounces no-salt-added canned tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup lentils, rinsed
1 cup (2 medium) onions, chopped OR celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced OR to taste
1 teaspoon sugar or Honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds,roasted
1 green chile pepper, fresh and minced
1/2 cup picante sauce, medium-hot

Toast the cumin in a dry fry pan, stirring constantly. Set aside.
Combine the tomatoes, lentils, onions, garlic, sugar, cumin, chili,and sauce in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender, 6 to 8 hours.

Serve over omelets, burritos, spaghetti squash, pasta, rice, or grain.


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Creamy Lentils with Greens in a Crockpot: a Pasta Sauce

6 servings

12 ounces swiss chard or collards (2 small bunches fresh, or 1 package frozen, thawed and drained)
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (1 medium), onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, optional
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper or grains of paradise
2 cups water
1/4 cup Kal nutritional yeast
salt to taste

For serving you will need:
12 ounces dry linguine, prepared by your regular method
6 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature, or 2 cups drained yogurt cheese
grated parmesan cheese, rice soy or dairy base,optional

Rinse carefully and drain chard well. Trim off coarse stem ends; then cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
Cover chard leaves and refrigerate.

In a 3-quart or larger crockpot, combine chard stems, lentils, onion, garlic, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, yeast and black pepper. Pour in water. Cover and cook at low setting until lentils are tender when mashed with a fork (6 to 7 hours).

Put the pasta water on to boil. Cut chard leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips; stir into crockpot with nutritional yeast. Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook until chard leaves are wilted and bright green (about 15 minutes more).

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart pan, cook linguine in 3 quarts boiling water just until tender to bite (10 to 12 minutes); or cook according to package directions. Drain well; pour into a warm wide 4-quart bowl.

Season lentil sauce to taste with salt. Add lentil sauce and cream cheese to linquine; mix lightly to coat well. Offer Parmesan cheese or flaked nutritional yeast to taste, if desired.


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Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

4 main dish servings
a double recipe takes a 5 1/2 quart crock pot

8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3-4 cups (12-16 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup ham cubes or thin slices, OPTIONAL
1-2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peas or chopped broccoli
1 12 ounce can evaporated skim milk
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole thyme or marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried powdered mustard, or 1-2 tablespoons salad mustard

Cook the macaroni until it is cooked through but just barely- if you cut a noodle, it will not have a white bit in the middle, but will not squish, either. Drain well. Butter or PAM a 4 quart crockpot and fill with macaroni.
Mix the two cheeses, reserve 1 cup and toss the rest of the cheese with the macaroni. You may add the ham or vegetables here.
Beat together the eggs, milks, salt, pepper, and thyme or marjoram. Pour this over the macaroni. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Cover and cook on the Low setting for 5 to 6 hours, or until the mixture is firm and golden around the edges. If you want good texture and that golden crust, do not remove the cover or stir until the macaroni has finished cooking.

 
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