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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
1 cup Brown rice
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.
Bulgur Wheat in a Crockpot
2 cups bulgur wheat
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.
Crockpot Egyptian Lentils and Rice
1 c brown or pink lentils, washed & picked over
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.
Green Chile Grits in the crockpot
2 cups regular grits, not quick or instant
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.
Millet Stew in a crockpot
1 cup millet
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.
Brown and White Rice Crockpot Pilaf
4 slices celery, diced
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.
Tofu Spinach Manicotti in the crockpot
olive oil to coat crockpot
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.
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).
Eggplant Crockpot Caponata
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
Prepare the eggplant by soaking, salting or pressing- whatever you normally do. Dice but do not peel. Chop and dice all the vegetables.
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.
1 quart chopped fresh tomatoes or 28 ounces no-salt-added canned tomatoes, crushed
Toast the cumin in a dry fry pan, stirring constantly. Set aside.
Serve over omelets, burritos, spaghetti squash, pasta, rice, or grain.
Creamy Lentils with Greens in a Crockpot: a Pasta Sauce
12 ounces swiss chard or collards (2 small bunches fresh, or 1 package frozen, thawed and drained)
For serving you will need:
Rinse carefully and drain chard well. Trim off coarse stem ends; then cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
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.
Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
a double recipe takes a 5 1/2 quart crock pot
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
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.