Tag: slow cooker

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

There are several cookbooks dedicated to slow cooker recipes;as a matter of fact, a quick search on the web yielded more than three thousand recipes for your crock pot. That is proof of American’s love for this kitchen gadget that promises to help save you time while cooking homemade meals for your family. I must admit I only tried a slow cooker for the very first time this year. I grew up in South America where they are not very popular; instead, I learned how to cook with a pressure cooker. These two have a lot in common in that they promise to facilitate, simplify and are great for all-in-one pot meals. The main difference between the two is the cooking time. A pressure cooker can cook a whole chicken in broth and spices within 25 minutes, while a slow cooker will take about three to four hours.

The slow cooker works perfectly on  days where the afternoons are filled with activities and appointments, you can place all your ingredient in the crockpot at lunch time, set the timer and have dinner ready by the time you come home later on. I fully understand why so many people eventually invest in more than one slow cooker. They really are very handy and entertaining for culinary creativity. . The recipes vary from your most common stews and soups to cheesecake! Since I am not expert on this cooking device, I am starting with  basics, and so far have been impressed with the results.

I was given  a 6-quart slow cooker, a basic model with a low and high mode only. It Has no timer and no options, so  now I am tempted to invest in, one with a timer and maybe a different size as well. Cooking stews and soups so far has been my favorite use of the pot; today I am sharing a modified Thai Chicken recipe.  With this one, you can throw all the ingredients at once in the pot, turn on for 3 to 4 hours and forget about it. My children aren’t huge fans of chicken, but when I added  Once Again Peanut Butter to it, they were  excited to try it, and that alone was a huge win in my house. The sauce for this recipe calls for peanut butter and soy sauce, which really delivered on flavor while keeping the chicken juicy and soft. To speed up my prep time the second time around making this recipe, I used a frozen blend of chopped onions, red peppers, green peppers, celery and parsley, which I added to the cooker while still frozen, and it worked wonderfully. We served it over sprouted brown rice but you can also use noodles when in a rush, since they take much less time to cook. You will have your meal on the table in 15 minutes or so after the slow cooker has done its job. Note this recipe doesn’t have any added salt or oils either! So, it’s perfect for those watching their sodium intake and managing their weight.

I will continue to experiment recipes with my slow cooker, but would love some advice, suggestions and tips for you all out there. Please comment on this blog and I will start working on some new creations combining my new favorite kitchen gadget and our amazing Once Again Nut Butters!

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken - www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)

½ cup chopped green peppers

½ cup chopped red peppers

½ cup chopped onions

¼ cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

½ cup vegetable broth

¼ cup Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon of lime juice

2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

¼ tablespoon of cumin

Place chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker, and then add  chopped peppers, onions, celery and parsley. In separate bowl, using a whisk, mix together  the vegetable broth, soy, peanut butter, lime juice and cumin. Add sauce to slow cooker and set on low for 3-4 hours. At around the 3-hour mark,  remove the chicken, shred it with a fork and return it to the slow cooker for another 30 to 60 minutes.

Slow Cooker Cashew Acorn Squash

Have you ever come across a vegetable, fruit or other foods that were  a bit intimidating to cook?  I certainly have, and still do at times! Professional chefs on cooking shows make it look so easy, but when I get home with a basket full of ingredients, and one of them is something I never worked with before, I know I may need a little help to complete the task. That help may come from watching YouTube videos on how to prep the item, or just a little glass of wine, as I go through the steps of the challenging recipe. In the end, the results are worth the work and make me feel quite accomplished by adding another skill to my cooking repertoire.Slow Cooker Acorn Squash www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Most of you may be quite familiar with winter squashes, but growing up in South America these were not common, and therefore, they still surprise me. For a while, whenever a recipe called for winter squash I would work around it, or substitute  potatoes. Thankfully my store also often sold already peeled and cut up varieties that I could use. But recently I was determined to tackle the squash after seeing a beautiful picture of an acorn squash on the cover of a good food magazine. When cooked whole, with skin, they can be a beautiful centerpiece to your dinner table adding color and aroma as well.

Slow Cooker Acorn Squash www.onceagainnutbutterblog.comThe slow cooker is a great option for cooking squash, pumpkin and potatoes. They reach a high temperature slowly and maintain the necessary heat to soften the hard textures of most winter squashes. “Keeping it simple” is my main approach when it comes to cooking; that’s why you’ll see this recipe only calls for a few ingredients. That’s really all it takes to bring  the earthy flavor of the acorn squash perfectly to your plate.

I should say that safety is first when working with squash. Use a sharp knife, and make sure the blade is always pointed away from your body. Work slowly and on a fixed cutting board. Choose a small to medium squash since those are a bit easier to handle. After washing it well I cut it up into quarters. It wasn’t as difficult as I imagined, but peeling it was out of the question for me. Besides, the presentation of the acorn squash, given the beauty of its the skin, is what makes it look so wonderful on the plate. Clean out the insides of the squash well and wash it again. My kids wanted to plant the seeds to see if we could get more acorn squash, and it has been about 3 weeks, and now we have a few little plants growing! It’s a warm winter in Florida (with temperatures above normal), so I am not sure if we’ll get a good turn out, but I was happy to let them play in the dirt and try to grow some food.

But back to cooking…. I added one tablespoon of cashew butter to each quarter and topped it with the turmeric and salt. I arranged the slices  at the bottom of the slow cooker, after adding just a little over ½ cup of water to the bottom of the cooker. This will help create steam and prevent the acorn squash from sticking to the bottom. The squash  was tender and ready in about 3 hours, and the house smelled amazing! We served it with a grilled salmon fillet and a fresh arugula salad. We ended up with beautiful colors and delicious flavor, and another recipe we are now adding to our meal planners. Next, we will be trying butternut squash!

Here are acorn squash’s nutrient facts: It contains beta-carotene, and is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese. A great addition to your plate!

~Carolina

Slow Cooker Acorn Squash www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Slow Cooker Cashew Acorn Squash

1 medium acorn squash
4 tablespoons of Once Again Nut Butter Cashew Butter
4 teaspoons of turmeric
4 dashes of salt
½ cup water

Wash acorn squash well, cutting off the tips and paring  it into quarters. Clean the inside and wash again. Add a tablespoon of cashew butter to each quarter and spread it evenly. Sprinkle each quarter with a teaspoon of turmeric and a dash of salt. Add the ½ cup of water to the slow cooker, and turn it on to high. Place the acorn squash in the slow cooker with the skin facing down. Arrange the quarters  at the bottom of the cooker and let them  cook for 3 to 4 hours. Check for tenderness to see if ready. Enjoy as a main or side dish!