Friday, November 28, 2014

Asparagus Casserole

I was so excited to learn that Hamilton Beach decided to be a sponsor for us. We have all grown up with their great array of products, some of which I have had in my kitchen for years. If you haven't checked them out lately you really should. They are on the cutting edge of everything you need to make some great recipes from 37 Cooks and your own collection.

I am not sure how long my Dad had been making this for us, but I do know I fell in love with it in my 13th year. That's when I started doing more in the kitchen and was actually encouraged to do so. Dad would only make this at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember having a spoonful and realizing that I really liked the whole she-bang. I was kinda picky back then and would only eat certain things out of casseroles. I was really impressed with MY Dad cooking this!

When I left home and joined the US Air Force, I was initially stationed in the Philippines. That's a long way from Texas, y'all. We were able to use a community kitchen while in the dorms and my first Thanksgiving I wanted to make this for everyone. I called Dad for the recipe. Overseas phone calls aren't any fun when you have delays and start talking at the same time. I missed a lot! I heard canned cheese soup, canned asparagus, boiled eggs, and crackers. I ended up using the wrong crackers and didn't drain the asparagus. It was horrible. All of us ate it, because we cooked our own Thanksgiving feast, but oh my, it WAS horrible.

Years later, I decided I wanted to try this again. After much fiddling around, I decided that you could start with a béchamel, par-boiled asparagus and boiled eggs. But, don't tell my Dad. He thinks I still make it his way! Do not forget the RITZ crackers! That is the only thing I cannot and will not make from scratch!

To save some time, boil your eggs ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you need them. You can also par-boil the asparagus and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Asparagus Casserole
by Traci

8 large eggs boiled, peeled and chopped
3 pounds asparagus, dead ends cut off and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 sleeves of Ritz crackers, crushed

Boil water in a large stock pot. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Boil the asparagus for 2 minutes and then remove the stalks to the ice water. Once cooled, place in a colander, drain well, and set aside.

Cheddar Béchamel
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria Bechamel Sauce

makes 2 cups of sauce

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar
*lemon zest (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over a low-medium heat. Add your flour, whisking gently. Add the milk, a little at a time, to avoid getting lumps.
When all of the milk is added, season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest (if using). Add half the cheese while whisking the whole time. Add the rest of your cheese, stir,  and turn off the heat. Set aside to cool.

Butter the bottom of the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Create layers and add some cracker crumbs, then some asparagus, then egg and top with béchamel. Continue this until you get to end of the béchamel. And add some more cracker crumbs to top it off.

Cook on the low setting for about 4 hours and then the warm setting until you serve. The warm setting is a wonderful feature on this slow cooker. I hope you try this out and all of our recipes at 37 Cooks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Slow Cooker Sourdough Savory French Toast Bites with Caviar

I love fancy hors d’oeuvres for the holidays. The thing about these is they are beautiful, delicious and very easy to make. I had a sit-down dinner for my daughter's 16th birthday and she requested that we pass these before dinner. They were a hit. I hope you enjoy them as well.  

Slow Cooker Sourdough Savory French Toast Bites with Caviar 
by Tracy
Adapted from Savory French Toast in Martha Stewart's Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
Makes 24 hors d’oeuvres

Hamilton Beach Set and Forget  6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker 
Parchment paper
Clean kitchen towel 
1.5 inch round cutter

1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups whole milk
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
16 ounce round loaf sourdough bread
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
3 Tablespoons black caviar
2 Tablespoons chives, minced

Butter the bottom and sides of  the slow cooker. Line the cooker with a large piece of parchment paper and butter the paper. Cut the excess, you do not want parchment hanging out of the slow cooker.  

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the cheese. Slice the ends off of the sourdough and save for another use. Slice the rest of the loaf into four even thick slices. Dip the slices into the batter and place into the bottom of the crock lined with parchment paper. They should fit snugly together and you may have to push them in. There should not be any space left.  

Stir the red pepper into the remaining batter and pour evenly over the bread slices. Place the clean kitchen towel over the top of the crock and place the lid on. Cook on high for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cool in the crock for about 10 minutes and gently lift out the French Toast using the parchment paper. Let cool to room temperature.  With a 1.5 inch round cutter cut out 24 circles. Top each bite with a teaspoon of  yogurt and ½ teaspoon caviar. Sprinkle with chives. Serve.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Liquid Gold, My First Christmas Gift to Myself

Every year we are bombarded with magazine articles, television segments and blog posts about how to consume Thanksgiving leftovers in the days following Thanksgiving. I love those recipes! Look forward to them every year! This is not one of those recipes. This is a recipe of what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers on Thanksgiving Day itself! Too full? Can't imagine it?

How many times have you read about the wonders of homemade stock? Have you ever made it? I do and regularly. I save chicken carcasses and put them in ziplocs in the freezer and I also do the same with my veggie scraps. Until this year, it never occurred to me to use my turkey carcass. And even if you've never saved a veggie scrap in your life, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving the perfect ones are in abundance. Celery, carrots, parsley, and onions are just what you need for good stock.

Even though I normally save my carcasses and scraps and freeze them, why wait? Why bag? Why not just put my turkey carcass directly in my Hamilton BeachSet & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker and let the stock cook overnight? The carcass is just sitting there on Thanksgiving! My friend, Matt Baird, says the best stock comes from bones that have never been frozen, so there ya go! Wisdom right from the mouth of my favorite butcher.

Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Overnight Turkey Stock
by Sandra

1 turkey carcass, in pieces, including leftover skin, meat scraps, pan drippings
Veggie scraps including celery, onion, carrots or other non-starchy scraps
A few springs of parsley
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves

Place all ingredients, besides the water, in the slow cooker.  Add as much water as you can. Set the slow cooker on low. Sleep off the L-tryptophan! You can cook the stock for as little as 10 hours and I've cooked it as long as nearly 24, so cook it for as long as fits in your schedule and until it is a rich, golden color and tastes delicious. Cool the broth down in an ice bath in your kitchen sink (another tip from Matt the Butcher) and then strain the solids and freeze in ziplocs with 2 cups of stock per bag. Lay the bags flat in the freezer to maximize space. Remember to label the bags with the date. If you want to make fat-free broth, after straining away the solids, put the broth in the refrigerator to cool completely. The fat becomes a solid layer on the top. Simply break it up and discard it.

P.S. Are you going away for Thanksgiving dinner this year? You might check in advance with your host, but I know if I had a guest who offered to set up my slow cooker for overnight stock, I'd invite that guest back every year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Are You Afraid of Cooking Lamb?

A lot of people are. Sit down and have a cup of coffee with me and let's bite into a leg of lamb! I have been experimenting with it recently and I'm in love. Some of the best dishes I’ve had have been cooked over long periods of time, so I decided to try it in my new Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker which has a temperature probe. This is a really easy recipe that will result in beautiful slices of mouth-watering, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

Roasted Lamb
by Willie

Boneless leg of lamb

Salt and pepper
1 pot of strong brewed coffee, cooled

Olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh Turkish oregano or 1 Tablespoon dried oregano

Poke holes in the lamb with a skewer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the lamb in a bowl and cover with cooled coffee. Cover. Marinate overnight.

Pat the lamb dry and brown it in olive oil in a hot skillet. Place the lamb in the slow cooker, insert the temperature probe, and set the slow cooker to 145°F
. Set it and forget it! Let rest 5-10 minutes, slice, and serve.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Dressing

Like so many of us, I am gone for many hours each day. With our lovely Houston drive time, I am gone about 11 hours, door to door. When I get home, I am not in the mood to cook dinner. This Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable-Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach is making my life so much easier! I do the prep work the night before and put it in the slow cooker before I leave for work. We also have a single oven. I have fond memories of my double oven at another house. This slow cooker is going be invaluable to me during the holidays. I will be able to make desserts (bread pudding which Mark loves), sides, hot drinks and, of course, more dressing and leave the oven for the big turkey. For this challenge, I roasted a whole fresh chicken and it accompanied the dressing, which was incredible.

Slow Cooker Dressing
by Sharyl
Adapted from this recipe for slow cooker stuffing

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 cups dry bread cubes (I used white bread and dried mine on trays in the oven – 170 degrees, for about an hour)
2 cups chicken broth (or as needed)
2 beaten eggs

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large pot. Add onion and celery and cook until onions are translucent. Stir occasionally. Add the parsley and cook for a few more minutes. Add the poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and stir. Add 1/2 the bread cubes and 2 cups of chicken broth and the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Add rest of bread cubes and mix. Depending on what kind of bread you use and how dry it is, more chicken broth may be required to moisten the dressing. Transfer dressing to slow cooker and cook on high for 45 minutes and low for an additional 4 to 8 hours. Do not clamp the lid in place. The clamps are for transport only. Stir occasionally and add more chicken broth if needed. Heat the chicken broth before adding more. I did not need to add more broth. I wanted the dressing to be moist, but not wet. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hungry Man's Chicken and Vegetables

Hungry Man's Chicken and Vegetables
by Lesia

1 whole young hen
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Caribbean seasoning
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound green beans with ends broken off
3 medium onions, quartered
1 stick salted butter, melted

Mix together broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, Caribbean seasoning, lemon juice, garlic and thyme in a large bowl. Place hen in marinade and coat well, then place hen in a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Layer vegetables around hen beginning with potatoes on the bottom, carrots, green beans and finish with onions on top. Pour butter over top of chicken and vegetables then pour remaining marinade mixture over chicken and vegetables. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 6 hours.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas

The Holiday Season brings many challenges when it comes to getting a good healthy meal on the table. The hustle and bustle can often leave us unmotivated and exhausted. However, it's also the time of year that we have opportunities to gather with friends and family, who head back home to celebrate the season. Our good friends at Hamilton Beach have stepped in to help make life a little easier with their Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. With the help of this slow cooker, entertaining and sharing favorite foods with family and friends will be much easier.

You can also head off to work or the mall and leave the cooking to Hamilton Beach with the convenient programmable mode that will allow you to set the slow cooker on a low or high setting for your desired time. At the end of your cooking time, it will automatically switch over to warm to keep your dish hot until you arrive home and are ready to serve. There are also two other cooking modes. One is by temperature using a probe and the other manually, which I used in preparing my dish.

Check out the other great features at the link above. One of my favorites is the clip lock that secures the lid and allows you to travel with your dish without having to worry about spillage.

Today, I have chosen a dish that comes from my East Texas roots. During the summer months, my extended family and I head to the farm stands and farmer's markets to pick up a bounty of black eyed peas, purple hull peas, cream peas, fresh corn, okra, etc. We purchase large amounts that we freeze and use throughout the fall and winter months. You will find that my Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas is hearty enough for Meatless Monday (omitting the bacon) or will compliment any casual or formal meal.

Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas
by Linda
Adapted from The Kitchen Table cookboook

3 cups frozen purple hull peas (frozen black-eyed peas or other type of field peas will work too)
4 ounces uncured peppered turkey bacon, chopped finely (I used Trader Joe's)
2 cubes of Dorot Crushed Garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carton low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups frozen okra, cut into rounds
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups sweet tri-color peppers, seeded and sliced into rings or strips
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (omit if your bacon is heavily peppered)
1 cup roma tomatoes, sliced

Chopped green onions for garnish

1. Rinse frozen peas and place in slow cooker.

2. Add bacon, garlic and vegetable broth.

3. Manually set slow cooker for 4 hours on the high setting.

4. Two hours into your cooking time add okra, corn, tri-colored peppers, jalapeno, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

5. The last thirty minutes of your cooking time, add tomatoes.

6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

7. Place in serving dish and garnish with green onions.

Serve with your favorite rice and hot green pepper sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For a Cozy Evening

Winter Beef Stew
by Lesia

3 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds stew beef
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup cooking sherry
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cans beef broth
1 package Au Jus mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 bay leaves

Melt butter over medium high heat in large skillet. Add meat and lightly brown on all sides. Place meat in bottom of the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker. Add garlic to remaining butter and juices and cook until aromatic. Add sherry and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside. Place carrots, potatoes, and onions on top of meat in slow cooker then pour juices from skillet over the top. Add tomatoes, sauce, broth, Au Jus mix, and spices. Cover and cook on high heat for 6 hours.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls

Holidays are joyful opportunities to connect with our families and friends, to share a celebratory feast. Holidays are stressful tests of a cook's ingenuity. How can both statements be true? In my kitchen, there's a simple answer: I have only one oven and for big holiday meals, I'd prefer to have two or even three. How else can I manage pies, cookies, a roast, baked vegetable gratin and dinner rolls?

Finally, for the rolls, I've got the answer: Use my slow cooker! I've tested this thoroughly with a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach If you want to have fresh and amazingly good dinner rolls while your oven is in use with something else, these are for you. Cook them while the oven is in use and just before serving, run the rolls under the broiler to brown the tops.

Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls (with or without herbs)
by Maurita

Will make 9 large dinner rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced fresh herbs (optional)
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
Parchment paper
Melted butter

In a mixing bowl stir together water and yeast.

Add herbs, salt, and flour; mix to combine. Don't bother to knead it, just make sure there aren't any streaks of dry flour. The dough will be sticky. Cover dough with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled in size, an hour or more.

Line a large slow cooker with parchment paper and sprinkle it liberally with cornmeal. Punch dough down, and divide it into 9 equal sections. Form each into a ball and distribute evenly in the base of the slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and bake on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Your time for baking may vary. Check the rolls by gently poking the top. They should not feel like wet dough, but they won't be crusty - they'll be set, and not sticky on the tops. Remove from the slow cooker by means of the parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter, and broil until crust is browned.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Spiced and Spiked Apple Cider

After doing a lot of interesting research about glogg, grog, wassail, and mulled wine, I found that there wasn't much consensus as to what the ingredients were for any of those recipes.

Possibly because folks had been dipping into the eggnog.

If you want to call this by some other name, that's perfectly fine with me. Call it Groggy Gloggy Wassail, if you like. I just call it delicious.

I started with apple cider and added flavors I knew I'd like. If I was going to add one more thing, it might be cloves, but at the last moment, I decided to leave them out.

The flavor of this cocktail is reminiscent of apple pie, but the star anise add an interesting twist. It's pretty danged good, if I say so myself.

Hot Spiced & Spiked Apple Cider
by Donna

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup white wine
1 cup rum
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 orange

Put the apple cider, wine, rum, cinnamon sticks, and star anise into your slow cooker I was using the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget programmable slow cooker. Use a peeler to remove the zest of the orange in thin, wide strips. Place the zest in the slow cooker, then juice the orange and add the juice as well.

Cover the slow cooker and set it to high to warm the cider. The longer you cook it, the more the flavors of the spices will infuse into the cider, but it's pretty good as soon as it warms up.

Once it's hot, you might want to turn it down to low or warm if it will be served over a long period of time - you just want it pleasantly warm for drinking, so it doesn't need to be simmering when you serve it.

Leftovers can be strained and refrigerated and served chilled. Or reheat it for more warm drinks on chilly nights.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Slow-Cooker Braised (Caramelized) Onions

What I love about slow cookers is their convenience. My Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is like a magical device that turns raw ingredients into luscious food with almost no work. Let me explain with simple braised (caramelized) onions.

Have you ever caramelized onions on the stovetop? First, you melt butter in a big heavy pan, then you add a bunch of onions, and stand there, stirring and cooking, for an hour or more. Stand there. Stir. Monitor the heat. Check for any signs of burning. Stand there. Stir more.

There's a better way! How about this: Stick of butter, onions, and herbs in your slow cooker. Cook for a couple of hours, stir once, then cook more for hours and hours, blissfully unattended with no worries about burning. This is a better way!

Slow-Cooker Braised (Caramelized) Onions
by Maurita 

Will make 6 cups caramelized onions

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
About 6 pounds large Spanish onions
2-4 Tablespoons fresh thyme

Peel and cut onions in half. Slice the onions about 1/4" thick from "pole to pole" - they'll hold their shape a little better cut this way. Cut the butter into eight pieces and scatter pieces over the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Layer the sliced onions and fresh thyme leaves into the slow cooker. Don't be afraid to completely fill the pot - they will cook down and not spill over.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the onions well, then replace the cover and cook on high at least 6 hours more, until the onions are tender. When the onions are tender, if there is a lot of liquid in the pot, remove the lid and continue to cook on high another hour or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the slow cooker and let the onions sit, uncovered, for an hour to cool.

Transfer to pint jars and store in the refrigerator.

Note: These freeze very well. They have a zillion uses from onion soup to caramelized onion pizza to perfect accompaniments to meatloaf sandwiches to...well, you get the idea. Make a big batch, freeze them in pints, and thaw them as you need them. You won't regret it.

Baked Onion Popper Dip

This recipe is a marriage of two of the most popular dips I make. I have a friend, Mark, who requests Baked Onion Dip whenever we have a gathering. I can't leave home without it.  Many other friends request Popper Dip. Both are yummy mixtures of cheesy goodness, with just a touch of tasty veggies for good measure. You can't go wrong with either dip...and together they are pure heaven! 

If you're having a large gathering, this recipe is the perfect party recipe for you! Once everything is mixed together and bubbling away in the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, you can relax until party time.  You can mix everything ahead of time and set the timer to begin cooking whenever you're ready. Just a quick topping of browned bread crumbs and you're set to entertain! That's the joy of this particular slow cooker. It allows you to get everything prepared and then you can set the timer to begin cooking a couple of hours before the party. The slow cooker does all of the cooking while you get yourself ready or while you enjoy a pre-party cocktail. If you're taking it to go, there are handy clips to keep everything in place! Enjoy!

Baked Onion Popper Dip
by Mary

3 large onions, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon Mexican green chile powder
12 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 6-ounce cans green chiles
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute diced onions in butter over low to medium heat until lightly golden.  Set aside to cool.

Mix the cheeses with the mayonnaise and seasonings in a large bowl.  Add fresh and canned peppers and onions.
Mix until well blended.

Spray crock with cooking spray and put cheese mixture into your Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow CookerSet slow cooker to high and cook for 2 hours, until hot and bubbling. You could also set for low and cook for 3-4 hours.

Before serving, top with browned breadcrumb topping (recipe below.) Serve with tortilla chips.

Breadcrumb Topping:
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in small skillet. Add breadcrumbs and slowly toast until lightly browned. Add grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over dip and serve.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Apple Butter

This is such a great, easy recipe, especially for the fall/winter seasons! I use it on biscuits, English muffins, toast, etc. I even use it as a replacement for jelly in PB&J sandwiches. This is perfect to can in jars and decorate, and make into holiday gifts. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Apple Butter
by Rachael

15 ounce can 100% pure pumpkin
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (I use Gala, since they are great cooking apples) OR 1 cup natural apple sauce
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger

In a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker, stir all ingredients together until well-combined.

Cook on low for 6 hours. If using apple sauce instead of an apple, you may cook for 4 hours instead.

Cool for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.

If using the apple instead of apple sauce, pour the cooled mixture into a blender and lightly blend for a few seconds.

Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Frittata

I'm always looking for an easy, healthy, and TASTY dish for brunch! This slow cooker frittata fills the bill. Perfect with a blueberry muffin and fruit cup.

Slow Cooker Frittata

by Judy

2 Tablespoons olive oil

5 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, sliced 
1/2 cup diced ham
1/4 cup roasted red pepper (from a jar), chopped
5 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
8 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning

Saute spinach, mushrooms, green onions, and ham in a skillet with the olive oil, just until spinach wilts. Spray interior of the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon spinach mixture into slow cooker, add red pepper and Feta, then top with beaten eggs. Sprinkle with Greek seasoning. Set cooker to low setting and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until center no longer looks wet. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tasso Tot Casserole

When I found out that Hamilton Beach was sponsoring our next challenge, I was really excited! Then I was told it was a slow cooker challenge and I was thinking, "what could I cook in a slow cooker that would be very delicious and fun?" The answer was this recipe. This is a great dish to serve at a football party or as an appetizer at a family gathering. This Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker is amazing and it did the job perfectly!

Tasso Tot Casserole
by Luke
Adapted from "Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole" from Tammilee Tips

3/4 pound of ground beef, seasoned to taste
1/2 pound of Smoked Tasso, diced (you can use bacon as a substitute)
1 small white onion, diced
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 bag of Tater Tots
3 cups total of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of sliced jalapenos
1 cup green onions, chopped

Brown the beef, tasso, onions and Rotel tomatoes in a skillet on medium heat. After the meat is browned pour mixture into the slow cooker, then mix the cream of chicken soup into the meat mixture. Top with tater tots, just enough to cover the top, but you can add a little extra if you are a big fan of tater tots. Cook on low for 2.5 hours.

When the slow cooker has 30 minutes remaining, uncover and add cheese, jalapenos, green onions, recover and continue cooking. Once the timer goes off, let it sit for a few minutes to cool, then serve!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Slow-Cooked Spiced Bacon Jam

The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen device to render this savory and sweet condiment into a deliciously decadent spread for your breakfast bagel, English muffin, or toast point appetizer tray at your next holiday soiree. Add a dab to your favorite potato salad, deviled egg, or green bean casserole recipe for a surprising “what’s that?” factor. Yes, bacon makes everything better!

Slow-Cooked Spiced Bacon Jam
by Gary
Adapted from Slow Cooker Bacon Jam by Martha Stewart

Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, cut into small dice
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch Aleppo pepper
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1 Tablespoon bourbon

Special equipment: 6-quart slow cooker, such as this unit from Hamilton Beach

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is slightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted utensil, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon fat from skillet (save for another use); add onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add cloves, Aleppo, vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Add reserved bacon and stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.

To serve, garnish with crisp, crumbled bacon, and slivered green onion if desired.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hamilton Slow Cooker Carne Guisada

This is a dish that I've been cooking on the stove top for many years and I was thrilled when I learned that Hamilton Beach was hosting a slow cooker challenge for 37 Cooks. The recipe converted perfectly to a slow cooker method. Carne Guisada is a staple in Latino cuisine. This is the Dominican version. 

Hamilton Slow Cooker Carne Guisada
by Carlos

3 pounds chuck roast, cut into cubes
1 can Goya tomato sauce
1 packet Goya Sazon with culantro and achiote
1 half cup fresh Sofrito (recipe below) or you can use Goya Frozen Sofrito
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tablespoons Goya Adobo
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup white cooking wine
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 cups beef broth
White rice for serving

Combine all ingredients in a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker and cook on low for 7 hours. Serve with white rice.

2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
12 ajices dulces, tops removed
4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled
1 large bunch cilantro, do not remove stems
12 recao leaves (culantro) - if you can’t find this, just use another large bunch of cilantro
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon pepper

Mix each ingredient, one at a time, into a food processor. Process to a chunky consistency, not watery.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Slow Cooker “Sunday Gravy”

A confession right up front. I am 100% Scot. I happen to live in an area very diversely populated and I feel quite lucky! The Philadelphia area has become a true food mecca. I didn’t start out here. I am from what used to be a fishing community in Maine. We ate tons of fish and seafood. When my family moved here, I was starting high school and a new world of food opened up. My parents were always looking for new ingredients and techniques. As adventurous as they were, we never had Italian food at home and we rarely dined out. Then I went to college and got a job as a cocktail waitress (back in the day…) at an Italian restaurant. That’s where I met Umberto. He was straight off the transport from Italy. He was dreamy and… Ok, let’s move on. Umberto taught me to make classic Caesar salad, and several other Italian favorites. Over the years, I have put my own spin on a few. But, for the most part, I have followed the inspiration offered. “Sunday Gravy” is a term I learned from local “South Philly” folks. The term “gravy” means the tomato sauce is cooked long over low heat. They refer to “sauce” as a quickly cooked or “raw” tomato sauce. I am personally very fond of Sunday Gravy. During the holiday season we are so busy, but we always take time for the family to get together and enjoy a relaxing slow cooked meal. When the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker was delivered, my first thought was to make Sunday Gravy. I did not have to stir the pot every 30 minutes. I could get a few things accomplished. This made history! The result was an incredible, thick, rich, flavorful Sunday Gravy.

Slow Cooker “Sunday Gravy”
by Susan R-H

For the Meatballs:
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons milk or water (I prefer milk)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef/pork/veal (equal parts)
3 large cloves garlic, grated
2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated Italian cheese, I prefer Locatelli.
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

For the Gravy:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, 3” pieces
1 pound hot Italian sausage, 3” pieces
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup red wine, I use whatever good quality I have on hand
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1-2 cups water
1 pound Fettuccini

For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the milk. They will be a bit dry, but that’s perfectly fine. In a large bowl add the meat, garlic, eggs, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. With your hands, mix gently until all ingredients are evenly combined. At this point, I take about a teaspoon amount of the mixture and cook it in a small skillet so I can taste for seasoning. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Using a standard ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, form the meatballs and place on the baking sheet. You should end up with about 12. Bake the meatballs until a firm golden crust forms, approximately 20 minutes. Alternately, you can pan fry the meatballs on all sides until golden brown.

For the Gravy:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage pieces and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Add the onions, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper (optional), salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring constantly, approximately 5-7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and continue to sauté until the wine is absorbed. Transfer to the mixture to the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. In the slow cooker, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water (I started with 1 cup of water.) Set the slow cooker to high for 7 hours. Before you add the meatballs and sausage, it’s important to taste for seasoning. I found I needed to add a pinch more salt. Add the meatballs and sausage. To get the rich delightful Sunday Gravy I love, it was a relaxing 7 hours! If you like it a little thinner, add a bit more water about 4-5 hours in.

Once the gravy has completed the slow cooker journey, bring a large pot to water to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. I purchased fresh pasta and it was done in two minutes. I tossed the pasta with a ladle of gravy and plated with the meatballs and sausage, then topped with more gravy. A little added grated cheese was the only finishing touch we needed. Manga!

***Cook’s Note: Many people feel there is too much acid in a tomato-based sauce. I have heard many Italian cooks add sugar or a carrot while cooking. Umberto told me to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the pot to neutralize the acid and I have been doing that for almost…years. It works! Umberto and I were great friends and when he decided to return to Italy, I was grateful he thought enough of my dedication to his Italian food heritage to share some of his family recipes with me.