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Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers: Easy, Family-Friendly Recipes from Scratch
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Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers: Easy, Family-Friendly Recipes from Scratch

by Samantha Skaggs
 

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Incredible Family-Friendly Recipes that Skip Processed Ingredients and Extensive Directions

Feel good about what you’re feeding your family with easy and flavorful Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers. Working adults and busy parents can attest to the appeal of slow cookers: simply pile in your ingredients, set the timer and walk away. While

Overview

Incredible Family-Friendly Recipes that Skip Processed Ingredients and Extensive Directions

Feel good about what you’re feeding your family with easy and flavorful Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers. Working adults and busy parents can attest to the appeal of slow cookers: simply pile in your ingredients, set the timer and walk away. While it’s easy, more people are becoming conscious of the processed foods in their diets and choosing to avoid traditional slow cooker meals.

Reclaim the slow cooker and set it free from processed ingredients with Samantha Skaggs’ help. Samantha shows you how to expand your slow cooker’s horizons and make dishes like Cran-Cherry Glazed Ham, Cheesy Spinach Lasagna and Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs—ones you never thought were possible in a slow cooker. Samantha also reinvents beloved slow cooker dinnertime classics like Shepherd’s Pie, Cheeseburger Macaroni and Comforting Pot Roast without the canned cream soups and dry gravy packets, and shows readers a wide range of tips and techniques to use real food ingredients instead. With 80 recipes, each accompanied by a mouthwatering photograph, you can be sure your family will have scrumptious real food dinners any night of the week.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“My slow cooker is now going to be plugged in and working full-time, thanks to Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers! Samantha has created 80 family-friendly slow cooker recipes that are so beautifully photographed, every turn of the page in this cookbook has me drooling and saying, ‘I want to make this as soon as I possibly can!’” —Martha Pesa, AFamilyFeast.com

“Finally, REAL food in the slow cooker! Samantha has applied her amazing recipe development skills to finally get us back to those slow cooked meals we love, minus the packaged stuff. A must-have for my kitchen and my family!” —Karen Gifford, TheFoodCharlatan.com

“Thanks to Samantha’s transformation of classic comfort foods into fresh and flavorful meals using real ingredients, I cannot wait to cook every recipe in this book! There’s nothing more satisfying than homecooked meals that fit easily into my family’s busy schedule.” —Lauren Allen, TastesBetterFromScratch.com

“Samantha has written a cookbook that’s a life-saver for busy parents trying to provide real food meal solutions for their families. With her beautiful photography and family-friendly recipes, she’ll have you excited about meal planning again!” —Julie Clark, TastesOfLizzyT.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781624142659
Publisher:
Page Street Publishing
Publication date:
10/11/2016
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
68,764
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers

Easy, Family-Friendly Recipes from Scratch


By Samantha Skaggs

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2016 Samantha Skaggs
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-280-2



CHAPTER 1

DINNERTIME CLASSICS


Fourteen Classic Recipes Made Over for the Better

When the concept for this cookbook was conceived, I thought it would be fun to take a variety of classic main dish recipes and see if I could convert them to the slow cooker. In some cases, these recipes already existed in slow cooker land, but they were rife with canned condensed soups and store-bought seasoning packets, and I was determined to convert them to dishes that relied on real-food ingredients instead.

So in this chapter, you get the classics. If beef is your thing, there's fall-apart Comforting Pot Roast in a flavorful gravy with root veggies. I'm pretty sure my kids could happily eat Cheeseburger Macaroni every single night. Hearty Beef Ragu over creamy polenta is Italian comfort food at its finest. And did you know that you can even make tender, homemade Swedish Meatballs in the slow cooker?

Chicken options are as American as Barbecue-Sauce Chicken Thighs. But this popular poultry also takes on an ethnic spin, from Asian-inspired Cashew Chicken to Indian Butter Chicken to Paella, which also features sausage and shrimp.

And for the pork lovers out there, there are simple, effective tips to ensure that your Marinated Pork Chops and Potatoes turn out tender and juicy. So what are you waiting for? Break out the slow cooker and serve up a classic tonight!


COMFORTING POT ROAST

When it comes to a stick-to-your-ribs, meat-and-potatoes kind of meal, it's hard to beat the humble pot roast. Juicy, tender beef, flavorful gravy, fall-apart veggies ... nope, it never gets old. Some people feel obliged to sear their roast before popping it into the slow cooker, and while you can certainly do that with this recipe should you so desire, I honestly don't think it's necessary. There are plenty of herbs, spices and natural flavorings here to give your pot roast amazing flavor without the extra step, time and dirty pot of searing. As for the gravy? It's so good, I made sure there's plenty, which comes in handy for reheating any leftovers. Or drowning the potatoes on your plate. Or slurping it up with a spoon

YIELD: 6 SERVINGS

1 ½ tbsp (18 g) House Seasoning
2 tsp (2 g) dried parsley
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp dried sage
3 ½ to 4 lb (1.6 to 1.8 kg) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb (910 kg) small red potatoes, unpeeled and left whole (or cut into chunks if using larger potatoes)
1 lb (455 g) baby carrots
2 cups (480 ml) low-sodium beef broth
2 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp (17 g) tomato paste
2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch plus 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a small bowl, combine the House Seasoning, parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. Season the roast by evenly sprinkling both sides with the herb mixture and rubbing it into the meat. Place the seasoned roast in a large slow cooker and arrange the garlic, potatoes and carrots around it and on top.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and pour over the contents of the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 5 to 6 hours, until the roast and vegetables are tender.

Transfer the roast and the vegetables to a serving platter; cover them with foil to keep them warm. Use a large spoon to skim excess fat from the surface of the pan juices in the slow cooker, then strain the pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the pan juices to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and the water until smooth. Continuously whisk the pan juices in the saucepan while slowly pouring in the cornstarch slurry. Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the gravy is thickened. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it over the roast and vegetables.


TERIYAKI CHICKEN BREASTS

This Asian-inspired chicken dish gets loads of flavor from a glossy homemade teriyaki sauce. It's important to use bone-in chicken breasts in this recipe to prevent the delicate white meat from drying out. That being said, if you must use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, be sure to check them early as they will cook through more quickly, taking anywhere from two to four hours. You may also substitute bone-in chicken thighs for the breasts, keeping in mind that they may take slightly longer to cook. Regardless of your choice of chicken, I recommend serving this sweet and savory meal over rice to soak up that delectable teriyaki sauce with a big green salad on the side for a complete, simple, scrumptious meal.

YIELD: 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

2 ½ to 3 lb (1.1 to 1.4 kg) bone-in
chicken breasts or thighs, skin removed and trimmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (19 g) minced fresh ginger
½ cup (120 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup (120 ml) honey
3 tbsp (45 ml) rice vinegar
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
¼ to ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp (24 g) cornstarch plus 3 tbsp (45 ml) water
Chopped green onions, optional, for serving
Sesame seeds, optional, for serving


Place the chicken breasts in a large slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, water and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until the chicken is cooked through but not dry.

Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate, and tent it with foil to keep it warm. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and the water until smooth and set aside. Pour the liquids from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk the sauce continuously while slowly pouring in the cornstarch slurry. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and glossy. Pour the sauce over the chicken to coat it and serve leftover sauce on the side along with the green onions and sesame seeds.


BEEF RAGU

Italian comfort food can take many forms, but rich, beefy ragu is right on up there with the best! After the roast becomes deliciously tender, it's as simple as pulling it apart and mixing it into the glorious sauce. The type of canned tomatoes you use in this recipe can affect the final outcome, so I highly recommend San Marzanos if you can find them. The grated carrot in this dish naturally counters any excessive acidity from whatever kind of tomatoes you use, but if your sauce still seems a tad too acidic by the time it's done, you can stir in a bit of sugar, ½ teaspoon at a time, until it tastes just right. Be sure to adjust the salt at the end as well to really make the flavors pop, and if you'd like a little kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. And while a bed of pasta makes a fabulous foundation for this ragu, I think it's particularly lovely served over a bowl of creamy polenta.

YIELD: 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ to 3 lb (1.1 to 1.4 kg) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed
1 tbsp (12 g) House Seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (28-oz [794-g]) can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 cup (240 ml) low-sodium beef broth
3 tbsp (50 g) tomato paste
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp (9 g) minced fresh rosemary or
2 tsp (3 g) dried rosemary
1 ½ tsp (1 g) dried thyme
1 ½ tsp (1 g) dried oregano
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 cup (160 g) uncooked polenta (Italian corn grits), prepared to a creamy
consistency according to the package directions
Freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving
Minced fresh parsley, for serving


Scatter the onions and garlic in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Sprinkle both sides of the roast with House Seasoning and pepper and lay the roast on top of the onions and garlic.

In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, tomato paste, carrot, red wine vinegar, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt and additional pepper. Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the roast. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the beef is very tender.

Use a large spoon to skim the fat from the surface of the sauce in the slow cooker. Use 2 forks to shred the beef directly in the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, cover the slow cooker once more and cook on low for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve the ragu over the polenta, garnished with a generous amount of Parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.


SWEDISH MEATBALLS

If you've ever visited a certain large, Swedish, rat maze–like furniture store, you're probably already familiar with this next recipe. Tender and perfectly seasoned in a creamy, sour cream–kissed gravy, these meatballs are the epitome of a family-pleasing supper. Need even more reasons to make them at home? Well, not only are they easy to whip up in the slow cooker, but your dining table presumably exudes a more refined ambiance than a crowded, noisy food court. For an extra-special touch, serve your meatballs with a spoonful of lingonberry jam on the side!

YIELD: 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

SWEDISH MEATBALLS

2 lb (910 g) lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
1 cup (120 g) unseasoned dried or fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (6 g) salt
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


GRAVY

3 cups (720 ml) low-sodium beef broth
¼ cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp (12 g) House Seasoning
1/3 cup (70 g) sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Minced fresh parsley, for serving
Lingonberry jam, for serving


In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, salt, onion powder, allspice, nutmeg and pepper. Form the ground beef mixture into 24 equally sized meatballs. Arrange a layer of meatballs in the bottom of a large slow cooker, and add the remaining meatballs in a second layer on top.

In another large bowl, whisk together the beef broth, flour, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and House Seasoning. Evenly pour this mixture over the meatballs in the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through yet still tender. Homemade meatballs cooked in the slow cooker may still look slightly pink in the center even after they are fully cooked, but they are safe to eat once they have reached an internal temperature of 160 °F (74 °C) — see here for a more detailed explanation.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs to a platter; cover the platter to keep the meatballs warm. Skim the fat from the surface of the gravy in the slow cooker. Measure the sour cream into a medium bowl and temper it to prevent curdling by spooning some warm gravy from the slow cooker into the sour cream and stirring well. Add more gravy to the sour cream and stir again. Repeat this process several times to gradually bring up the temperature of the sour cream. Once the sour cream is warm, pour it back into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning of the gravy with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Add the meatballs back to the slow cooker and stir to coat them with gravy. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the meatballs with the parsley and serve them with the lingonberry jam.


Samantha's Tip

To make 24 equally sized meatballs, smooth the top of the ground beef mixture in the bowl and then use a butter knife to divide it into 8 equal "slices," like a pie. Then scoop out each triangle and pinch it into 3 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into meatballs, taking care not to overwork the ground beef mixture or pack the meatballs too tightly or they won't be tender.


CASHEW CHICKEN

Are you as obsessed with cashews as I am? If so, the next time you get a hankering for Chinese takeout, skip the fried stuff and the MSG by whipping up this effortless Cashew Chicken in the slow cooker instead. Atop a fluffy bed of rice with steamed veggies on the side, it's an easy, delicious way to enjoy Asian flavors (and lots of cashews!) at home.

YIELD: 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

2 lb (910 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch (4-cm) cubes
¾ cup (180 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp (45 ml) oyster sauce (preferably MSG-free)
3 tbsp (45 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
1 tbsp (15 ml) medium-dry or dry sherry, optional
1 ½ tsp (8 ml) cold-pressed or toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp (10 g) minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp (24 g) cornstarch plus 3 tbsp (45 ml) water
1 ½ cups (167 g) roasted unsalted whole cashews, plus more for serving
Hot cooked rice, for serving


Place the chicken cubes in a large slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey, sherry, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir until the chicken is evenly coated. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 ½ to 5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender but not dry or falling apart — keep in mind that chicken breasts cook quicker than chicken thighs.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and the water until smooth. Gently stir the cornstarch slurry into the slow cooker, breaking up any chicken pieces that are stuck together. Add the cashews. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 15 to 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Serve over the rice and garnish with additional cashews, if desired.


JAMBALAYA

If you think you can handle the heat, jambalaya is a rice-based recipe with several key ingredients in common with Spanish paella — but its flavors and spice level result in a decidedly different dish! This rendition incorporates the "holy trinity" of Louisiana cuisine: onions, celery and bell pepper. But thanks to the inclusion of tomatoes, it leans more toward a Creole influence as opposed to a Cajun one.

YIELD: 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

1 ½ lb (680 g) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and trimmed
12 oz (340 g) andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) thick slices
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-oz [411-g]) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 tbsp (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp (12 g) House Seasoning
1 tbsp (12 g) Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's brand)
1 tbsp (3 g) dried thyme
1 tsp (1 g) dried oregano
2 dried bay leaves
2 cups (480 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (211 g) uncooked long-grain white rice
½ lb (227 g) medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional


Combine the chicken thighs, andouille sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, House Seasoning, Creole seasoning, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and chicken broth in a large slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.

Discard the bay leaves, transfer the chicken to a plate and stir the rice into the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the rice is done, watching closely, stirring halfway through, and adding a splash more water or broth only if all of the liquid gets soaked up too soon and the rice is about to start burning.

While the rice is cooking, pull the chicken meat off the bones and keep it warm. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Drain the shrimp and stir them and the chicken into the slow cooker as soon as the rice is done cooking. Turn off the slow cooker, adjust the seasonings with the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using) to taste and serve immediately.


MARINATED PORK CHOPS AND POTATOES

Cooking pork chops in the slow cooker can be tricky since pork chops, like chicken breasts, are prone to drying out quickly. The secret is to buy the right kind of pork chop, and to be honest, it's not always easy to find. So if you don't see blade-cut pork chops in the meat case, ask your butcher to cut some for you, at least 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick. These chops are fattier, coming from near the shoulder of the pig, so they hold up better in the slow cooker.

The marinating in this recipe ensures flavorful chops, but it's up to you as to whether you'd like them to turn out juicy and medium (use a thermometer to ensure that you've reached a safe internal temperature) or tender and well done. Keep in mind that if you go for juicy chops with a short cooking time, your potatoes may not be completely tender in that amount of time. So be sure to slice them as thinly as possible to begin with, and if they're still a little too firm when the pork chops are done, return the potatoes to the slow cooker with a splash of broth, cover the slow cooker and cook the potatoes on high while you make the gravy and the pork chops rest.

YIELD: 4 SERVINGS

4 (1-inch [2.5-cm]) thick bone-in, blade-cut pork chops (about 2 to 2 ½ lb [910 g to 1.1 kg] total)
½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp (30 ml) honey
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp (9 g) Italian Seasoning, plus more for potatoes
1 ½ lb (680 g) red potatoes, cut into 1/8- to
¼-inch (3- to 6-mm) thick slices
House Seasoning, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup (120 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, plus more for gravy
1 ½ tbsp (12 g) cornstarch plus 2 tbsp (30 ml) water


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers by Samantha Skaggs. Copyright © 2016 Samantha Skaggs. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Samantha Skaggs is the founder, recipe developer and photographer of the blog FiveHeartHome.com. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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