|The slow cooker can be a Christmas cook’s best friend if they know how to use it creatively.
I have unique ideas to save oodles of time using a slow cooker such as:
*Use heavy-duty foil to make what I call a pocket pouch so you can cook separate recipes in one slow cooker without the ingredients blending together. Using a large slow cooker, make your sweet potato casserole (Mashed Yams with An Orange Kiss) in the bottom of the slow cooker, then press a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and make your Warm Cranberry-Apple Salad inside the foil bowl. Fold the ingredients inside the foil like a pocket. Make a third pocket pouch using heavy-duty foil and cook your Green Bean Delight on top of the other two side dishes. Presto, you have used one slow cooker to cook 3 items! Throw away the foil after pouring the recipes in to their own separate serving bowls and you only have one cooking item to clean! Don't you love it!
- Use the slow cooker to free up the stove and oven to cook other items.
- Slow cookers are also great for keeping foods warm, such as the stuffing, green bean
casserole, yam casserole, etc.
- Slow cookers can be plugged in throughout the house (not only in the kitchen) to free up space for small kitchens.
- Take 2 rubber bands and using only one rubber band at a time wrap the rubber band around one handle of the slow cooker up to the knob on the lid of the slow cooker. Do the same thing to the other side. Presto! Your slow cooker lid will stay firmly secure while you travel to your Christmas dinner destination.
- To help prevent burning while transporting your slow cooker full of hot food wrap the entire slow cooker in a bath towel.
- Spray the inside of your slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray for faster clean up.
May the reason for this holy holiday season be with you throughout this festive time of year as you enjoy friends, family and love.
By using a large slow cooker you can make all three of these recipes following my pocket pouch idea. Make the Mashed Yams with an Orange Kiss recipe in the bottom of the slow cooker, the Warm Cranberry Apple Salad recipe in a middle pocket pouch made with heavy –duty foil and the Green Bean Delight recipe in a third pocket pouch put on top. Once all three recipes are neatly stacked in the slow cooker, cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
Once finished cooking simply put each recipe into its own pretty serving bowl.
Note: The bottom the pocket pouch foil of the Warm Cranberry Apple Salad will get a little messy being sat on top of the yams, but it is a small inconvenience compared to the over all ease of cooking these 3 recipes together at once in one slow cooker.
Mashed Yams with an Orange Kiss
The orange juice with the pumpkin pie spice gives this dish an excellent flavor.
2 (40-ounce) cans yams, drained
4 ounces Egg Beaters
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fat-free margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• Spray a slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray.
• Mash the yams in the bottom of the slow cooker.
• Add the Egg Beaters, fat-free margarine, brown sugar, and pumpkin spice and mix well with the mixer for about 1 minute.
• Cover and cook on low for 6 hours; or if desired use the following recipes and stack the other recipes made inside of a heavy-duty foil pocket pouch on top of this recipe to cook multiple side dishes in one slow cooker.
Yield: 14 (1/2-cup) servings
Calories: 189,Fat: 0 grams (0% fat), Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbohydrate: 43g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 4g, Sodium: 191mg
Warm Cranberry Apple Salad
A terrific substitute for the traditional cranberries served during the holidays.
1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
1(16-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
• Spray a slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray (or the inside of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil if you are going to make a pocket pouch).
• When you open the can of apple pie filling, insert a sharp knife into the can and cut the apples into small pieces.
• In the slow cooker 9or pocket pouch) mix together the apple pie filling, cranberry sauce, and cinnamon. (If making a pocket pouch fold up the foil to secure the cranberry-apple salad inside the pouch and place the foil pocket pouch on top of the yams).
• Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
Yield: 8 (1/2-cup) servings
Calories: 157, Fat: 0 grams (0% fat), Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbohydrate: 41g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 0g, Sodium: 45mg
Green Bean Delight
This is one of my favorite ways to prepare green beans.
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup liquid Butter Buds
8 ounces lean ham, diced
3 (15 1/2-ounce) cans French-style green beans, drained
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon light salt, optional
• Spray a slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray.
• In the slow cooker (or a heavy duty piece of aluminum foil if you are going to make a pocket pouch) mix together the onion, mushrooms, Butter Buds, ham, green beans, honey, and salt.
• Cover and cook on low for 4 to 8 hours.
Yield: 15 (1/2-cup) servings,
Calories: 56, Fat: 1 gram (12% fat), Cholesterol: 5mg, Carbohydrate: 9g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 5g, Sodium: 376mg
Dawn Hall is an inspirational speaker and author of the award winning Busy People’s Cookbook Series including: Busy People’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, Busy People’s Low-Fat Cookbook, Busy People’s Down Home Cooking Without the Down Home Fat Cookbook and the inspirational book: Comfort Food For Your Soul. She is the host of Cooking for Busy People aired Sunday at 2 PM on WLMB-TV Channel