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CROCK-POTS & SLOW COOKERS
Dutch wrote the following in an email to our List in 2004:
"Sometimes it amazes me how oblivious to the obvious we can often be!!
After my 1994 radiation, total upper and lower molar extractions, and laryngectomy, I, like many others, had problems chewing and swallowing various foods, especially pork and beef. I probably spent most of 1994 and 1995 trying to figure out what I could consistently chew, swallow, and eat comfortably. I gradually adjusted and have maintained a relatively varied and satisfying diet since that time.
Then, in June 2004, a "brainstorm" hit me ... but almost 10 years LATE!! I remembered the old crock pot my ex-wife used back in the 1980's ... and how TENDER the meats prepared that way were. On a lark, I ordered one from Amazon.com ... a Rival Oval 3.5 Quart Crock*Pot Slow Cooker (about $25.00). (They come in MANY sizes.) Having now used it quite a bit, I cannot believe I did not think of this "solution" earlier!! A severe case of the "Stupids"!!
Thus far, using a good crock-pot cookbook and recipes available on the Internet at Crock-Pot, I have prepared some marvelous, tasty, tender, and chewable and swallowable meals, to include pork ribs, beef short ribs, pork chops, pork loins, round steak dishes, beef roast dishes, venison entrees, and yes, even slow-cooked NY Strip and Sirloin steaks!! Invariably, meats prepared this way simply "melt in your mouth" - are easily chewed and swallowed -- and are VERY moist and tasty, too!
I SHOULD have been using this cooking method since 1994 ... but, for some unknown reason, it did not even occur to me until 10 years later. Probably most of you were smarter than I and figured this out already, but at the risk of stating the obvious, if you are NOT using one, I would highly recommend that you start NOW. You will NOT regret it!!
Preparation is easy, too. You spend about 10-15 minutes in the morning preparing the meat and the "ingredients", adding them to the "pot", and then turning it on LOW. Then, 6-8 hours later, you simply serve and eat and ENJOY!
So .. if you are one of the many of us who have problems chewing and swallowing MEATS, a modest investment in a Crock Pot may well be the answer to your prayers!! Happy eating to all!"
Below are comments From various WW Members:
* Found your post on the use of a crock pot very interesting, possibly offering a welcome solution to a problem that I, among other larys I'm sure, have to deal with daily: getting through dinner. I had my laryngectomy in 1998, had my lower teeth removed pre-radiation, went through the usual eating trial and error eating struggles. At present, my dinner fare is pretty much limited to Smart Ones Angel Hair marinara (cut up very fine and with the marinara/solid parts removed) or perhaps some other TV dinner run through the food processor; I chose Smart Ones not for any brand recognition or loyalty, but because it was the most palatable of any of the things I tried. In any event, your email on the use of the crock offers a ray of hope.
* Amazing how few have found the advantage of the simple crock pot! I am the care-giver, but he is the cook, and I have always had trouble with my dentures, so he has always made sure I could eat properly. Simply best way to get full nutrition. We have been using one for 14 years or more, and so handy when too busy or out all day as it is ready when you get home, hot and ready to serve! He also tenderizes my steak by simmering in the gravy for an hour or so, long enough to make easy to eat, without losing the flavor.
* OK Dutch - you came up with another winner! I dug deep under shelves and found that I had not actually tossed out the crock pot with the advent of the microwave. However, the recipe book for same didn't make the cut. I will look on line to see if I can find one, or something under recipes.
* I will have to take my crock pot out and start using it again, but your idea will just make me fatter. The crock pot idea sounds good. You can also cook pork chops for over an hour in a little liquid covered in the oven and have the same sort of effect. I love to cook and will have to put some recipes on the website. Cooking chicken on really low heat with some cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and maybe even some bacon wrapped around each piece is another great way to taste meat again. Beef is really one of my favorite foods, so I think I'll find a brisket crock pot recipe to put on the site.
* Thanks for reminding all of us of the obvious. I actually have TWO crock pots left over from whenever they were popular and NEVER thought to use them. In 2002 I had tonsil cancer after being cancer free for twenty-six years. I, too, had radiation, extraction of my molars, a dry and sore mouth, have lost 60 pounds (which didn't bother me a bit), and have a terrible time chewing meats to the point that I've just about given up on them. I know, though, that I don't need to continue to lose weight, so I will drag out the trusty old crock pot and put it to use.
* Being single been using one for years, even before becoming a lary. Several months ago I was watching Emeril Live and he cooked with Stovetop Smoker. I went on the internet and found one. It works great. If you like ribs, brisket etc smoking is the cats meow. The food also comes out tender and you get that smoked flavor. I do the cooking for the lodge here and have used it a few times for that and they wouldn't believe there was such a thing until I showed it to them. What I also like about the slow cooker and the smoker I can make large quantities and what I don't eat then I freeze and use later.
* I just finished reading your post and I immediately went into my kitchen and sure enough there was the Rival Crock Pot. I have been on a liquid diet for nearly two years (Boost Plus, 4 to 5 cans daily) but I hope after I get past several other medical problems that I will get some new mini-dental transplants and soon have some dentures that I can use to start eating again. Thanks for sharing this info. I'm sure there are many others who like me will benefit.
(E.C. "Sam" Beights)
* I made a trip to Wal-Mart and bought a Rival 3 quart pot for $15.00 and (as I write), am cooking a nice little pork roast with vegetables and herbs from the garden for my husband and myself.
* Don't get crocked any more but I sure do like to eat! I am single and I don't own a crock pot. I do have a really nice 12 inch skillet with a tight fitting lid. This works great for us single guys! What I like to do is burn (well, brown 'em good) some pork chops then fill with water and add potatoes and carrots and let it all cook till the potatoes are done. I like to season with lemon pepper and cayenne pepper. If you own a dog get the chops with bones, They like to eat also!
* I, too, use a crock pot. I had the large one and that was just too big for a single (old) lady. I purchased a little one ($10.00). Oh yes, now what can I cook in a little one? Well I experimented and found that a thick steak can be cut in half and cooked as you would a pot roast (yum). A cook book comes with the pot and I even make a one person meat loaf that does me for two days. My pot is the little Rival , makes enough for one person and the meat is tender and easy to swallow. Beans are good in it; soup, too. Everything is tender and tasty. We Larys like taste but it must be easy for us to swallow.
* Now that everyone is hungry, don't forget about the old tried and true cast iron Dutch oven. To get lots of recipes go to Lodge Manufacturing or Dutch Oven Recipes. Everyone be careful or we will be having a lary chapter of weight watchers.
* The Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker loses less water than others -- a great advantage in keeping vitamins and natural liquids in -- and speeding up the cooking time.
Example: Large artichokes. Two tablespoons of water, six minutes later -- perfectly cooked artichokes.
Example: Oat meal in 5 minutes, not soggy.
Example: A pot of dry mixed beans cooked in proper amount of broth -- bean soup in half an hour.
Example: Pot roast with carrots, onions, cabbage beef -- cut with a spoon tender in 15 -20 minutes.
The only thing the Wisconsin aluminum factory sets have over this is they are no-gasket heirlooms for generations -- The Kuhn Rikon 7-Liter Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker has a gasket of a silicone type rubber and the 7 liter size is perfect for small to medium meals. How about perfectly cooked baking potatoes in 5 minutes? -- better than microwave -- and they retain more of their nutrients. Hint: the ones with the full handle are easier to lift off the stove and manage better overall -- the small handles are OK, but they make pouring or manipulating more difficult.
* I received a cook book, Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes, from a friend, that has many nice recipes for all types of food. You can even make breads and cakes and don't forget the baked apples. I can't smell so she thought it would be a good idea to use the slow cooker instead of burning down the house.
* I am definitely from the pressure cooker school. My mother used hers to cook beans and soups and I have carried on the tradition and also use my pressure cooker to cook corn on the cob and pot roasts. I have a link to share if you are brave enough to get out the pressure cooker and try: http://missvickie.com/index.html Word to the wise... If you decide to try out the pressure cooker after having it in storage for years, be sure to replace the gasket and over-pressure plug. Rubber has a way of drying out and cracking with time.
A good cast iron skillet or Dutch oven is also good for slow cooking food. Just remember if you want tender meat, no matter what the cooking method, you need to keep the meat moist. I use my skillet to make stir fried veggies, and then steam them until they are limp so my "Larry" hubby can chew and swallow them. (He has no teeth or dentures at the moment.)
(1) PORK RIBS IN SLOW COOKER
3 1/2 lb pork ribs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tsp pepper
3 TBsp liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic
1 Tsp salt
1 med onion sliced
1/2 cup Coca Cola
1 1/2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce
Spray inside of cooker with Pam. Remove inner skin from ribs. Mix brown sugar, pepper, liquid smoke, garlic and salt. Rub mixture into ribs. Cut ribs into 4 rib pieces. Layer ribs and onion in cooker. Pour cola over ribs. Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours or until tender. Remove from cooker and discard liquid. Pour BBQ sauce into shallow bowl and dip ribs into sauce. Put ribs back in cooker and cook on low for 1 hour. If you have your own dry rub use it instead of the above. Keith Jankow
(2) PORK CHOPS & POTATOES
4 boneless loin pork chops
2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and thick sliced, then slices quartered
1 medium onion, sliced
1 can, cream of mushroom soup
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place onions and potatoes in bottom of crock-pot, then top with the chops. Salt and Pepper to taste and pour the soup over the chops. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (4-5 hours on HIGH).
(3) CROCK-POT PORK ROAST
3-4 lb Pork Roast
Salt and Pepper
1 cup of chopped fresh cranberries OR 1 cup of whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup of honey
1 Tsp grated orange peel
1/4 Tsp ground cloves
1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper, place in crock-pot. Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.
(4) ELEGANT STRIP STEAK ROAST
2 medium size NY Strip Steaks
1/4 cup Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces Beef Gravy
2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Toss steaks in flour, salt, pepper mixture and then lightly brown in frying pan over medium heat. Place browned steaks in crock-pot . Add chopped onion, gravy and Worcestershire Sauce. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
(5) BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS
4 Tbsp Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Ground Seasoned Pepper
2-3 lbs Beef Short Ribs
2 Tbsp Olive Oil/Cooking Oil
1 medium sliced onion
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp dry mustard
1/2 Tsp chili powder
1/4 cup water
In small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp flour, salt and pepper .. mix, then coat short ribs with the mixture. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown short ribs in the oil. In the crock-pot, combine onions, wine, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly. Transfer ribs from skillet to cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 - 8 hours. At the end, remove ribs, turn cooker to HIGH. Mix remaining 2 Tbsp flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir into the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened ... pour over ribs to serve.
(6) CHICKEN BREASTS EDEN ISLE
(served at the Red Apple Inn, an Arkansas resort, and devised by my grandmother) (serves 6, but I have made it for 4; this recipe can be altered). 6 halved chicken breasts, boned and skinned; 6 slices of bacon. Wrap one slice of bacon around each breast and secure with a toothpick (or use less bacon if you want to save calories) and put them in the bottom of the dish or otherwise place close together. Mix all ingredients and place on top of chicken, 1 or 2 cans cream of chicken soup (I use less for 4 and the larger amount for 6+ servings); 1 cup sour cream; 1 package cream cheese, softened (recipe never says 3 oz. or 8 oz, so I just go with 3 oz.); Pepper to taste but do NOT salt chicken breasts. Cover baking dish with foil or lid. Place in 325 degree oven for two hours. The long, slow cooking period is what makes them so tender. If cooking in a Crockpot, I would suggest cooking on low all day (8 hours). Serve on a bed of rice, if desired.
(7) BEEF & BEER
Take a beef roast
Brown gravy packet
Onion soup packet
One 24 oz Budweiser beer
Put all in Crock pot on low for 5-6 hours and it will melt in your mouth and you don't taste the beer when it is done cooking. A friend of mine shared this with me and I never cook a roast any other way now. Enjoy.
(8) BLACK FOREST POT ROAST
3-4 lb. boneless chuck or round roast
1 medium onion - chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup button mushrooms - sliced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1 clove garlic - crushed
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
Lightly brown roast on all sides in skillet, then place in slow cooker. In small bowl, combine onion, water, mushrooms, ketchup, wine, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic. (You can pre-sautee the onions and mushrooms first, if you wish) Pour mixture over roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Remove meat and slice - keep meat warm. Turn cooker to HIGH, dissolve cornstarch in water, stir into cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 15-20 minutes until thickened. Serve sauce with meat ... is GREAT served over rice!
(9) SMOTHERED ROUND STEAK
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. round steak, cut into strips (about 1/2" x 3", as a guide)
1/2 Tsp seasoned pepper
1 green pepper - sliced
1 16 oz. can of tomatoes
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup flour
1 Tsp salt
1 large onion - sliced
1 4 oz can mushrooms - drained
1 10 oz package of french cut frozen green beans
Put steak strips, flour, salt, and pepper in crock-pot. Stir well to coat steak strips. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Serve with rice.
(10) RED BEANS AND SMOKED PORK CHOPS
2 cans of red beans
1 Tbsp Zatarain's Creole Seasoning
1 large onion - chopped
1 green bell pepper - chopped
1 red bell pepper - chopped
4 boneless smoked pork chops - diced into bite-sized squares.
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/4 cup water
Add all to crock-pot, stir thoroughly, and cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Serve over white, brown, or wild rice.
(11) CORNED BEEF IN BEER
6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 3 - 4 pound corned beef brisket
3 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup beer
Put potatoes, onions and carrots in cooker. Trim excess fat off meat and place top of vegetables. Pour beer over all, cover and cook on low-heat 9-11 hours. Slice beef thinly across grain. And serve with vegetables.
There are a lot of good beef stew recipes out there. But for something a little different coat your meat with flour mixed with salt and pepper and brown your meat in Olive Oil instead of vegetable oil. Then put into crockpot and add a little garlic.
(12) POTATO SOUP (Check Soup category for more soup recipes that can also be made in crock pot. Ed.)
6 potatoes pared and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
4 cups water
2 leeks washed and cut into bite-size pieces (optional)
1 1/2 teas salt
2 onions chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 carrot sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
Put all in crock except milk and chives. Cover and cook 10-12 hours. (High 3-4 hours) Stir in evaporated milk during last hour. If you want you may mash some of the potatoes before serving. Top each serving with chives.
(13) MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH BABY BACK PORK RIBS
1 or 2 Packages of "pre-cooked" racks of baby back ribs - those wrapped with BBQ sauce inside the wrapper. (These are found at most major grocery stores ... and allegedly "ready to heat and eat" ... and only true if you like to CHEW a lot!)
Two 1/4" slices of a red sweet onion - then diced
1/3 Cup of Orange Juice
1/3 Cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce (optional)
Unwrap ribs and cut each rack into four equal length pieces. Arrange in the crock-pot "standing on their side", not laying flat. Sprinkle diced onions over ribs, add Orange Juice and remaining BBQ sauce from the packaging, (add your favorite BBQ sauce if you wish - optional). Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours .. after 1/2 the cooking time, rearrange (turn over) the ribs to even out cooking. Serve with mashed potatoes .... ribs will MELT IN YOUR MOUTH!
(14) CROCK POT PEPPER STEAK
2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into 2 inch strips
Garlic powder to taste
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 cup hot water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 large green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp white sugar
1 Tsp salt
Sprinkle strips of sirloin with garlic powder to taste. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and brown the seasoned beef strips. Transfer to the crock pot. Mix bouillon cube with hot water until dissolved, then mix in cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into the pot with meat. Add onion, green pepper, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Cover
and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
(15) EASY CROCK-POT CHICKEN CURRY
1 - 1 1/2 pound of boneless chicken breasts - cubed
1 medium potato - skinned, sliced, then cubed
1 can of condensed chicken broth
2 1/2 cups of water
3 Tbsp of Red Curry Powder
1/2 package of frozen mixed stir-fry vegetables (your choice)
1 Tbsp of cornstarch or flour
Combine chicken potatoes, broth, water, and curry powder in the cooker. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. During last hour of cooking, add vegetables and immediately dissolve cornstarch/flour into some of the cooking broth and stir into mixture. Cook for final hour. Serve over white or wild rice. GREAT!!
(16) SCALLOPED POPATOES
1 package hashbrowns
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can milk
2 or more cups of cubed ham or turkey
2 cups cubed cheddar cheese
Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl. Spray crockpot with cooking spray.
Pour mixture into crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for almost 8 hours.
(Chuck from Arkansas)
(17) BARBEQUED POT ROAST
1 roast (2-3 lbs.) [recommend sirloin tip]
3 med. to lg. onions, sliced (preferably sweet)
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. catsup
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Place roast in cooker. Lay onion slices all over top and sides of roast. Combine next 11 ingredients and pour over roast and onions. Cover and cook 8 hours.
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