(Or, How to Ski All Day Instead of Cooking All Night)
By Skimum Heidi, Creator of FoodieCrush.com
“What are we going to have for dinner?” As a food blogger, this is pretty much the first thing out of my mouth each and every morning. Or at least the first thing right after, “Where’s my coffee?”
I love plotting and planning dinner. But I like getting on the mountain even more. And when fresh snow flakes start falling, dinnertime planning, shopping, and prepping eat into my day—and my real craving—for more ski time.
So what’s a Skimum to do?
Take it low and take it slow with everyone’s favorite appliance circa 1974, the slow cooker, with recipes like my Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna Soup.
So that when your rosy red cheeks break through the front door, you’re greeted with smells that say, “Dinner, is served.” Yeah, Pavlov was right. It’s really that easy.
The slow cooker we all got for a wedding gift is the Skimums’ best friend when it comes to guilt-free skiing—ahem, playing hooky—with nobody the wiser about the fact you snuck away for a few hours of slope time.
The glory of slow cooking is not just that it sits in the pot all day caramelizing, tenderizing and tantalizing everyone around. It does so typically with ingredients you usually have on hand and, even if you don’t, with substitutions that work just as well if not better. In other words, slow cooking is hard to screw up.
For those who have trouble roasting a chicken, slow cooking will have you channeling your inner Julia Child.
Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna Soup
Submitted By Skimum Heidi
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
- 2 zucchinis, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces lasagna noodles
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
For the ricotta cheese topping
- 1 8 ounce container ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
- generous pinch of kosher salt
Add the onion, brown mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the liner of a 6 quart slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours or on high and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Once the cooking time is done, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and rinse and add to the soup. Cut them into smaller pieces if you’d like. Add the spinach and warm until wilted then ladle into soup bowls and top with a dollop of the ricotta cheese topping.
For the ricotta cheese topping
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
At my blog, FoodieCrush, I have a few more slow cooker recipes that you must add to your Wednesday rotation, like:
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken (recipe here)
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup (recipe here)
Crockpot Pork Posole Stew (recipe here)
On the chairlift one recent, snow packed morning, a gaggle of us Skimums had an all-out confessional about how the slow cooker is our secret weapon for carving out another hour or two on the mountain each week.
We compared notes in between runs and dished about our favorite recipes that we’re sharing below. So start your quick prep, toss it in, turn it on and start making your turns on the mountain.
Colosimo’s Slow Cooker Chili
Submitted By Skimum Liz
Recipe by Colosimo’s Sausage, recipe here
- 2 pounds mild or hot Italian sausage, crumbled (Colosimo’s brand recommended)
- 1 (12-ounce) can black beans, undrained
- 1 (12-ounce) can plain chili beans, undrained
- 1 (12-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
- 1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce (Colosimo’s brand recommended)
- 1 (12-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped, optional
- 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, optional
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Sour cream, for garnish
- Grated cheese, for garnish
In a large frying pan, brown the sausage until cooked through. Place in a slow cooker. Stir in all the beans and their liquid, the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, onions, green peppers, green chilies (if using) chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat up to 8 hours or on high heat for 4 hours. (This also can be cooked on the stove-top for several hours at a low simmer.) Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and shredded cheese.
Make 4 to 6 servings
Dark Beer and Pepper Short Ribs
Submitted by Skimum Sharon
Recipe by Fabio Viviani
- 1 ½ pounds boneless beef short ribs
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 ea. onions, sliced
- 5 ea. garlic cloves, smashed with a knife
- 6 fl. oz (about ½ of one bottle or can) stout beer
- 1 quart beef stock
- 1 sprig rosemary
Reduce the quart of beef stock to one cup in a shallow sauce pan or deep sauté pan and set aside. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour until well coated. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the dredged ribs until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side.
When browned on both sides, remove the ribs from the skillet and set aside. Reserve pan drippings for later. To a slow cooker, add the onion as a bed, then add seared short ribs. Add as well any juice or drippings reserved from the pan. Cover the ribs with smashed garlic cloves, fresh herbs, butter, salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Add the stout beer and reduced beef stock. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to high. Cook for approximately 6 hours or until tender. Top short ribs with sauce made from cooking them.
Yields 3-4 servings
Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
By Skimum Julie
- 2 pounds Pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon Ground sage
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 clove Garlic; crushed
- ½ cup Water
- ½ cup Brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
Mix together the seasonings: sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over tenderloin. Place ½ cup water in slow cooker; place tenderloin in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
1 hour before the roast is finished, mix together the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, soy sauce. Heat over medium and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. (For a more caramelized crust: remove from crockpot and place on aluminum lined sheet pan, glaze, and set under broiler for 1-2 minutes until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat 2 to 3 more times until desired crust is achieved.) Serve with remaining glaze on the side.
Deb’s Famous Chicken
By Skimum Denice
- 3 lbs Chicken tenders (I use frozen)
- 4 Tbls Melted butter
- 1 pkg Good Season’s dry Italian dressing mix
- 2 can Cream of chicken soup
- 16 oz. Cream cheese
Put chicken and butter and Italian dressing in crockpot. Cook on low for 3 – 4 hours (I put chicken in frozen so might take a little longer). When chicken is done, heat and mix soup and cream cheese. Add to chicken and mix. (The chicken should shred up when mixing)
Serve over rice.
By Skimum Bettina
- 1 lb Ground turkey, chicken or beef
- 1 (8oz) can Rotel (I use cilantro flavored)
- 1/2 cup Salsa
- 1 packet Taco seasoning
Add diced peppers and onions (if you have time!). Throw everything into crock-pot. Cook on low for six or more hours.
Crock-pot Pork Loin
By Skimums Kathy and Jamailia
(Classic Recipe with No Real Measurements)
- 1-Pork loin
- Sea salt
- Minced garlic (to taste)
- 1/2-cup water
Place ingredients into crock-pot. Cook on low for 12 hours. Shred the pork. Serve with favorite BBQ sauce.
Crock-pot Brisket, Baby!
By Skimum Paula
adapted from My Recipes
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon jarred beef soup base
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke
- 1 (2- to 3-lb.) beef brisket flat, trimmed
- 1/4 cup beer
- 3 tablespoons bottled chili sauce
- Lightly grease a 6-qt. crock-pot; add onion and garlic. Stir together chili powder and next 5 ingredients. Rub over brisket; place brisket over onion mixture in slow cooker.
- Whisk together beer and chili sauce. Slowly pour mixture around brisket (to avoid removing spices from brisket).
- Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours) or until fork-tender. Uncover and let stand in slow cooker 20 minutes.
- Remove brisket from crock-pot; cut brisket across the grain into thin slices. Return brisket to crock-pot, and spoon pan juices over meat.
Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe? Share it with us in the comments below, we’re always on the lookout for new, delicious food to share.