Load up on recipes for crock pots

Wednesday, April 3, 2002


Play ball! I love baseball season. With the opening of the season Monday, it was like having another national holiday for me. Just coming off of what my husband refers to as the most wonderful time of the year -- March Madness and the NCAA national basketball tournament -- I feel like our house has been like Sports Central. Our son has been so cute with his own tournament bracket and marking his wins and losses like all of the other "big boys." Now he is into baseball with me. My menu selections will start changing, too. I will uncover the grill, dust off the summertime food recipes and let baseball season and spring just roll along.

How much do you use your crock pot? I got a new crock pot last Christmas and have never used it. I guess I have just not gotten into the habit. But after reading through this next set of recipes, I have changed my mind about crock pot cooking and need put it to good use.

The office staff of Dr. J.T. Hall, in Cape Girardeau, recently held a crock pot party in the office, and they have shared four recipes with us.

Nancy, an office staff member told me that each Tuesday the office is open late and once a month they take turns preparing their evening meal. For their March meal, they decided to each bring a crock pot and prepare the meal as a team. Each person used a recipe from the new cookbook "Fix-it and Forget-it." The office staff hopes you enjoy these recipes as much as they did.

Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Spread

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped finely

1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers (from a 7 1/4 ounce jar)

Crackers, cut-up fresh vegetables or snack-sized bread slices

Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese and garlic in food processor. Process until smooth. Place mixture in slow cooker. Add artichoke hearts and red bell pepper. Stir well. Cover. Cook on low 1 hour. Stir again. Use as spread for crackers, cut-up fresh vegetables or snack bread slices.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

2 to 3 pounds chicken parts, skinned

1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms

2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth

Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low 5 to 6 hours.

Au Gratin Hash Brown Potatoes

1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 small onion, diced

1 stick butter, melted

1 (16 ounce) container French onion dip

1 (16 ounce) jar Cheez Whiz, heated

Place hash browns in slow cooker. Combine onion, butter, dip and Cheez Whiz. Pour over hash browns. Mix well. Cover. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or high 2 to 3 hours; using the greater number of hours if the potatoes are frozen.

Hot Curried Fruit Compote

1 (1 pound) can peach halves

1 (1 pound) can pear hales

1 (1 pound) can apricot halves

1 (1 pound) can pineapple chunks

4 medium bananas, sliced

15 maraschino cherries

1/3 cup walnut halves

1/3 cup margarine

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste

Drain fruit. Pour canned fruit into slow cooker. Add bananas. Scatter cherries and walnuts on top. In skillet, melt margarine. Mix in sugar and curry powder. Pour over fruit. Cook on low 2 hours. Serve hot as a side dish to beef, pork or poultry; serve warm as a dessert; or serve cold as a topping for ice cream.

Ruth Graham from Perryville, Mo., shares her recipe for Southern Dumplings. When she was a young bride, she and her new husband moved to Texas from West Virginia. She had not had rolled dumplings before, only drop dumplings. She had an elderly woman from Texas show her how to make rolled dumplings. You will notice these dumplings are placed directly into the broth after cutting and not dried.

Southern Dumplings

After chicken is cooked, pour as much broth as desired into a bowl while the broth is still warm. (Ruth uses about 2 cups.) Add salt to taste then enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll out on floured board, cut and drop into boiling broth. When they float, they are done. Sometimes she adds an egg to the mixture, to give the dumplings a chewy texture.

Jodi Thompson from Jackson, Mo., recently made this recipe using fresh Brussels sprouts and she was very impressed with the wonderful outcome.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

2 pounds Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small purple onion, cut into slivers (1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

Wash Brussels sprouts; remove discolored leaves. Cut off stem ends and thinly slice Brussels sprouts. (They should look shredded). Heat butter and oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot.

Add shredded Brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion. Saute 8-10 minutes, or until Brussels spouts are tender and onion is lightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a serving bowl. Add vinegar and brown sugar to skillet. Simmer over medium heat 30 seconds; pour over Brussels sprouts, and toss gently. Serve hot. Yields 8 servings.

Mixer Cheese Biscuits

1 cup of margarine, softened

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded, extra sharp Cheddar cheese

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground red pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Beat margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add cheese, beating well. Add flour, salt, and pepper; beat at low speed until blended. Add lemon juice, and beat at medium speed for 20 minutes. Pipe or drop dough by level tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Yield: 6 dozen.

We have several great requests from readers this week; so let's get right to those.

Hazel Manche from Perryville would like to have the recipe for the apple pie baked in a brown paper bag. This recipe was so popular a few years ago and she has misplaced her recipe. She also recalls using this brown paper bag method for baking chicken and turkey and would appreciate those recipes, too.

Ruth Graham, who shared her dumpling recipe with us earlier, would like a recipe for oatmeal waffles. She had a recipe and has misplaced it.

Juanita McNeely from Cape Girardeau would sure love to have the recipe for the warm creamy bacon dressing served at the Pilot House on their salad. The salad has Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and red peppers. She has tried to find similar dressing recipes in cookbooks and has been unsuccessful.

Kathleen Peters from Marble Hill, Mo., collects community and organizational cookbooks. I recently mentioned there were several new cookbooks out from our area. If you know of a community or organizational cookbook available, please send in the information and I will pass this information on to Kathleen and will mention your book in Recipe Swap. Kathleen is interested in as many of these types of cookbooks she can find. This is a really fun request, and we all could benefit from this information.

And last but not least is a request from me. I heard a conversation about recipes during a luncheon at the United Way Annual Meeting recently held in Cape Girardeau. I would like to have the recipe for Marsha Haskell's Caramelitas. This is a specialty of Marsha's and she has perfected these rich treats. Marsha was also telling about several rich and fabulous desserts she had prepared for the St. Vincent Auction, and I would like some of those recipes as well. Marsha, if I don't hear from you soon, I'll be calling you.

That will do for this week. We have several requests for you to think about and maybe send some recipes in. Get your favorite baseball team's schedule, cook up some great food and have a wonderful week.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699; Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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