Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Favorite - Slow Cooker Liners

I don't know how long this product has been around (I may be the last to know about them), but I *heart* crockpot liners! I've always thought cooking in the crockpot was a good idea, but every time I did it I would hate the cleanup so much it would take weeks or even months before I would try it again. Hard, lumpy, stuck-on food and splattered sauces that had to be soaked and scrubbed--blech! Then a couple of months ago I was at Lunch Bunch, and someone was serving something in a slow cooker with what looked like an oven bag lining it. As I stood there studying it, blocking the buffet line, I knew I had to have some. Sure enough, they are awesome! I will never cook in a crockpot without one again. Speaking of slow cooking, here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes, so if you're like me and never use your crockpot because of the mess, you can try them out with a liner!

Pulled Pork
I don't know if you can call this a recipe, more like a method of cooking meat. When I was telling my sister I didn't know how to cook the boneless pork ribs I had in my freezer, she suggested pulled pork. I made it Sunday and was really pleased with how it came out. I just put the thawed ribs in the crockpot (after lining it!) then poured barbeque sauce over them (about a cup of Kraft Original Barbeque Sauce, but you could use any sauce you like). I set the cooker on low and left the ribs to cook for about 5.5-6 hours. Anne suggested skimming the fat before removing the meat to pull it. Then I took out the ribs and "pulled" the meat (shredded it with a fork and knife) and returned it to the crockpot, stirring it in the remaining juices. I added about another cup or so of sauce, but I would just add it until it's the consistency you like, and let it sit warming until I finished cooking the rest of dinner. It was good by itself, but it's also great on a kaiser or hamburger bun as a sandwich.

Pot Roast
Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast is an Allrecipes classic, I don't know anyone who hasn't at least heard of this recipe. Throw in potatoes and carrots about an hour or so before the meat is done, and you have a complete meal done for you!

Lasagna is a bit labor-intensive, so being able to do all the prep ahead and come back hours later with it cooked is handy, particularly on Sunday when you come home from church hungry and don't want to wait another hour or two for your meal. This slow cooker recipe is nice for that reason, and you don't have to take the time to layer it all. However, I'm sure you can use your own favorite lasagna recipe and just cook it in the crockpot instead!

Hot Spiced Cider
It's going to be that time of year soon! (I'm actually really lamenting the end of summer. But fall and winter food is really fun.) This is one recipe that really doesn't need a slow cooker liner, but it is one of my favorite crockpot recipes, and this seemed an appropriate place to share it. Because we're not coffee drinkers, I didn't have a coffee filter on hand, but Shelli (who is a preschool teacher, Katie's preschool teacher) did and informed me that coffee filters are great for all kinds of crafts and projects, so they're not a bad thing to keep around.

2 quarts apple cider
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 large orange, sliced or quartered with peel
Place spices in a coffee filter and tie in a bundle, securing with a piece of string or a twist tie. Pour cider, brown sugar, orange slices or wedges, and spice bundle in slow cooker and simmer on low for a 4-6 hours. Remove spice bundle before serving.

Happy slow cooking! (I think I'm in the mood for some cider now . . . )


Suzy said...

Wow, your apple cider sounds good today!!! I will definitely be making it soon. I haven't tried the liners, but they sound great.

The Yoder's Four said...

I discovered those liners a couple years ago and never use the crockpot without them! I have unpleasant memories of having to clean my mom's old one that was all in one piece so you couldn't submerge it or anything. Blech.

Love your recipes! I'll have to give them a try.