Better Choices, Better Results

What a Great Turnout!

What a Great Turnout!

My Crock-Pot cooking demo went really well!  I had about 15 people there, as well as 3 lovely assistants (co-workers Tina, Martha and Kathy).

Part of my message during every demo is that cooking should be fun!  What’s the worst that can happen?  Burnt food? Undercooked food?  Dropped food?  Bad-tasting food?  The solution to all those scenarios is just not to eat it.  It’s all small stuff when you think about life in general.

We all need to stop sweating the small stuff.

We tasted three different dishes last night; Breakfast Casserole with Ham, Meatloaf and Rotisserie Chicken.  For the most part, I think people liked everything.  The chicken was a little bland, but juicy, and would be perfect for chicken salad, sandwiches or chicken soup.  The meatloaf had a little too much oregano for my taste, but others seemed to like it.  The Breakfast Casserole was a big hit, though.

Even though I may not have hit 3 home runs, I am still very pleased with my message, which encompassed several points:

  1. Home cooking is CHEAPER than eating out. Assuming one had all the spices called for, everything I served had an average cost of $1.42 per serving.  I spent $68 for ingredients and had enough for 6 entrees – enough to feed 48 people.  Add in a side dish, and you’d still have a complete meal for less than $2.  That beats a fast-food “value meal” all over the place.
  2. Know what’s in your food. I’m sure you’ve heard about the uproar at Taco Bell serving “beef” that’s only 30% beef.  If you cook it, you know what’s in it.  Read your labels.  Start using more fresh, frozen and/or natural ingredients.  That old saying about not eating something if you can’t pronounce its ingredients rings true.
  3. If you know what’s in it, you are controlling your health. We are what we eat (and drink).  ‘Nuff said.

Here are the recipes from the demo:

Crockpot Egg Casserole

From About.com

Use your imagination when making this recipe. Try Canadian bacon instead of ham. Use Havarti or Swiss cheese instead of Cheddar. Add some minced jalapeno peppers if you like hot foods. Then enjoy!

Note:  This is great with salsa and sour cream!

Pouring the egg mixture over the veggies. Yum!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 9 hours

Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Preparation:

Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In small skillet, cook onion and green pepper in olive oil until crisp tender. Let cool about 10 minutes. Place one third of the frozen hash brown potatoes in the slow cooker. Add one third of the ham, onion, green pepper and cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk and seasonings until well mixed. Pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and turn on low. Cook for 8-10 hours, until casserole is set and eggs are thoroughly cooked. Serves 12

If you have a new hotter cooking crockpot, you’ll need to check this after 6 hours. It will probably be done after 7 hours. The eggs should reach a temperature of 160 degrees F.

Nutrition:  Serves 12  Cal: 257; Pro: 21; Car: 16; Fib: 1; Fat: 10

Crock-Roasted Chicken with Rotisserie Rub

It's not blood! This recipes calls for a paprika-based rub for the chicken skin.

From Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipe Book

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 4 pounds)
  • 1 Tb. paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tb. garlic powder, or 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Rinse chicken and pat dry, removing any visible fat.  Discard giblets and neck.  Coat 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray.

Combine spices in a bowl and stir in warm water by the teaspoon-full until a thick past forms.  coat the chicken inside and out with the seasoned paste before placing in cooker, breast-side up.

Cover.  Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees.  Remove chicken from cooker.  When cool enough to handle, remove skin and serve.

Nutrition:  4 Servings   Cal: 230; Pro: 41; Carb: 2; Fib: 1; Fat: 6

Meatloaf in a Crock Pot

Taken from E-How Website

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

    Meatloaf, anyone?

  • 1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 Egg, (slightly beaten)
  • 1/2 tsp dried Parsley Flakes, or fresh chopped Parsley
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1- 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese(grated)
  • 1- 10 1/4″x 5 1/2″ non-stick Loaf Pan or Aluminum Loaf Pan
  • Cooking Spray
  • Oblong Crock Pot or Round Crock Pot with round non-stick Baking Pan.
  • Spatula and Spoon

Spray the inside of the loaf pan with cooking spray. Mince garlic, chop parsley, grate cheese, and slightly beat the egg with a fork.

In a medium/large bowl, mix prepared ingredients with ground beef by using your hands or a large fork. *Note, add 1/2 of the can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture with other ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Place the meatloaf into the loaf pan and form around sides to fit the pan. Add remaining tomato sauce to the top of the meatloaf, then add cheese and top with the parsley.

Place the loaf pan into the Crock Pot, it will be slightly raised from the bottom, that is how it should be as long as you can fit the lid in place securely without letting the heat escape.

Set on HIGH and cook for about 3 hrs. and 20 min. Crock Pot temperatures will vary, check meatloaf at 2 1/2 hrs. Cheese should be melted and juices will be clear if meatloaf is done. Mine took the whole time and was very moist.

When juices are present around the meatloaf, use a Turkey baster to remove the excess grease from the pan and again when the meatloaf is done. Let the meatloaf set for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition:  Serves 8  Cal: 191; Pro: 20; Car: 5; Fib: 1; Fat: 15

My next cooking demo will be on Tuesday, May 10th at 6:00 pm in the Georgetown Community Hospital Solarium.

My challenge?  30-Minute Meals.  This should be interesting, since I don’t have a real kitchen to work in.  I’ll be preparing the meal using portable appliances.  You really should attend it you can!

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