Thursday, April 11, 2013

tasty thursdays - crockpot edition

this week we'll focus on some of my slow-cooker staples. there's nothing more wonderful than walking in the front door after a long day at work and immediately inhaling the savory aroma of dinner, ready, and scrumptiously flavorful from cooking all day. my disclaimer about food photography still stands --  these photos are linked directly back to the blogs from whence they came! i'm also linking up to Taste and Tell's weekly round up

here are some of our favourites:

crockpot chicken tikka masala

image credit from wikipedia

when it strikes, the craving for Indian food (much like my unfortunate cravings for sour cream & onion chips) can't be assuaged by anything but the real thing. and this recipe certainly fits the bill. it couldn't be easier to put together in the morning, and unlike some crockpot chicken recipes, the meat stays tender even if it cooks for a full 9 hours. about half an hour before serving, i throw some basmati or jasmine rice in the rice cooker along with a tablespoon of peanut oil. when the rice finishes cooking (after about 20 minutes), i stir in some chopped cilantro and voila! 

i first made these for cinco de mayo celebrations last year, and they've become a regular on the rotation (sometimes i substitute chicken for the pork). usually i don't add the mango, but for special occasions it adds such a pop of color and flavour. inevitably i find myself standing over the crockpot eating the pork by the forkful as i "taste test" it. highly recommend the jalapeno sour cream as well!

slow cooker cashew chicken

image credit from the girl who ate everything

this is a "fake" take-out recipe that rivals the cashew chicken at our favourite Chinese buffet, and it's affordable too! since i cook a lot of Asian-inspired recipes, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce are pantry staples at our house. i will sometimes substitute powdered ginger for the fresh if i'm in a pinch, and it's still delicious. 

perfect slow-roasted pulled pork
from kevin and amanda

perfect pulled pork recipe slow roasted seasoned savory cooking blog
image credit from kevin and amanda

so i actually just made this recipe for the first time this week, but it is far and away the best pulled pork recipe i've ever had. the brine keeps the meat tender and the dry rub has a kick! the original recipe calls for roasting in the oven, but i spied a crockpot variation and made it successfully (simply cook the pork on low for 8-10 hours). the major difference between this and other pulled pork recipes i've made is that it calls for no additional liquid during the cooking process. the natural juices released by the brining process create the perfect amount of sauce (no more pork swimming in a soup of sauce that soaks right through the sandwich buns). to assemble the sandwiches, i recommend splitting the buns in half, topping one half of each pair with cheddar cheese, and popping under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. then pile high with the pork and top with a few pickles. mm, mm, good!
from the girl who ate everything

Easy Crockpot Lasagna
image credit from the girl who ate everything 

there's something so amazing about lasagna out of a crockpot. first of all, it seems so much sturdier than lasagna baked in a pan -- none of this business with noodles slipping around and sauce sliding off and general sloppiness everywhere. second of all, it's lasagna out of a crockpot. i will say that you don't save much time in the prep work, since you still have to brown the meat, simmer the sauce, and assemble all the layers. but i love to put this all together in the early afternoon on a saturday or sunday (it only cooks for 4 - 5 hours, so it doesn't work on a weekday). just another reason why whoever invented oven-ready lasagna noodles should be given a prize. 

well, that barely scratches the surface of my fave crockpot recipes, so i'll be back with volume 2 next week!

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