One countertop appliance can save your bacon during hectic holidays.
Before heading out in the morning throw ingredients into a lined slow cooker, turn it on low and dinner is ready when you come home.
Make it easier by assembling ingredients the night before. Recipes like slow cooker lasagna need sauce and grated cheese.
Have highlighted “lined” for a reason. Slow cooker liners are a godsend when it’s time to clean up. Scrubbing a dirty pot can be a pain.
Don’t have a slow cooker or the one you’ve got is aging out? Ask Santa for a programmable slow cooker. Not only set heat level and cooking time but hold on warm until ready to serve.
SLOW COOKER LASAGNA
1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 24-ounce cans spaghetti sauce
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 15-ounce tub whole-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
15 uncooked lasagna noodles
1. Cook sauce and onion in a Dutch oven over medium heat stirring occasionally until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, oregano and basil.
2. In a medium bowl mix 1 cup shredded cheese, ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
3. Spoon ¼ of the sausage mixture into a lined slow cooker; top with 5 noodles
4. broken to fit. Spread with ½ of the cheese mixture and another ¼ of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 broken noodles, the remaining cheese mixture and another ¼ of the sausage mixture.
5. Top with the remaining broken noodles and remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until noodles are tender.
6. Sprinkle on remaining cheese. Turn off cooker and let stand 20 minutes to melt cheese. Makes 6-8 servings.
This makes a great one-dish meal.
GARLIC LEMON CHICKEN WITH VEGGIES
8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup chicken broth
8 red potatoes, washed and halved
1 16-ounce package baby carrots
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place chicken thighs in the bottom of a lined slow cooker. Top with butter, onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots and green beans
2. Combine chicken broth, lemon zest and juice; pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook on cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Remove the thigh bones. Makes 6-8 servings
3 pounds chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut in 1½-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1 package onion soup mix
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, diced
1 16-ounce package mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic packed in oil
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1. In a large skillet heat oil. In batches brown stew meat on all sides. Transfer to lined slow cooker.
2. Add broth, soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, onion, mushrooms and garlic, Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours.
3. Thirty minutes before stew is done whisk together ¼ cup water and cornstarch. Stir into stew and cook to thicken. Serve on rice, mashed or roasted potatoes.
Note: This recipe also works well with a venison roast.
PULLED PORK TEXAS STYLE
1 4-pound pork shoulder roast, fat trimmed
1 cup sweet and spicy barbecue sauce
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon each yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder
1 large onion, cut in half root to top
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 hamburger buns
1. In a medium bowl whisk together barbecue sauce, vinegar, chicken broth, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder.
2. Place roast in a lined slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce mixture over the roast, Place an onion half and garlic clove on each side.
3. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or on low 10-12 hours. Remove roast from cooker and shred with 2 forks. Return to the cooker and stir into juices.
4. Serve on toasted burger buns with some of the juices. Makes 8 sandwiches.
Note: Without the juice, use pulled pork to make tacos or burritos.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Slow cooker meals a time-saver on hectic days