Niagara Gazette

April 7, 2013

VUKCEVICH: Dust off the Crock Pot

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It’s time to dust off your favorite slow cooker — or Crock Pot — for the convenience it affords. So many great recipes perfect for pot luck parties or any occasion are here, and knowing that your slow cooker uses about as much electricity and resources as a light bulb makes it more economical than using your stove.

With the summer months ahead, it also won’t heat up your kitchen, and will give you ample precious time for other pursuits.

Example: Time to once again enjoy the Bravo cable television channel’s show “Inside the Actors’ Studio,” hosted by James Lipton. The season premiere began March 19 and imagine knowing that the show interviewing celebrities is broadcast in 125 countries, reaching 89 million homes. Check the News’ television listings for times. Fans of “Inside the Actors’ Studio”   are familiar with host Lipton’s list of questions which he poses to each of his guests at the end of the show.

While your slow cooker does its time with the savory slow-cooked suppers provided here, enjoy Lipton’s queries and share the “game” with family and friends:

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

4. What turns you off?

5. What is your favorite curse word?

6. What sound or noise do you love?

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

9. What profession would you not like to do?

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Please send us your favorite Mother’s Day recipes for our May 5 column. In the meantime, here are some satisfying slow-cooked main dishes that have proven family-pleasing and garnered compliments. 

Slow-cooked pepper steak

1 1/2 to 2 pounds beef round steak

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes with liquid, cut up

2 large green peppers, cut into strips

1/2 cup cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cooked noodles or rice

Cut beef into 3-by-1-inch strips and brown in oil in a skillet.

Transfer to a slow cooker.

Combine the next seven ingredients and pour over beef.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until meat is tender.

Add tomatoes and green peppers; cook on low for 1 hour longer.

Combine the cold water and cornstarch to make a paste and stir into liquid in slow cooker and cook on high until thickened.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Audrey’s cranberrypork roast

1 boneless rolled pork loin roast (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

1 can (16 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

Salt to taste

Place pork roast in a slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, mash cranberry sauce, stir in sugar, cranberry juice, mustard and cloves, and pour over roast.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove roast and keep warm.

Skim fat from juices. Measure 2 cups, adding water if necessary and pour into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Combine the cornstarch and cold water to make a paste and pour into gravy.

Cook and stir until thickened.

Season with salt.

Serve with sliced pork.

(The gravy is delicious over creamy mashed potatoes.)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Potluck dessert decadent chocolate delight

1 package chocolate cake mix

8 ounces sour cream

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup water

4 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 package (4 servings) chocolate-flavored instant pudding and pie filling mix

Lightly grease the inside of the slow cooker.

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl.

Pour into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Serve hot or warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Scoop it out of the crockpot with a serving spoon.

Makes 12 servings.

Marija Vukcevich is a freelance writer from Lewiston. Contact her at