Cookers can create many dishes



KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
MEXICAN-STYLE PORK STEW
5 pounds boneless, country-style pork ribs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 onions, chopped medium
2 tablespoons chili powder
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 (14-ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Dry pork with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the pork, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and remaining pork.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium until shimmering. Add onions, chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 15 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, then pour into the slow cooker.
Add broth, hominy and oregano to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.
Transfer meat to a large bowl and let cool. Let the cooking liquid settle 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it using your fingers, discarding any gristle, and add it back to the slow cooker. Before serving, stir in cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Per serving (based on 6): 841 calories (48 percent from fat), 45 grams total fat (14 grams saturated), 162 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams carbohydrates, 67 grams protein, 1,140 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber.
Source: "The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook" (America's Test Kitchen)
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PUDDING CAKE
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup whole milk or chocolate milk
2 tablespoons canola, peanut or walnut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter (natural or hydrogenated)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Topping:
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
11/2 cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Coat slow cooker with butter-flavored nonstick vegetable cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Continue stirring in widening circles, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the peanut butter (warm it in the microwave if thick and sticky from refrigeration); the batter will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in the cooker.
For topping: In another medium bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cocoa and sugar. Add boiling water and whisk until smooth. Gently pour over the batter in the cooker; do not stir. Cover and cook on high until puffed and the top layer is set, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the cooker and let stand, covered, at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, scoop cake into individual bowls. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Spoon some of the fudgy pudding over the cake and ice cream and serve.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Per serving (based on 6): 510 calories (36 percent from fat), 21 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 75 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 258 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Source: "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" (Harvard Common Press) by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
GOBLIN MIX
2 cups mini pretzel twists
3 cups rice cereal (such as Chex)
2 cups corn cereal (such as Kix)
1 cup salted cashews
1 cup goldfish-shaped cheese crackers
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix pretzels, cereals, cashews and crackers in slow cooker.
Melt margarine over low heat on stovetop or in microwave and stir in Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Pour margarine mixture over dry mixture in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours. Uncover for the last 45 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in plastic containers or bags.
Makes 12 to 15 servings.
Per serving (based on 12): 282 calories (56 percent from fat), 18 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 414 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
Source: "Slow Cookin' in the Fast Lane" (Wimmer) by Julie Kay
GINGERY PEARS POACHED IN GREEN TEA
4 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons green tea leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons grated ginger root
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
8 firm pears, such as Bosc, peeled, cored and cut into quarters lengthwise
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)
Vanilla-flavored yogurt (optional)
In a pot, combine boiling water and tea leaves. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into slow cooker.
Add ginger root, honey, almond extract and lemon zest and stir well. Add pears. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or on high 3 hours, until pears are tender. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill thoroughly. Garnish with toasted almonds and a dollop of yogurt, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 165 calories (3 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 43 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 2 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Source: "The Healthy Slow Cooker" (Robert Rose) by Judith Finlayson

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