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Tue, July 16

What is a women's best friend? Her Crock-Pot!

I hope many of you dusted off those Crock-Pots and revived that great kitchen helper and tried a couple of new dishes to answer the daily "what's for dinner" dilemma. Crock-Pots are actually based on the old idea of slow cooking on a back burner in a heavy pot or baking in a warm oven all day. I reported last week that some recipes (except soup) may need to have a little less liquid. In updating my high-altitude cooking skills, I recently took a class and was reminded that my earlier statement was a general Crock-Pot term, whereas at this altitude a little more liquid may be necessary (probably about 1/4 cup). As with most high-altitude cooking, experimenting (and I make notes) is the name of the game.

• GREAT CHICKEN 6 servings

1/2 c. tomato juice – 1/2 c. soy sauce – 1/2 c. brown sugar – 1/2 c. vegetable oil – 3 cloves garlic, minced – 1 whole chicken cut in pieces or favorite chicken parts (serving size pieces).

Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in mixture. Place chicken in Crock-Pot and pour remaining sauce over top. Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. The sauce can also be used as a marinade for flank steak. Make as directed for above and marinate steak 2 hours or overnight, then barbecue. This is from "Crock-It" by Barbara Nelson of Sylva, N.C. This sauce is good over rice or mashed potatoes or noodles along with the chicken.

•TANGY PORK CHOPS 4 servings

Fancy enough for company or a great family meal, says Karol Hines of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

4 pork chops – salt and pepper – 2 med. onions, chopped – 2 ribs celery, chopped – 1 large green pepper, sliced – 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes –1/2 c. ketchup – 2 T. each cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce – 1 T. lemon juice – 2 T. each cornstarch and water – 1 beef boullion cube – Hot cooked rice or mashed potatoes (opt.)

Place chops in Crock-Pot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add onions, celery, green pepper and tomatoes. Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and boullion; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into liquid in Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes or until thick. Serve over rice or potatoes, as desired. NOTE: For the technical types, the low setting heats to about 200 degrees and the high to about 300 degrees, using only about as much energy as a light bulb due to the stoneware's insulation, making it a cost-effective cooking method.


1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn – 1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed – 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes – 1/4 c. chopped onion – 1-1/2 c. cooked rice – 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce – 1/4 tsp. salt – 1/2 tsp. pepper – 4 small green bell peppers, tops removed and seeded – 2 cups shredded, reduced fat Cheddar cheese (reserve 1/4 cup).

Combine all ingredients except green peppers and 1/4 cup reserved cheese. Use mixture to stuff peppers. Place 3 stuffed peppers on bottom and 1 on top of three. Cover; cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. cheese last 30 minutes.

Now, one last Crock-Pot recipe until we revisit this subject, probably when it gets cold again!

Of course, these days recipes are available for a few mouse clicks, but it's still fun to look through those collections (you have started one, haven't you?) and pull out the tried and true!


12 fresh, boneless, skinless (or do it yourself) chicken thighs – 2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs – 2 cups cubed zucchini squash – 1 c. fresh pearl onions, peeled – 1 c. fresh baby carrots – 2 T. tomato paste (freeze what is not used for another recipe) – 2 cloves garlic, minced – 1 T. sugar – 1/2 tsp. each crushed red pepper flakes and salt – 8 cups cooked pasta (if not saving half of stew for another meal).

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Combine all ingredients in large Crock-Pot and mix well. Cook on low about 6 hours. I prefer starting on high at least one hour and then turn on low. Internal juices of chicken should run clear or insert an instant-read thermometer in thickest piece and it should read 180 degrees. Serve half of stew (about 4-1/2 cups) over 4 cups cooked pasta. One-half of stew may be frozen for another meal. Serve with a green salad and soft breadsticks, and though it may not be as much fun, you can imagine you are right in Tuscany!

Correcton: In the Feb. 19th, Snow Muffins recipe, the following ingredient should be included: 1/2 c. orange juice, which is to be added with mik, orange zest and butter.

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