slow cooking expert and mom to three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Entertaining With Your Slow Cooker

Do not read this as "Entertaining Your slow Cooker." Even though I anthropomorphize probably more than I should, I do draw the line somewhere. :-)

We're fast approaching the season for entertaining. The Holidays bring about many reasons for getting together, and many different ways to utilize your slow cookers so you can get out of the kitchen and enjoy your guests.

This past weekend I fired up the Crock-Pot Trio, and brought it to a friend's house for a Halloween Party. I put in three different dips/appetizers:

Sundried Tomato Dip
Brie with Apricot Topping (this gets a lot of mileage. It's a favorite with my friends)
Sausage, Cream Cheese, and Rotel Dip (aka "mommy crack")

The Trio works well, but the cord is terribly short and each of the 3 (2-quart) inserts has a spoon slot, which means you have to put down a layer of foil while cooking/heating so your food doesn't dry out. This isn't much of a problem, but it is something to be aware of while using.

We aren't hosting any big parties this year, but in the past have really utilized my collection of slow cookers to prepare and serve hot appetizers, beverages, side dishes, and a variety of main courses. I love it that I can put the food on early in the day, then tend to the other chores around the house while dinner cooks itself.


I also appreciate the opportunity to mingle with guests as they arrive instead of fiddling in the kitchen.

The slow cooker is also an excellent way to bring a dish to a friend or neighbor's house who is hosting the main event. Oven and stove top space can be hard to come by, but there's always
an extra outlet available--even if it means plugging the cooker into an outlet in the garage.


What are your favorite ways to use your slow cooker for entertaining? If you have any great recipes that work well to serve large groups, or any slow cooker entertaining stories, please leave them in the comment section. We could all use some new ideas for parties this time of year!



related:


Slow Cooker Holiday Food
A Slow Cooker Party

Also!

I have a post up at BlogHer.com where I ask YOU about your children's play habits.

and, Books Inc, Burlingame, CA will be hosting a book signing/launch party for Make it Fast, Cook it Slow this Friday evening, November 6, at 6:30 pm. I'm going to be giving away a brand new Crock-Pot eLume--it's gorgeous. If you are in the area, I'd love to meet you!

49 comments:

Lizzard said...

I made the chocolate fondue recipe on this very blog for my book club once. I served pretzels, strawberries, bananas, and pound cake (which is surprisingly easy to make yourself in case you didn't know). Everyone loved it! I think I doubled (or one-and-a-halfed) the recipe because I used my 1.5 quart crock. It did make a little too much dip, but I don't have a little dipper.

Rachel said...

I am so addicted to your blog. I just found it a few days ago on babycenter. I can't wait to try all the recipes(umm. yes all of them-lol)

Sarah said...

I love to make apple cider in the slow cooker for holiday parties. I pour in apple juice and toss in a cheese cloth bag that contains cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice, orange peel, and lemon peel. I also love the slow cooker liners for making dips and other food in the slow cooker. It makes clean up so easy!

CanadianMama said...

I made the "mommy crack" when you first posted it and LOVED it!! Thanks again for the link! I've got to try some of the other dips. They all look so fantastic!

Randa said...

I love to entertain without spending the whole party in the kitchen, so my husband and I spend a lot of time planning crock pot parties. I am getting ready to host a Murder Mystery Dinner Party called Honky Tonk Homocide. This has a redneck theme to it, so the menu is chili, cornbread, cherry cobbler, and for desert a nice tray of moonpies, twinkies & ding dongs.

Use your favorite chili recipe in the crock pot, the cherry cobbler is easy - 2 cans of cherry pie filling at the bottom of a crock pot ... prepare yellow cake mix and pour on top of that - bake on low for 5 hours...it is yummy. Cornbread is the same way - prepare favorite cornbread recipe and cook in crock pot for 4 hours or until cooked all the way through.

Callista said...

laughing soo hard over the "mommy crack" comment! Love it!
I tend to do cocktail meatballs and chicken wings in my crockpots for partys.

Anonymous said...

Beef strogonoff. It is very easy and inexpensive to make for large crowds.

Bandit's Pack said...

I just purchased your cookbook today - I can't wait for it to arrive!! I love crockpot cooking!!

Jovigal said...

I just bought your cookbook this weekend. Made the chicken lo mein yesterday and it was a huge hit!!! Plenty of leftovers for lunch too! Cooking right now is the apricot-orange pork chops....my house smells so yummy, can't wait to eat some. I love my crockpot, but seem to use it less now that we are gluten free. Your cookbook came at just the right time. Nothing better than coming home to a hot meal in cold weather.

squawmama said...

We have entertained many times and use crock pots but now that we travel it is used mainly to have something great to eat when we come home from a full day of siteseeing... I have used several of your recipes and want to get your cookbook... It is on my Christmas wish list... ;-D

Have a super day
(((HUGS)))
Donna

Chelsie said...

Oh I love this Idea, will have to remember it with the upcoming holidays.

Karen said...

I am actually have a little party tonight and am going to make a cheese fondue and a Reese's fondue (chocolate and pb) I have a double dish slow cooker and it's going to work great. Yum! I can't wait.

Amy said...

I made mommy crack in my crockpot today - kids were out of school for election day and it's "munchie" kind of weather. When my husband came home from work for lunch he declared that this is also "Daddy Crack"

Your Cowboy beans are a new favorite on our dinner rotation.

sunflowerramos said...

I made the stuffing last year for Thanksgiving and my family LOVED it. I plan on making it again and the apple crisp this year. It will be great to spend more time with my family than in the kitchen.

I live in Santa Clara so if you happen to be in the South Bay Area for book signing, I will definitely make it.

Tina Kubala said...

I totally read it as "Entertaining Your slow Cooker" but I talk to my electric kettle, so it seems natural to me.

Shannon said...

Someone gave me a recipe for Ranch Stew, which I love to serve as an appetizer dip with scoopable corn chips and cheddar sprinkled on top. Brown 1 lb. ground beef with one diced onion and drain fat. Combine beef and onion with one can Ranch beans, one can Minestrone (I use Progresso) and one can RoTel (tomatoes with diced green chilies). Heat for a few hours on low and serve. If served as main dish, I garnish with cheese, sour cream and corn chips.

JCMurray said...

Years ago our office (of 14) would have potlucks every couple of months. A lot of us would bring crockpot stuff, and every empty cubby would have one or two keeping warm till lunch time. (Would be unprofessional to have them at our own cubby, and there's more left at lunch time that way).

Christian said...

Mashed potatos in the crockpot are a must every year for Thanksgiving. I can make them the day before and then heat them up while I make the rest of the meal. That way I don't have to do the last minute mashing while the turkey gets cold.

Liz & Brad said...

Mashed potatoes in the CrockPot is an absolute must. Prepare as normal and just keep warm. Give a quick stir before serving and you're good to go. That way you're not scrambling at the last minute to get your potatoes hot to the table. :)

barbara said...

I love this site!!!! I'm getting so many great ideas!! I love making meatballs in the c.p. for parties...letting them soak and cook in marinara all day long. YUM!

Amie said...

You'd be so proud of me...I've used my crockpot twice in the past two weeks. Both for chili...but still! =)

Traci said...

The 'mommy crack' is a neighborhood bunko favorite. I made the salsa chicken yesterday..YUM~O! We have leftovers that I'll use for another dish on Friday. I've followed your blog for several months. Purchased the cookbook and loaned it to a friend who is gluten-free. She's purchasing it also. Also, I posted your link on facebook and several friends are purchasing also. THANK YOU! You totally make my day!

The Hessers said...

I have been known to serve "make your own mashed potato sundaes" for New Year's Eve. It's pretty much what you can imagine-- mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with dishes of chopped bacon, onions, shredded cheese, crumbled blue cheese, mushrooms, salsa, chilli....For a cozy quiet get together, it's perfect. With enough topping options, it can be your app and main course because everyone just keeps going back

Cowen Family said...

Been a fan for awhile. I make my recipe for what I call Crock Pot beef. 1 Top Round Steak/London Broil. 1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix. 2-3 cans low sodium beef broth. 1-2 cans Campbells Golden Mushroom soup mix. (Sorry for the not exact measurements. I change the recipe depending on what I have on hand.) Cook on high 8 hours(some reason I feel this tenderizes the meat even more). Serve with potatoes. Can make a gravy with some of the sauce. I love having there be SO much sauce because the left over beef and broth works the next night as a soup base and I add the veggies/potatoes and heat. Cooking 1 night really turns into dinner for 2:)

Cowen Family said...

I just made Michelle Duggar's recipe for Creamy Chicken and Tortillas Crock Pot and it was yummy! Her original recipe: 4 c diced cooked chicken, 1 can cream mushroom soup, 1 can cream chicken soup, 1 c sour cream, 1 8oz jar salsa, 12 corn tortillas each cut into 6-8 triangles, 1/2-1c shredded cheese. Spray crockpot with Pam. Combine sauce items in large bowl. Layer chicken, tortillas, and sauce 2x in crockpot. Cook on low 4-5 hours. Last 15 minutes sprinkle with cheese. I used medium salsa...just enough flavor and no heat in whole dish. I would not use mild. I also added 30oz can drained pinto(but any other bean would be great!) beans. It was SO yummy!

Laura said...

Oh! Love this crockpot trio! saw it at Costco and gave hubby a strong hint!

Alice said...

I chuckled a bit at your comment about using many of your own crockpots using several at a time. I only have one crockpot and often wish I had a second one. I've looked at them but just can't afford a second one. Ours is still from my college days--about 25 years old--and I use it for my family of 6. Maybe someday I'll get a second one but probably by then I won't need it anymore! Thanks for your blog--I do love it even though I honestly don't prepare much of what I see. We stick to the same old stuff!

Alice

Anonymous said...

Even if you don't cook something in the slow cooker, it is a great way to serve and keep it warm at a party. We just had an Oktoberfest party and had 6 slow cookers going. Filled with potoato salad, red cabage, meatballs, etc.

Jessica Nunemaker said...

I'm a big fan of using the slow cooker to keep things warm! (like mashed taters)

It just isn't a holiday party unless there is slow simmering apple cider. YUM!

Thanks for more great recipes to try. :)

Lilith Silvermane said...

I was a crockpot freak this Halloween.

Pizza Fondue
Mommy crack (we put Chorizo, Velvetta and tripled the recipe) FANTASTIC!

I am using the crockpot for a Cranberry hot totty this Thanksgiving! Woooot!!!

THE ACTORS DIET said...

i just veganized one of your recipes and it turned out great - i can't wait to make it for a big group soon:

http://actorsdiet.blogspot.com/2009/11/lynn-bye-bye-summer-giveaway.html

Saralyn said...

When my family comes to my house to decorate Christmas cookies, I make a big batch of hot chocolate in the crockpot. That way everyone can refill as necessary. Sugar cookies and hot chocolate. . .mmmmmm

Rebecca F said...

I use two crockpots on Saint Patty's day to make tons of New England Boiled Dinner (corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions). I can clean the house and bake Irish soda bread worry free the rest of the day.

Martha said...

How can I receive or see your year
of cooking as if I were seeing it for the first time. I want to start on day 1 and proceed from there. Will you start over @ the beginning of the year posting your 2008 year? I am having a hard time
explaining this but maybe someone
gets my drift?

The Miedema-Familia said...

After months of coveting the trio slow cooker, I finally gave in- so what if I have no where to store it? Used it the other night for a social and loved it (great recipes, Stephanie1). I am now the proud owner of 7 crockpots and zero broiling pans... (just found that out as I tore my kitchen apart looking for one!)

Amy said...

I Love the 3 way slow cooker, I can't believe I've never seen it before, I will definately be adding that to my Christmas list.
I use my 5 for all of my parties, I usually just go with 2 but could definately use 3. I have so many favorites but I think the best is the Hot Artichoke dip! YUM...

Christy said...

I've been drooling over the trio slow cooker and am in hopes that hubby has been paying attention to all the hint dropping going on! You have so many amazing recipes on here! I love using my slow cookers with our busy family schedule. Will definitely be trying some and posting them! Thanks!

Lorei said...

Yippi! I'm so happy I found your blog!
I'm a 38 yrs old gal from Sweden, fully working, mom of one, 3 cats, one dog, a bunch of friends and NO time left. A couple of yrs ago I stumbled upon this magical mascine on the webb.... something you could load in the morning and have a ready dinner when you came home. The answer of ALL my problems. =) But where, OH WHERE could I find one? I've been looking ever since. And gave up. They are not for sale in Sweden!! My friends over in US is bragging over them, I read all over the net of theme, but no. Not here. I've been waiting for theme to be popular here to....not a sign. So...gave up again and ordered one from UK instead. Finally got my loved one just last week! And I say! Have been down in the sofa for a couple of days, caought a cold, and WOW I'm pleased! No effort and still serving my daughter healty, rich meals every day. She's happy, I'm happy and the dog loves the left overs. So...now I'm going through your recepies, try them out and rewrite theme in Swedish on my blog. Today we're having Thai chicken (own recipe though), yesterday Beef Steew and tomorrow Lasagna.
I really think this is my best buy ever! I really hope your book is for sale here, feel an urge to buy that too.
Big greetings from an almost winter cold Sweden!
// Linda

Adrienne said...

I am actually making your black bean salsa soup RIGHT NOW for company coming over tonight. I feel like I'm cheating because it's so easy and it means I won't have lots to do right when everyone is coming. I also like to make chili in my crockpot when we have people over and it's always a hit.

Tiffany said...

I just got your book and I LOVE it!!! Thanks for writing it!

~Tiffany

Jenny - AKA - frogmama said...

I think you need to name your slow cookers - especially that trio one :)

So have you thought about utilizing another kitchen appliance for a whole year again? I came across an old cookbook (circa 1981) about microwave cooking - they were even cooking bread in there! They made some good points about not needing as much fat to cook in it...

Have you seen Juila and Julia? I haven't yet - but from what I've heard of that movie, it makes me think a little bit of you and your adventure!!

KatherineTomasek said...

Sitting here enjoying your gingerbread lattes, and planning to make maple dijon chicken for dinner tonight. LOVE your cookbook! Bought one for our house and one as a housewarming gift. Going to order two more from Amazon as Christmas gifts. Awesome collection of recipes and I love the variety! Seems like everytime I get a slow cooker recipe it's all about beef stew and chili.

Anonymous said...

My crockpot has the two little vents in the lid too. I compensate for it by using Glad Press and Seal. One small piece on the inside and another small piece on the outside and it plugs the hole. It also sticks well enough that it doesn't fall off and into the food. (This was a major concern of mine.) It's also easy to clean up. Just pull off the Press and Seal and wash! Tried Press and Seal just on the outside but is still let out the steam.
Lisa

pinkgrrli said...

We use ours at every party! We have the 5.5 Q for Nacho Cheese, a 5.5 Q for pulled pork. This last Labor Day we bought the Trio used it for Taco Meat, Manwhich and Refried Beans. Plus Lil Dippers one for Atrichike/Spinach Dip and another for White Chocolate ganche! Our parties are EPIC!

Robyn said...

Just want to say that your book arrived in the mail a few days ago. It's a wonderful book. Tonight we are having the apricot chicken, tomorrow ribs! I also have the Sundried tomato dip in the small crock. I wanted to try it before Thanksgiving! Treat yourselves to this book, you will love it!:)

LannaM said...

My favorite Thanksgiving trick with my crockpot? Make my garlic mashed potatoes in the morning before the mad rush before the noon-time arrivals, and toss the already-mashed potatoes in the crockpot (with the lid on until serving time). They stay nice and warm and yummy.

Wendy said...

I usually bring Beef & Guinness stew/stoup. It's based off Paula Deen's recipe for the stew (on Food Network's website) but I add more Guinness, and potatoes. Because seriously, what's an Irish stew without potatoes?

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Yup the dips look delish!!! Chili is always hit around here :).

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...

Thanks for this list. I am new to your blog and recipes. I did try the Apricot Chicken tonight. Will be trying the sweet potato dish tomorrow for Turkey Day. Thanks!

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