Crockpot Dessert Recipes – Free Up Your Valuable Oven Space For The Main Course

Does shuffling around your dishes in and out of the oven get complicated during a big holiday meal? We like to have several desserts, so that usually means something’s got to come out of the oven so the desserts can start going in. This can get rather tedious and can result in some real timing … Continue reading “Crockpot Dessert Recipes – Free Up Your Valuable Oven Space For The Main Course”

Does shuffling around your dishes in and out of the oven get complicated during a big holiday meal? We like to have several desserts, so that usually means something’s got to come out of the oven so the desserts can start going in. This can get rather tedious and can result in some real timing dilemmas.


Why not put your crockpot to work for you this year? Transform your old favorite dessert recipes into crockpot dessert recipes and free up your oven for what it was meant for… the Turkey and Green Bean Casserole!

I chose three of my family’s favorite desserts to make this year in my crockpot in order to free up my oven space and stove top for other dishes. Let’s see how we can put my crockpot to work.

Apple Brown Betty
If you make this dessert in the oven, you have to time it just right so that you’re pulling it out only a few minutes before serving. That’s because it’s better served hot with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. You can basically use all the ingredients you normally do, but I add a little more butter. You’re going to cook it on low for a couple hours so that’s all the timing required. No last minute switching casseroles around so you can get this dessert done at the perfect time.

My recipe is sort of a variation of both apple crisp and bread pudding, so a crunchy topping is optional. If you like, you can mix together the ingredients for the topping in a saucepan, then top the apple dessert either in the bowls or in the slow cooker just before serving.

PB and Chocolate Brownie
Brownies are always yummy, but this brownie dessert tops them all with the added peanut butter! You begin with a regular brownie mix, but the dessert isn’t cut into squares like normal brownies. You spoon the dessert into bowls instead of cutting them into traditional brownie squares. Serve while hot so that the added ice cream or whipped topping melts a little.

Top this brownie dessert with some sprinkles of Reese’s Pieces or other candy topping that you like. Cut a peanut butter cup in quarters and garnish with one quarter for each serving. You want to time the cooking and serving of this so that you are ready to scoop up your dessert just minutes after you shut off the heat.

Pecan Crust Cheesecake
One of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. It’s fun using what can be considered a mini oven. Basically, you use the same recipe you normally would. The important thing to keep in mind is you’ll be using a 7″ springform pan so you need to make sure it will fit. A 5 or 6 quart size is usually big enough, but measure to be sure. Then, make a simple graham cracker crust with some finely chopped pecans added, form the crust in the bottom and up the sides a little in your pan. Make the filling according to the recipe you normally use, then fill your pan.

You’ll need to put a small rack in the bottom to hold the springform pan off the bottom. If you don’t have a rack that fits, just pull a good length of aluminum foil off the roll and form a donut shape out of it to support the pan. Just be sure the pan is at least an inch off the bottom. You want to cook your cheesecake on high for several hours, then shut off the heat and let it sit in there for another hour or until it’s cool enough to handle. Then you’ll let it cool completely on a rack on the counter before you remove the pan from the cheesecake.

Rather than sacrificing your favorite holiday desserts for lack of room in your oven, put your crockpot to work for you. Re-creating your old favorite dessert recipes into new crockpot dessert recipes will save you time and stress, and will get everything on the table as planned… hot, bubbly, and delicious!

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Learn How Long to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Crockpot With These 5 Simple Tips

Have you ever asked anyone how long to cook a whole chicken in a crockpot? If so, were you even more baffled afterward? Did you walk away and start looking through recipes? I’ll bet the answer got further and further away. Now you are even more confused, right?


The reason for all this confusion is because the answer varies depending on a great many things. Some cooks just grab the first recipe they find and try to adapt it to a whole chicken. That’s when they usually start scratching their heads and looking even more perplexed. Let’s take a look at some of the variables to be considered when cooking a whole chicken in a crockpot:

The Term Itself – How do you interpret the term “whole chicken?” Believe it or not, that simple term can be confusing. A chicken may be considered whole if it remains in one piece. Or, you may use the term “whole chicken” to refer to an “entire chicken.” See the difference? An entire chicken can be cut into halves, quarters, or pieces. That definitely affects cooking time.

The Chicken Recipe – If you choose a crispy rotisserie chicken style of recipe, you will time your crockpot differently than if you have a chicken recipe loaded with lots of vegetables. A big pile of carrots and potatoes sitting around your chicken will cause a chicken to cook differently than if it is cooking in dry heat, rotisserie style.

The Chicken Preparation – In order to provide a little color and extra flavor, many people like to brown the chicken in oil before putting it in the crockpot. If you do, your chicken has begun to cook, so it won’t need as long to cook in the crockpot. And, what about those times you put stuffing in your bird? That will always add more time in order to get the inside cooked all the way through.

The Bird Itself – Don’t forget the size of the chicken. If your chicken is around three pounds, it won’t have to cook as long as a big six pound chicken. And the room around the bird, inside of the crockpot, also will make a difference. If you’re trying to cook a chicken that doesn’t have enough air space around it, you’ll need to readjust your thinking.

The Crockpot – The simple design and features of the crockpot play a role, too. Is your chicken able to lay down in a nice big six quart oval crock? Will you be starting your dish on high heat and finishing on low heat? Do you have a brand new super-insulated model or an old model that sits on top of a burner with little or no insulation? How tight does the lid fit?

You want to know how long to cook a whole chicken in a crockpot? It’s still confusing, isn’t it. Don’t fret. Just go ahead and experiment and soon you’ll have a nice collection of your own favorite crockpot recipes to make with chicken – whole or otherwise.

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Powdered Milk is Versatile and Frugal

There is beauty to cooking with and using powdered milk. It is far more than just a powdering substance that sits on the shelf for years at time waiting for some major catastrophe to be removed and used. So what is it about powered milk that is so great?

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a powder made from dried (dehydrated) milk solids. Due to its low moisture content, powdered milk has a far longer shelf life than its liquid counterpart and does require refrigeration. At one time people shunned at the thought of powdered milk but today more and more people are embracing the wonders of milk solids.

Using powdered milk is economically friendly being that is not only cheaper, but, as mentioned earlier, it last longer than liquid milk. It is also good for stockpiling in cases of emergency. Using powdered milk is also economical because in the event that you run out of liquid milk, you can just run over to your pantry, instead of the store, and grab that box of milk solids. Imagine what you save in gas.

As far as cooking with powdered milk, it is definitely something you want to consider. And don’t limit yourself with what you can do with it.

You can use powder milk to make macaroni and cheese. Think about it if you buy boxed mac and cheese, they use dried cheese which is what? Dairy, just like powdered milk and with the right ingredients you can create your own recipe using milk solids instead of liquid milk.

Powdered milk is frequently used in baking; in recipes where adding liquid milk would render the product too thin to be used. It is also a common in wherever fresh milk is not a viable option. You can also use it to make your own fat free cream soup base. And I would be remiss if I did not mention that you can also make sweetened condense milk and even sour cream with this handy and useful powder.

If your kids are chocolate or flavored milk fans, then powdered milk is a great way to provide them with all the healthy benefits of liquid milk while saving a few dollars by utilizing the powdered version for drinks that required milk. You can also use powdered milk to whipping cream, yogurt and other dairy items.

If your mother used powdered milk and you remember a watered down version of your favorite creamy white drink, don’t let it stop you from trying it again. The taste has gotten better over the years and you really can’t beat the economical value of powdered milk.


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How to Make the Perfect Frozen Fruit Smoothie Recipe

At my house, we just love frozen fruit smoothies. They are simple to make and are actually good for you. You can make these delicious cool drinks with just about any type of fruit or even combine different types of fruit. Let me explain exactly how to make a frozen fruit smoothie. It is quite simple.

Fruit Smoothie

To Make These Amazing Smoothies You Will Need:
We’ll start with the equipment. You will need a blender to make good smoothies. A regular blender will do the job. A small, personal blender like the magic bullet is nice to have because you can customize each smoothie. Of course regular blenders work just as well, plus you can make more servings at a time.
Frozen fruit comes next. Frozen smoothies can be made with all sorts of different fruit and and feel free to mix and match as well. Great fruit to start with is strawberry, peach and banana.

Yogurt makes another great addition to just about any smoothie. They give it a nice tangy flavor and creamy texture. Low or non-fat yogurts are the most figure-friendly, but you can use any type of yogurt as well as any flavor. You can also use Greek yogurt which is thicker and has more protein per serving.

The last ingredient you need in your smoothie is a liquid to thin the drink out and make it blendable. You can use water, milk or your favorite juice. Add just enough liquid to get the smoothie to the consistency you like. A good ratio to use is 2-1-1 (frozen fruit – yogurt – liquid). A good example would be 2 cups frozen strawberries blended with 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt and 1 cup skim milk.

Add more or less liquid until your smoothie gets the consistency you like best. You can also throw in a few ice cubes and blend them into your smoothie

Time to Blend:
Let’s talk about blending. Start by blending the fruit and yogurt a little, then add your liquid and blend away. If your blender has a pulsing function (most do) use it. It allows any larger piece of fruit to sink back down to the bottom and get chopped up. That way you will end up with a nice smooth smoothie.

If your blender starts working too hard, it’s time to add a little more liquid to make sure everything moves around well.

For smoothie recipes that call for ice in it, start with the ice and chop it up in your blender before you add the remaining ingredients. It will help mix the other ingredients together.

I tend to make most of my frozen fruit smoothies with only frozen fruit, but you can also use a combination of fresh and frozen. You can purchase the frozen fruit at the store, or freeze your own when it is in season. It is very easy to freezer berries for example. Just put them in a freezer bag and freeze them whole.

Slices of frozen banana make a great addition to just about any fruit smoothie. Whenever you find yourself with a banana that’s getting a little too ripe, peel it, and then slice it. Put them into a freezer bag and freeze until you need them for a smoothie. Adding them gives your smoothie a nice creamy texture and adds some sweetness as well.

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Your First Vegetarian Holiday Season – Some Great Cooking Tips

If you have just gone vegetarian and are coming up to you first vegetarian holiday season, or if you find yourself cooking for a vegetarian this holiday season this is the article for you. A vegetarian holiday season need not be a gloomy series of substitutes for meat. Vegetarian fare can be festive in its own right.


A good nut roast is one of the delights of the vegetarian table. It takes some time to make so it is not something that vegetarians eat every day. But it takes much less time than a turkey.

You will need a selection of nuts and this is season of nuts. You will also need a food processor to grind them to a paste. The kind of nuts you use influences the flavour and colour of the finished roast. Almonds, walnuts, cashews and some hazel nuts make an excellent vegetarian roast but be guided by your own tastes.
Grind the nuts and season them with salt, pepper and spices. Nutmeg is an ideal spice to use. Add some liquid such as vegetable stock and put the mixture into a tin. It should be baked in the oven for about an hour depending on size.

To accompany your vegetarian roast you will need sauces. Cranberry sauce is fine for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. An onion gravy made with vegetable stock will be eaten by all your guests.
Stuffing can be cooked in a separate dish. A combination of brown rice, dried fruit, chopped apples and spices will make a delicious accompaniment to the vegetarian roast. Just avoid adding meat fat. Rely on vegetable fat such as vegetarian suet.

For the visual aspect of a festive vegetarian meal you need to think about vegetables. Decorate your table with a variety of vegetable dishes. Baked squashes make a spectacular centre piece. Stuffed vegetables will show that you have taken that little bit of extra care about the meal.

If your meal is to be entirely vegetarian give the vegetables centre stage on your table. Their colours will delight the eyes of your diners. If you are entertaining vegetarians and non-vegetarians then the turkey will have to take pride of place. But all your guests will be able to tuck into the vegetarian dishes. Your meal may open their eyes to the world of vegetarian cuisine.

Remember that your vegetarian guests may be vegan. If you cannot ascertain this in advance then it will be as well to avoid the use of eggs and milk in your vegetarian dishes. A nust roast is often bound together with eggs but this is not essential. Cream sauces for dessert can be made from ground nuts. Cashews are always popular for this. Soya cream is also available.

When creating a cheese board take care to ensure that at least one cheese is made without rennet. Rennet comes from the lining of a cow’s stomach and many vegetarians will not eat it. You might also like to have a few soy based cheeses. The soft soy based cheeses are an excellent option for guests who are watching their cholesterol levels as well as vegetarians and vegans.

The whole point of a holiday season is to share with friends and family. So if you are a non-vegetarian cooking for vegetarians or you are a vegetarian cooking for non-vegetarians make your festive table welcoming to all.

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