Because you’ve gotta get food on the table.
Heat 2 tbsp veg oil in a stainless skillet over med-high. Season 13/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces, with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Add to pan and brown, turning, 4 min. Transfer to slow cooker along with one 20 oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup garlic-stuffed green olives, halved, 1 tbsp anchovy paste, 1 tsp packed fresh oregano, minced, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cover and cook on HIGH for 51/2 hr. During last 1/2 hr, cook 11/2 cups orzo on stovetop per pkg directions. Serve chicken over orzo. Serves 6.
Red Wine–braised Beef
Toss 3 lbs beef stew meat with 1/4 cup AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Brown in 3 tbsp veg oil in 2 batches over high for 3 min per batch. Transfer to slow cooker along with 10 oz mushrooms, cleaned, quartered and tossed with 2 tsp AP flour. Stir in 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins, and 1 medium onion, diced. Pour 11/2 cups red wine into same skillet and bring to a simmer, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Add to slow cooker along with a few sprigs fresh thyme. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hr. Remove thyme stems and discard. Adjust seasoning and serve over mashed potatoes or polenta. Serves 6.
MAKE AHEAD Cook, drain and refrigerate spaghetti. Mix peppers with marinara, Parm, salt and pepper and pop in the fridge.
Cook 1 lb spaghetti for half the time directed on pkg. Drain. Meanwhile, coat a large slow cooker with cooking spray and dust bottom and halfway up sides with 3 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs. Whisk 4 large eggs. Drain one 12 oz jar roasted red peppers and chop. Combine spaghetti, 3 cups marinara sauce, red peppers, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Fold in eggs and add to prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp each grated Parmesan and bread crumbs. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hr. Serve with additional marinara sauce on the side. Serves 6.
SMART AND SAFE
• As much as we all want to pile a bunch of ingredients into the crock and leave for work, many foods—like beef or pork—benefit from browning first. • Never add stillfrozen foods to the crock. They may not reach the proper temperature to cook through and kill harmful bacteria. • Use the right size slow cooker for your dish, filling it no more than two-thirds full (we used a 6 qt crock). • Older slow cookers can be inefficient. Newer models have features like auto shut-off and Bluetooth connectivity.