Vancouver Sun

Seven ways to wow with a slow cooker


Think all your slow cooker is good for is cranking out pots of chili and beef stew? Think again!

This versatile kitchen workhorse can be put to use for all manner of things you probably never realized.

Here are seven things you didn’t know you could do with your slow cooker:

Fruit sauce: Combine 3 pounds (1.4 kg) of cored and sliced apples (or other fruit) with 1/2 cup (125 mL) matching fruit juice, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoon­s (30 mL) butter. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Purée or process with a blender, immersion blender or food processor to your desired level of smoothness. Optionally, stir in 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) nutmeg or 1 tablespoon (15 mL) vanilla extract or cognac. Serve over pancakes, waffles, ice cream or oatmeal.

Cobbler: Combine 2 pounds (907 g) frozen peaches or mangoes with 1/3 cup (80 mL) packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground dry ginger, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Top with canned or homemade biscuit dough and cook for 2 to 3 hours on high or 4 to 6 hours on low.

Mulled cider or wine: Combine 1 gallon (4.5 L) apple cider or 3 bottles of red wine with 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar, 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice, the zest of 1 orange peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cloves, 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunk of fresh ginger, sliced, and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) whole allspice. Cook for 1 to 2 hours on high or 3 to 4 hours on low.

Hot chocolate: Combine 1/2 gallon (2.25 L) whole milk, 2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream, 12 ounces (340 g) each of milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips, and a vanilla bean that has been split and scraped. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 1 to 2 hours, stirring once or twice to mix the melted chocolate thoroughly with the milk and cream.

Chocolate-peanut but ter snack mix: Combine 4 cups (1 L) Corn Chex cereal, 4 cups (1 L) Cheerios, 2 cups (500 mL) miniature pretzels and 2 cups (500 mL) peanuts with 12 ounces (340 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup (250 mL) smooth peanut butter. Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring 1 to 2 times per hour. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Oatmeal: Combine 2 cups (500 mL) water, 2 cups (500 mL) milk, 1 cup (250 mL) steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Add fruit, spices, brown sugar or maple syrup as desired.

Coconut rice pudding: Combine a 15-ounce (444 mL) can of coconut milk with 2 cups (500 mL) water, 1/2 cup (125 mL) light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) nutmeg, a pinch of salt and 1 cup (250 mL) short-grain white rice. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

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