2013-09-06 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Slow cooker perfect for summer recipes
By Connie Wendell
Special Contributor

Usually when summer hits, I put my slow cooker away until fall. It’s great through the fall and winter for cooking warm, comforting soups and stews. This year I didn’t put it away. During the intense heat, I used it for side dishes. Grill outside and slow cook inside makes for a cool kitchen. I’ve included some new recipes I tried this summer. They have become favorite with us and I think you’ll agree.

Wild rice with corn and basil

2 teaspoons vegetable oil; 1 ½ cups chopped onions (3 medium); 2 cloves garlic, minced; cooking spray; 2 ½ cups chopped yellow, orange and/or red sweet peppers; ¾ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained; ¾ - 1 cup fresh corn cut from the cob; salt and pepper to taste; 2 ¼ cups boiling water; ¾ cup pecans, toasted; 1/3 cup snipped fresh basil

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir just until onions are tender. Lightly coat a slow cooker with cooking spray. Add onion mixture, sweet peppers, uncooked rice, corn and salt and pepper. Stir in the boiling water. Cover and cook on lowheat setting for 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 ½ hours. To serve, stir in pecans and basil. Serves 12.

Succotash

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes; 1 (16 ounce) package frozen lima beans or edamame; 2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob; 3 cups coarsely chopped round red potatoes; ½ cup sliced scallions; ½ cup chicken broth; salt and pepper to taste; 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Ina4to5quartslowcooker,combineundrainedtomatoes, lima beans or edamame, corn, potatoes and scallions. Add broth, salt, pepper and thyme. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours. Serves 12.

Thyme-garlic chicken breasts

3-4 pounds bone-in chicken breast halves; 6 cloves garlic, minced; 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme, crushed; salt and pepper to taste; ¼ cup orange juice – (I used lemon juice and it was fabulous!); 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; 10 ounces mixed greens; ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered; ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved; ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese; ½ bottled vinaigrette dressing

Remove and discard skin from chicken. Sprinkle chicken with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Place chicken in a 3 ½ or 4 quart slow cooker. Pour orange juice and vinegar over chicken. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 ½ hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker; cover and keep warm. Discard cooking juices. In a large bowl, toss together greens, tomatoes, olives and feta; divide among serving plates. Slice chicken from the bones, discarding the bones. Top each salad with some of the chicken. Drizzle dressing over salads. Serves 6 – 8.

Give ‘em a try and keep cool. Until next time, keep “Cooking on Purpose.”

Connie Wendell can be reached at cooking on cookingonpurpose@yahoo.com.

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