The most famous slow cooker brand, the “Crock-Pot,” was sold by the Rival Manufacturing Co. However, Rival was not the inventor of the slow cooker device. Instead, credit goes to Irving Naxon, who, in 1936, created a portable device in which to cook his family’s cholent stew recipe. Today’s slow cookers are super easy to use. All one needs to do is plug it in, add ingredients, cover, and turn it on to a high or low setting for the desired amount of cooking time. The food generally requires no stirring or attention, and the cooker will beep when the meal is ready. Most recipes can be prepped in the morning and are fully cooked by dinner time. Folks often find it pleasurable to walk into the kitchen to capture delicious scents arising from the slow cooker. Being able to put a scrumptious meal on the table in minutes is a great bonus. Enjoy these two-three main- ingredient recipes that are bound to taste delicious. Note that cooking times are approximate, and meat must be cooked through.
SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS
4 thick-cut bone-in pork chops
1 teaspoon minced garlic (spice optional)
½ cup chopped button mushrooms
2 jars of prepared mushroom gravy mix, 12 oz. each
1 jar of water (use the gravy mix jar)
Place pork chops and other ingredients inside the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours) until meat is fully cooked and tender.
SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH GROUND PORK SAUSAGE AND FENNEL
1 package of lean ground mild Italian sausage, no casing, 16 oz. *
2 jars of spaghetti sauce, 24 oz. each
1 Tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours) until sauce is hot and meat is fully cooked. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.
*If desired, meat may be browned before cooking, fat discarded. If meat is fully cooked, adjust cooking time to 4 to 5 hours on low, or 3 hours on high, until sauce is heated through. (Tip: To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the pork sausage entirely or replace it with vegan ‘meat’ crumbles.)