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Simplicity in the kitchen

August 3, 2012
By MIKE HUGHES - The Scene , Times Leader

The kitchen is a great place to try and make your life easier.

You can't beat good food. But sometimes, you don't have the time, energy or culinary expertise to craft a delicious meal.

For those without the time to spend whipping up an extravagant meal, there is the cook's best friend, the crock pot.

It's the true "set it and forget it" kitchen apparatus.

You simply throw in the ingredients and set the pot to low in the morning and head to work. By the time you return home, your house is filled with the wondrous smells of a quality meal permeating the air and your nostrils.

And yet, you can make this even simpler.

There are an abundance of five-ingredient slow cooker recipes to be found online and in cookbooks. Are they simple? Yes. Do they still taste good, despite the simplicity? Of course.

What's better than a meal that's easy to make, requires little prep work and ingredients and still tastes excellent?

Here are a few easy to prepare recipes, both using a slow cooker and more conventional cooking methods:

Creamy Chicken Casserole


1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 small can mushroom pieces

1/2 chopped red onion

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup white wine


Put all the ingredients into the pot and turn on low. Let cook four hours. For every additional two hours after the initial four, add a 1/4 cup .water

Spaghetti with Butter

and Herbs


14 ounces spaghetti

2 handfuls mixed fresh herbs

1/2 cup butter, diced

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta for 10-12 minutes in a large pan. Chop fresh herbs. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add butter and after it melts, add the herbs. Toss pasta over medium heat until thoroughly coated in the butter. Plate pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Chinese Pork Roast


2 lbs. boneless pork loin

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup dry sherry

2 tablespoons honey


Preheat oven to 325. Place pork in roasting pan or casserole. Combine soy sauce, ginger and pour over pork. Bake for one hour. Combine sherry and honey and pour over pork. Bake another thirty minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Beer Cheese Chowder


6 potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 onions, chopped

1 can beer

1 can chicken broth

2 cups shredded Colby cheese

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and white pepper


Combine all ingredients, minus the cheese, in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Using potato masher, partially mash vegetables. Stir in cheese. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Barbecued Chicken


2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

10 ounce can condensed tomato soup

2 onions, chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon white pepper


Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook 7-9 hours until chicken is tender.



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