Dinner - Cheap and Easy!

October 6, 2009

It's on everybody's mind: "How to get the homework finished, shuttle your kids to after-school activities and have dinner ready?"

So I decided it was time to learn how to use a crockpot. I got some help from a local expert in slow cooking.

It sounds too good to be true, but Pam Chester, known as the Savvy Slow Cooker, says more and more women are pulling out their crockpots to make cheaper, easier, and healthier meals.

Pam Chester, author of "Savvy Slow Cooker": "It's really a way to cook that takes very little work. You put it together in the morning and come home to a nice fresh meal that's not fast food. It's good and wholesome."

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Roast
Pasta Fagioli Soup

Pam studied at the French Culinary Institute and now writes for CDKitchen.com where there are hundreds of recipes for slowcookers. In her kitchen, she showed me one for Apple Cider Glazed Pork Roast. We put 2 sliced onions in the crock pot with 4 cut up apples. Then came the 3-1/2 pound seasoned pork loin. "This goes right on top of your apples and onions. Probably a good idea to put it on top of th apples so it's not sitting on the bottom. It would burn on the bottom."

Sprinkle garlic and herbs on the roast and add 1 cup of red bliss potatoes and 4-6 carrots along the side. "I cut everything large because of the long cooking time it kind of retains the texture, so you really have a complete meal. You have a one dish meal."

You have to use a lot of liquid to braise the pork and keep it tender. Pam mixed 2 cups of apple cider, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, dried and fresh ginger, and one tablespoon of brown sugar. It cooks for 7 or 8 hours. The meal took about 15 minutes to prepare and get this -- it will feed a family of 4 --and costs only $10!!!

You can get more slow cooker recipes at http://crockpot.cdkitchen.com/.

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