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Favorite slow cooker recipes?

Thanks for the reply and the suggestion! This sounds easy and delicious.

Dec 24, 2012
nugentc in Home Cooking

Favorite slow cooker recipes?

I'm looking to put together a collection of recipes for someone new to crockpot cooking. (I've gone over my dollar amount limit for the gift exchange and would otherwise just buy a book.) What are your favorite go-to recipes?

I'm looking for things that aren't really complex, don't require maintenance throughout, and don't use exotic ingredients (they live in a small town), but at the same time don't rely entirely on just dumping in lots of processed foods (although some of this is okay). I'd especially appreciate recipes for things beyond soups and stews, although if there is a huge crowd-pleaser in this category I'd like to know.

Thanks in advance!

Dec 23, 2012
nugentc in Home Cooking

Immersion blenders and herbs

Yes, they were in the soup itself, so they were wet by that point. I tried a lot of scraping off and re-blending, but they simply would not chop. Sounds like it might not be a problem with the hand blender itself. Good idea to chop beforehand.
Thanks, all!

Nov 07, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Immersion blenders and herbs

Based on some bad reviews for various problems with the otherwise popular KitchenAid and Cuisinart immersion blenders, I went out on a limb and bought the Juiceman version. (It turns out it also has plastic gears in the connection, although I thought it didn't.)

Last night we tried it on some pea soup with mint leaves in it and the blender had real trouble with the mint. It couldn't cut/blend it at all and all of the mint ended up getting stuck in the holes on the sides where the blended food exits the little blade housing. The leaves were small, thin, and very tender, but I guess I expected them to puree with everything else.

So I'm wondering: Is this just a problem with immersion blenders in general? Can they not really chop up very thin, tender herbs like mint, cilantro, and parsley? I'm worried about spinach as well. Or do some of you have immersion blenders that do well with these and this is just something faulty with my model's blades? It has multiple speeds and a power boost and none handled it any differently.

Nov 07, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

Thanks for the helpful replies, everyone! I really appreciate the time!

Mar 18, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

I actually don't care about matching cookware or the aesthetics of it at all. I've been using mix-and-match pieces from cheapo sets, curbside finds, and clearance shelves for nearly the last 15 years. I'm not sure if that speaks more to how much I don't care about aesthetics or how much I'm a tightwad. =)

I guess it just seems like if I bought set #1 I would want a cast iron skillet. And if I bought set #2 I would want either the "jumbo cooker" knet has identified or a 5/6-ish quart SS pot of some kind (like the SS Dutch oven). So to me the dilemma really is: Will I ever want a cast iron Dutch oven specifically, or is the SS one just as good (it's oven safe up to a higher temp than the CI one because of the plastic-y handle on the CI DO). What are the specific advantages of an enameled cast iron DO? If there aren't any that would matter to me, then I save more money in the long run by buying set #1 and adding the CI skillet than I do by buying set #2 and adding "jumbo cooker" or something comparable. But I need to first make sure I don't "miss out" on something really great about CI vs. SS Dutch ovens. Does that help clarify my question?

Mar 16, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

kaleokahu, you say way up above that the presence of a cast iron Dutch oven is a minor plus over #1. Why?

People seem to really prefer #2, and not because of the extra hard anodized nonstick skillet (most say they would throw/give it away). So what if #1 included a cast iron skillet also--would you then choose the enameled CI Dutch oven or the SS clad Dutch oven and why?

Mar 16, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

Wow, thanks for the very helpful discussion, everyone. I really appreciate your time!

paulj, I approached this whole process thinking that it would be better to buy single pieces, but then I ran into these two sets and the great reviews of Tramontina clad. As Bruce McK points out, these sets contain pieces that are more useful sizes (i.e., larger) than most other sets on the market. I still thought about just buying a few single pieces from open stock, but they quickly add up to the price of the set, making the sets a real bargain. Many say they have found individual pieces from these sets at Marshall's or TJMaxx. I've looked there quite a bit because I'd rather not give my money to Walmart, but I haven't been so lucky to find any. I also looked for restaurant supply stores but am having a hard time tracking those down. Do you recommend doing something else? Budget is a concern.

So what would you all use to make a Thai (or Indian) curry on the stovetop? This usually involves a little frying of some onions/meat and curry paste, then adding coconut milk and other ingredients to simmer for a while. We've typically done it in our very large (maybe 12 inch?) skillet, which nearly overfills most times.

Mar 14, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

Thanks, kaleokahu. Set #1 isn't non-stick, though. It's all stainless steel clad.

By all reports the Tramontina clad cookware in both sets is virtually indistinguishable from All-Clad. Even Cooks Illustrated test kitchens had a hard time finding any meaningful differences between them. I read a thread on here that reported exact thickness measurements of the layers, and I don't think the Al was foil thin. I feel pretty comfortable with the quality of the SS clad, but I don't know how their enameled cast iron Dutch oven and cast iron skillets do in reviews. I'm also not sure how much I'd use those two particular pieces. Some people live and die by their cast iron skillet. Are we really missing out on something special by not owning an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (instead of crock pot) and cast iron skillet?

Mar 13, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

Thanks for your helpful replies!

Mar 13, 2011
nugentc in Cookware

Tramontina cookware sets: All stainless steel clad or some SS/some cast iron?

I've read some good threads on here about stainless steel vs. cast iron cookware generally, but none have really answered my dilemma. I'm trying to decide between two Tramontina cookware sets:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-10-Piece-18-10-Stainless-Steel-TriPly-Clad-Cookware-Set/11072505

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produc...

Obviously one set comes with "more" pieces, but non-stick pans don't last a really long time. I like cooking but haven't ever owned any quality cookware and haven't ever cooked with SS or cast iron.

From what I read, it seems like with the all-SS set, I'd still like to add a cast iron skillet. With the set that has cast iron, I might want to add a larger 6- or 8- quart SS pot/Dutch oven to boil potatoes, pasta, etc. I could do this in the cast iron Dutch oven, but it seems like water would heat and boil more quickly in one that is SS clad. I'm not sure yet if the cast iron Dutch oven and/or 12-qt SS stock pots would see a lot of use because my husband really likes making stew, chili, soup, roasts, etc. in the crock pot. Does one contain a pot/pan that would be better suited to making Thai curry (this is one thing I have liked to make in the past but have always made it in our large non-stick skillet).

How do we decide between these sets? I change my mind daily about which one would be best for one reason or another. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Mar 12, 2011
nugentc in Cookware