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Creativity and the Crock Pot

Written by Anna Aughenbaugh
I like to cook and like to make large recipes that will give us leftovers to use for quick lunches. Experimenting with old recipes to give them new flavors and textures lets me use my creativity in the kitchen, and I often improvise with ingredients I have on hand and come up with a brand new dish.
    There are so many things that I have to do, and many things on my “want to do” list. Using my crock pot gives me extra time that, without it, would be spent standing in front of the stove, not in the garden, sewing or reading.
    These recipes are tasty and easy, with a little help from the produce section.
Crock-Pot Short Ribs
4 lbs. bone-in short ribs
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup beef broth
1 ¼ cups dark beer
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. thyme
2 cups carrots cut in two-inch chunks
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp.  Dijon mustard
    Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook meat for 5 minutes, turn over once. Put meat into crock pot. Put onion in skillet and cook 2 minutes. Add broth, 1 cup of beer, sugar and thyme to skillet. Bring to a boil, then pour over ribs. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 7 hours. Put carrots and mushrooms on top of ribs when there are 2 ½ hours remaining. Whisk together ¼ cup beer, ¼ tsp. each salt & pepper cornstarch and mustard; stir into crock-pot. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Serve over noodles.
Broccoli Slaw
½ cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup cider vinegar
1 pkg.  chicken-flavored Ramen noodles
1 pkg. broccoli slaw (found in produce section)
1 cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup sliced almonds
    In a bowl mix sugar, oil, vinegar and seasoning packet together; stir in noodles. Let sit for ½ hour to soften noodles. Stir in broccoli slaw, sunflower seeds and almonds. Refrigerate 1 hour. Serves 10.
Cherry Pie Filling Dessert
1 can cherry pie filling
1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 yellow cake mix (dry)
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut    
    Mix pie filling and pineapple together; spread in a greased 9x13” pan. Sprinkle cake mix over fruit. Drizzle butter over top and sprinkle with nuts and coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with ice cream or whipped topping.