Time for the Crock-Pot

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

Tick tock: Save time cooking dinner with these Crock-Pot recipes.

Time is too slow for those who wait

Too swift for those who fear

Too long for those who grieve

Too short for those who rejoice

But for those who love,

Time is eternity.

— Henry van Dyke

Time — You can’t own it or hold it, but it is precious. A friend of mine frequently reminds me “to be in the moment,” to be fully engaged in the here and now. It’s mindfulness. The present moment is aptly named. It’s a timely gift.

Daylight-saving time begins this Sunday, which means we acquire an extra hour of daylight time. (Reminder: Your clocks need to “spring” forward, if they’re powered by you and not by your computer.)

With spring in the air and more daylight in the offing, who doesn’t want to be outdoors?

Whether it’s gardening, watching that little league baseball game, walking the dog or whatever — dust off your Crock-Pot. With a little preparation, your Crock-Pot can have your dinner ready while you are busy. An added bonus is how good your kitchen smells when you return home.

This recipe can be made with or without the broccoli. If you like broccoli al dente, microwave it for a few minutes instead of putting it into the Crock-Pot. Drain well, and add or serve with the following recipe. Although this recipe is just as good without the broccoli.

THE GENERAL’S SWEET/SPICY GLAZED CHICKEN

1 head broccoli, cut into florets (if using)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½–2 lbs.), cut into 1-inch, bite-sized pieces

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

½ cup hoisin sauce

½ cup honey

½ cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 tsp. sesame oil

1½ tsp. pepper flakes

3 scallions, chopped, white part only (reserve green top parts for garnish)

1 clove garlic, minced

Garnish: Sesame seeds and reserved chopped green scallion tops

Add the chicken and cornstarch to a large bowl or large ziplock bag. Toss to coat the chicken with the cornstarch.

In a large skillet, heat oil to medium, and add chicken pieces.

Saute about 2 minutes on each side or until chicken is golden brown, but not fully cooked.

Cut the broccoli into florets, and add to the Crock-Pot.

In a large microwavable bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, pepper flakes, garlic and scallions. Microwave for 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the sauce bowl and stir to coat the chicken.

Pour the chicken and sauce over the broccoli.

Cook on Low for 2½–3 hours, or until chicken is done and broccoli is tender but not mushy.

If, after cooking, your sauce does not thicken enough for your taste, remove chicken and broccoli to a serving dish.

Pour liquid from Crock-Pot into a pot on the range. Bring sauce to a boil.

Cook a few minutes until sauce bubbles and thickens. Pour over chicken and broccoli.

Garnish with sesame seeds/scallions.

Serve with rice.

MANHATTAN CLAM CHOWDER

4 slices bacon, cut up and microwaved

1 cup onions, chopped

1½ cups celery, leaves included, chopped

½ cup carrots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans chopped clams, with juice

1 bottle clam juice (8 oz.)

½ cup water

1 can tomatoes (28 oz.), broken up

1 bay leaf

½ cup fresh parsley, minced

½ tsp. pepper

2 tsp. dried thyme

3 medium potatoes, pared and diced

Add all ingredients to the Crock-Pot.

Cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Remove bay leaf.

KIELBASA IN THE CROCK-POT

2 lbs. kielbasa

Cut kielbasa into 4-inch pieces, and add to Crock-Pot. Use no water.

Cook on High for about 2 hours. Kielbasa will become slightly browned.

(This also works well for hot dogs, but reduce cooking time to 1 hour.)

Eat well live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.