Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures
Slow cooking is a great way to serve your family - and yourself - delicious home-cooked meals without the home-cooked time commitment.
Spring is all about new beginnings. The sky pushes aside gray clouds to unveil a glistening sun against a beautiful blue cerulean. Tiny buds and flowers start to sprout, speckling the green grass with cheery yellows, pinks and purples. Birds chirp and send out a welcome throughout the trees.
Let's face it, along with these wonderful signs of spring, this time of year tends to be the busiest. Almost everyone comes out of hibernation and begins their spring sports schedules, outdoor activities, and even attempt to fight the constant battle with unpredictable weather. As the old idiom goes, "April showers bring May flowers." So, why not gain control of these exciting months and have your own new beginning.
If you've always wanted to be more adventurous in the kitchen without sacrificing time and energy, using a slow-cooker is the key to making some of the most mouth-watering dishes. Below are ten tasty recipes to try this season.
Add a little bit of spice this spring with a traditional Indian dish, featuring the sensational tastes of ginger, coriander, curry, cumin, red pepper, garlic, cinnamon and cilantro. While it may seem like your taste buds will be overwhelmed by the amount of spices, you'd be surprised. This Chicken Korma recipe gives you control over the amount of heat in the dish and lets you cater to your flavor preferences. Add a slice of naan for a truly internationally-inspired dish.
Allow your taste buds to travel to New Orleans for spring break. This French-Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya delight features the wonderfully paired chicken and shrimp in a hearty rice mix. With the inclusion of zesty vegetables, meats and spices, you can serve up a pot of down-home cooking. Just remember to bring your family and friends together to share this meal. After all, traditional Jambalaya is cooked with love and shared with family.
Head out to the islands and get a sneak-peek of summer, sand and sun. Let your pork marinate in sweet, coconut water and experience a bold flavor like no other slow-cooker recipe. While Coconut Braised Pork is unique and refreshing with the cool, crisp taste of cilantro, you won't believe how few ingredients are used to create such a tantalizing flavor.
Enjoy a siesta then have a fiesta this spring with zesty Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos. This recipe is bursting with juicy pineapple and lime, perfect for a small get together or party. Double or triple the recipe if need be so many can enjoy this dish. Just make sure you have your smoke detector up-to-date just like the medical smoke evacuation systems surgeons use, in case things get too heated in the kitchen!
Follow the European trend and try a Beef Brisket with Beer. For this traditional slow-cooker recipe, begin in the morning and allow the beef to marinate all day to absorb the hearty beer flavor. Just make sure to choose your beverage of choice. For a more filling dish, include a darker beer like Yingling Lager or a stout. For a lighter fare, stick to wheat and fruit-infused beer. Don't be afraid to get creative! Top it off with sweet onions and spice.
To get a taste of something nostalgic, whip up a batch of Beef Burgundy Tips with Egg Noodles. Toy with the savory gravy flavors and cook your meat until its tender and juicy. Pair this meal with a glass of red or white wine and good company. This meal is such a great go-to, as the dish will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Yassou! Bring the Greek cooking tradition right into your home that is bursting with flavorful vegetables. Served as a healthy and hearty dish, Greek Stuffed Peppers will tickle your taste buds. The combination of couscous, feta cheese and spritz of lemon zest is enough to make your mouth water. Plus, the cannellini beans add nutritious proteins to your diet, which is perfect for a quick lunch or meal.
As another taste of India, this Vegetable and Chickpea Curry slow-cooker recipe holds a nice balance of spice and cream. The juxtaposition of curry powder with coconut milk creates a unique dish that's fit for anyone that wants to try something new. Also, chickpeas carry an excellent source of protein in this vegetarian dish.
Gently cook this delicate dish and serve it for special guests or for a more formal dinner occasion. Lamb is such a tender meat and it will melt in your mouth once you cook using a slow-cooker. Lamb with Olives and Potatoes is a great way to add a burst of flavor to a mild dish. Enjoy piping hot and garnished over the mixed olives and potatoes.
For something completely different, try using your slow-cooker as a way to make a naturally sweet desert. With Chunky Applesauce, you can take fresh produce and concoct a tasteful dish that is not only healthy, but also brings a little tradition to the dinner table. Enjoy with a touch of cinnamon for a sweet fix.
Don't be afraid to try something new this spring. Despite your busy schedule, take the time to include at least one new dish a week. This way, you'll build your arsenal of slow-cooker recipes and travel the world through taste. You'll save money and time with this cooking adventure.
Featured image by I Believe I Can Fry on Flickr