Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Easy Life of a Bag Lady

Nothing makes my life easier in the kitchen after a day at work than a quick dinner and an easy clean up. Except maybe going out to dinner. But I like to cook most of our meals at home. It just tastes better. And costs less.

I own a slow cooker. Most households have slow cookers. I don't put mine to much use because I haven't found many recipes that pass the test. Most slow cookers nowadays run too hot so the food is way past done by the time I get home from work and the smell the food is putting off is....well let's just say it's off putting. So into my dark cupboard the slow cooker goes for yet another long punishment.

I recently received a package in the mail that contained Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liners.  I was asked by Allrecipes and Reynolds® to put them to the test and give an honest review. And so I pulled out my slow cooker from the deepest darkest corner of my storage cabinet and it was forever thankful to see the light of day once again.

I would have gladly done a review of these gems without receiving a package of them in the mail. But I like free. And I like Reynolds®.  So I couldn't refuse.

I have been using these slow cooker bags for a few years now and I no longer use my slow cooker without them. Before these liners graced my home I would spend hours soaking and scrubbing my removable crock. No more. These slow cooker liners are so easy to use and make cleanup such a breeze.  I just love them. As I do all of Reynolds® products.

Just line your slow cooker with the bags, toss in the ingredients, set it and forget it. When the food is done you just lift the bag and toss in the garbage.  After you remove the food of course. :) I usually have to lightly wipe down the interior of the crock but no more soaking and scrubbing is necessary! Yay! Makes my life so much easier.

My husband and I always tease each other by saying we should eat dessert before dinner because we never leave room for it. So today I am going to share a couple recipes with you but we're having dessert first! I guess I find it ok in the virtual world to eat dessert first. It just doesn't seem right in the real world!

Since it's fall and I was in the mood for some yummy scents of the season I chose to test these liners on an apple recipe. And boy oh boy did it make the house smell delicious! Not at all the off putting smell I had been so used to.  Let me share the yummy goodness with you....

Slow Cooker Apples with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar

4 medium tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith or Jonathan), cored
1/4 cup regular rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup apple juice

Line a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker with a Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liner.

Place apples in a prepared slow cooker. Combine oats, raisins, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Spoon mixture into centers of apples, patting in with the back of a spoon or a narrow metal spatula. Mound any remaining oat mixture on top of apples. Pour apple juice around apples in cooker.

Cover and cook for 3 hours on low.

Transfer apples to serving bowls and drizzle with cooking liquid.

These were so easy and delicious and the house smelled soooo yummy! They were like apple crisp made easy.

Next I'm sharing a slow cooker tortellini recipe that uses these liners. Did I say how much I love these liners? They're the bomb!

Slow Cooker Tortellini with Parmesan  Crisps

1 (15 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 (32 oz) container chicken stock
2 (15.5 oz) cans white (cannelloni) beans, rinsed and drained
1 (28 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups Swiss chard, chopped (I used fresh spinach)
2o oz. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, uncooked
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese 

Parmesan Crisps:
1-1/2 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Line a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with a Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liner; set aside.
Add the roasted peppers, broth, beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, celery, onions, olive oil, and garlic to the lined-slow cooker. Stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber scrapper to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

Stir in Swiss chard and tortellini gently with a rubber spatula and cook 7 to 9 minutes more or until pasta is just al dente. Serve with Parmesan cheese and Parmesan Crisps, if desired.

Parmesan Crisps: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with Reynolds® Parchment Paper. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, fresh thyme or rosemary, and black pepper. Spoon the cheese mixture into 12 portions, 4 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Pat each cheese portion into a 5-inch circle. Bake 4 to 6 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand on baking sheet until completely cooled. Carefully remove crisps from parchment paper. 

These sure have made this bag lady's life a whole lot easier when it comes to slow cooker cleanup! 

Make sure you put Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liners on your next grocery list. You'll be sure to thank me when you go to make one of these recipes.

Both of these recipes can be found on Allrecipes. Click here for more slow cooker recipes on Allrecipes.

Be sure to visit my previous post, Who Let That Kitchen Gremlin In?, featuring more Reynolds® products. Click here.

Thank you for stopping in!

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