Wheatless Crock Pot recipe that doesn't suck?
December 15, 2008 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for a nice meal to serve to dinner guests (four diners total) later this week? But there are catches... 1) We just bought our house, and don't have a stove yet; we have a Crock Pot, a toaster oven, and a microwave. So no meat browning or onion sauteing. 2) The meal must be wheat- and gluten-free. 3) No seafood. We've had pretty limited success with the slow-cooker... recipes sound delicious, but end up tasting like a whole lotta nothin.
posted by thinman to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Eric Ripert, 3 star Michelin chef, cooks meals using only his toaster oven.
posted by GilloD at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Some ideas for using the crock pot:

Pulled pork (with or without buns for gluten-free)
Pot Roast with vegetables
Chicken + mushroom soup (+sour cream and mushrooms)

I have a book called 'Fix-it an forget-it cookbook) for slow cookers. I've had a lot of success with recipes like the above, but you can probably find recipes on the net as well. Slower cooker should get you through until you get a stove.

Also make sure not to keep it too hot to begin with. Low and slow.
posted by ets960 at 7:56 AM on December 15, 2008

For a Slow cooker, a stew, pot roast, or chicken is the only thing that comes to mind. Something like that could also be made wheat/gluten free. There isn't any really easy, really fancy dishes. I would serve a salad first.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2008

What about chili? You can upgrade it as much as you like by varying the meat (for example, using andouille sausage or small cubes of filet mignon instead of ground beef). You can partly cook the meat in the microwave, and then let the ingredients simmer all day in the crock. I can give you an excellent crock pot recipe if you're interested - my husband's. It's fantasmagoric. We serve it with several different shredded or slices cheeses, cornbread (very easy to get gluten-free corn products), hot pepper marmalade, and sour cream. Some nice greens on the side and you're all set.
posted by iconomy at 8:05 AM on December 15, 2008

My favorite crock pot meal is this: how many boneless skinless chicken breasts you want, a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce and 1 can of crushed pineapple (undrained). Mix the BBQ sauce and the pineapple together. Put the chicken in the crockpot. Pour the BBQ/pineapple mixture over it. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve over rice (you can use the microwave kind).

(you can also use pineapple chunks instead of the crushed)
posted by Sassyfras at 8:13 AM on December 15, 2008

Check out this blog most of her recipes are gluten-free but if it isn't, she'll let you know in her review.
posted by sisflit at 8:20 AM on December 15, 2008

Check out this blog as well

And here is her list of recipes tagged with "slow cooking"

For the toaster oven, when I was young my mom used to cook fish in there all the time. Worked as a nice grill.
posted by like_neon at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2008

What about some kind of Indian curry in the crockpot? You could serve it with rice made in the microwave, plus some delicious chutneys from the store to fancy it up. Ooh, and kachumber salad. I would serve coconut ice cream for dessert.

(I never brown meat before it goes into the crockpot, even if it asks. I may be dealing with a slight lack of flavour, but it hasn't impacted my meals before.)
posted by ms.v. at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2008

One of my most successful crock pot meals is this chicken taco stew:


1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz can black beans
1 16-oz can kidney beans
1 16-oz can corn (drained)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
1 1.25-oz packet taco seasoning
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts


Mix everything together in a slow cooker except chicken. Lay chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. This is good eaten with cheese, sour cream, or tortilla chips.

I just made it the other night with three chix breasts. More chicken is fine, it just makes the stew a little more meaty. I don't think four would be a problem.
posted by chazlarson at 8:43 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Pulled pork, mentioned above, is a good idea. Pulled chicken is good as well. Although I usually make it to be served on buns, you can serve on tortillas and/or rice.

My recipe (if you can even call it a recipe!):
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Diced white onion
Dice green pepper
Your favorite barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's honey barbecue sauce, but it may be regional)

Put everything in the crock pot, half of the the sauce goes in first, then the chicken and veggies, then the rest of the sauce. (A pint and a half of sauce should be good for 4 breasts.) Let the slow cooker do its thing on high for two or three hours, then shred the chicken in the crock. I use a sturdy pair of tongs and a fork. Mix it all up and let it cook another few hours on low, shredding it some more after an hour or so.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2008


If your recipes of any kind are tasting like a "whole lotta nothing" then you may need better quality ingredients and/or additional spices.

For example, I love roast beef in a crock pot. Good quality roast beef, even without spices of any kind, will taste delicious, slow cooked in a little water. Add some seasoning (maybe some dry onion soup mix), onions, carrots, and potatoes, and it should be killer!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:57 AM on December 15, 2008

You could get up a nice coq au vin in the crockpot - crisped bacon and rendered fat is essential, but you could easily do that in the toaster oven with a foil-lined tray.

Broil 6 or 8 oz of bacon in the oven till quite crisp; reserve half for garnish and crumble the rest into smallish (1 cm) pieces. Cut a small (4lb) chicken into 8 pieces; rub them with bacon fat, salt, and pepper, and broil skin side up until they have a little color. Put the chicken, the torn bacon, a chopped onion, two smashed cloves of garlic, two cups of good red wine (a burgundy or a pinot noir would be good), and two cups of good chicken stock in your crockpot, along with your herbs: a bay leaf or two, a few sprigs of thyme (whole) and a few sprigs of parsley (whole). Let it barely simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Skim most of the fat off the top of the liquid.

Open a bag of frozen pearl onions. Clean and halve some button mushrooms (8-10 oz is good). Discard the herbs and scoop the chicken out onto a plate; keep warm with some foil. Add the mushrooms and onions to the braising liquid; crank the heat up and boil until the vegetables are cooked and the liquid is reduced to a sauce. Stir in a tablespoon of butter and correct seasoning. Add the chicken back and warm through.

(if you can't finish the sauce in the slow cooker, you could easily do this in the microwave - put the braising liquid and veggies in a large bowl with a vented lid; cook until reduced and the veggies are tender, stirring frequently. Return to the slow cooker for the butter mounting and rewarming of the chicken).

Have olives or other nibbles out on the table. Start with a simple frisee salad with a whole-grain Dijon vinaigrette.

Heap a platter with chicken and sauce, and garnish with minced parsley and the rest of the bacon. Heap a bowl with boiled and buttered fingerling spuds tossed in minced parsley, and eat family style.

Finish with cheese and fruit.

(you can skip the browning of the meat if you want, and just start with less liquid overall and thicken with cornstarch if the reducing sounds like a pain. And you could adapt pretty much any other braise - beef stew, carbonnade, chicken fricassee, etc. etc. - in this way).
posted by peachfuzz at 9:09 AM on December 15, 2008

If your recipes of any kind are tasting like a "whole lotta nothing" then you may need better quality ingredients and/or additional spices.

I'm guessing salt.
posted by electroboy at 9:28 AM on December 15, 2008

In general, you want to season crock-pot recipes fairly heavily. Consider a second "dump" of spices closer to the end of cooking. Taste your braising liquid before you add the meat, and make sure that it's salty enough. People tend to under-salt crock pot dishes for some reason.

Also, as a general rule, the worse off a cut of meat is when cooked directly on a fast flame, the better it is when slow-cooked. Things like short ribs, veal shank, eye roast (aka "pot roast") fare very well in the crock pot.

You can hack up a decent osso buco in the crock pot. Go with 2 parts tomato passata (italian tomato puree), to one part briefly boiled white wine (to remove most of the alcohol), and add in your meat - either the traditional veal shanks, or use turkey thighs if you don't care for veal. (You can also go with turkey legs, just watch out for all the narrow bones.)

For something a bit more Greek style, use lamb leg with the above tomato and wine braise, and add a tablespoon of dried oregano (more if you're cooking for a lot - but don't overdo it!). Finish with a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice before serving.
posted by Citrus at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2008

Also, do you have a crockpot or a slow cooker?
posted by electroboy at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2008

Electroboy: What's the difference in this context?
posted by TravellingDen at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2008

How about 40 garlic chicken? This is a dinner party favorite (super flavorful, despite few ingredients) -- I found a crockpot version here. I haven't tried this version, but it looks comparable. You can add more veggies, I usually do. Bonus: it's yummy fun to squeeze the roasted garlic cloves on french bread.
posted by *s at 9:55 AM on December 15, 2008

If you can pick up one of these and you have a slow cooker with a removable pot, it expands the number of things you can make. Those single/double coil electric burners are generally very handy to have around anyway.

I suppose you could just use your regular cookware with the single burner too, so it probably doesn't matter much either way.
posted by electroboy at 9:56 AM on December 15, 2008

electroboy: Also, do you have a crockpot or a slow cooker?

A genuine Rival Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker. But yeah... does it matter?
posted by thinman at 10:00 AM on December 15, 2008

...assuming there is decent gluten-free french bread, of course...
posted by *s at 10:30 AM on December 15, 2008

Split pea or lentil soup is good and very easy in a slow cooker/crock pot. Just rinse your peas or lentils and look for rocks/other debris. Then, put them in the bottom of the pot and then put in as much of the following as you'd like: chopped carrots, chopped celery (including the leaves) and chopped onion.

I add a ham hock/bone for flavor to peas (you can also add chopped ham meat, good way to use leftovers). I put in thyme, garlic and a couple of bay leaves.

Fry up some bacon and crumble it, or use whatever meat you have leftover. Or, you can also use no meat. I also put a can of chopped tomatoes with its juice, a potato, chopped and a zuchinni, chopped in with the lentils. They get pepper, garam masala, garlic and a couple of bay leaves.

Use 8 cups of liquid to 1 lb. of peas or lentils and let it cook for 8-10 hours on low, 4-6 on high.

I like to serve either recipe with cornbread. You can garnish the split pea soup with Cheddar cheese, also.

Bay leaves are key in slow cooker cuisine when it comes to soups and stews. I never cook without them now.

A lot of people make pot roast in a crock pot. Put a 7-bone chuck in the crock pot and add an envelope of onion soup mix and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, depending on the size of your chuck. When it's finished, it will be falling apart and you will have a nice (sort of salty) gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles.

Some people have suggested preparing pulled pork in a slow cooker. I do not agree with this. You are going to end up with a big greasy mess. I don't think the mess is worth it.
posted by FergieBelle at 10:37 AM on December 15, 2008

Some people have suggested preparing pulled pork in a slow cooker. I do not agree with this. You are going to end up with a big greasy mess. I don't think the mess is worth it.

i disagree, i havent had this problem in the past...i end up with very good pulled pork each and every time i do it...
posted by knockoutking at 2:54 PM on December 15, 2008

For wheat-free meals, rice works well. So, google chicken(or beef, or broccoli, etc) oriental crockpot recipe, or beef curry crockpot recipe. I like cold sesame (rice) noodles a lot, and have served them with squash soup and maybe some wings from the toaster oven.

Do you have an outdoor grill? Grilled, marinated meat is pretty tasty & easy.
posted by theora55 at 3:25 PM on December 15, 2008

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