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Slow cooking so simple, so good

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Tried a couple of new crockpot recipes the last few weeks that I'm anxious to share. I'm always a little skeptical when a recipe sounds a little too easy to be true, but this time I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised.

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Preparing the "Creamy Potato Soup" was literally a matter of mixing everything together in the crockpot. The hardest part was chopping the onion, and adding the cream cheese at the end. The end result was deliciously creamy and definitely a 'make again' meal that was complete, served with a loaf of French bread and a tray of thinly sliced cold cuts and cheese on the side.

Keeping with the ease of crock pot cooking, I had company this last week one evening and wanted a no fuss dessert. I ran across a fudge cake recipe I had clipped and saved that you can prepare in the crockpot. It sounded easy and decadently delicious, and "The Triple Mess Chocolate" cake certainly didn't disappoint. It screamed chocolate and was every bit as gooey, rich and good as its name implies. I even took the chocolate theme a step further by adding the big chunk chocolate chips instead of the regular. Next time I might throw in a few nuts and a little coconut and then top it with a jar of marshmallow cream once the cake is through cooking and still hot.

The other recipes I share this week are also slow cooker fare, some of which I haven't tried, but they will be at the top of my list to do so in the next couple of weeks. I have eaten the "Cheesy Wild Rice Soup" as served up by a friend on several occasions, and it too, is scrumptious; as is the Italian beef roast, which could easily be served on a Kaiser roll and smothered with Philly cheese steak toppings, i.e. sautéed peppers, green onions and provolone cheese - yummy!

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Creamy Potato Soup

1 (30 ounce) bag frozen hash brown potatoes

3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 (10.75) ounce can cream of chicken soup

½ cup chopped onion

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

Garnish: minced green onion

Combine potatoes, broth, soup, onion and pepper in 6-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on low for five hours. Stir in cream cheese and cook another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until combined. Garnish with the green onions, if desired.

Cheesy Wild Rice Soup

1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed

1 pound bacon cut into small pieces and drained

2 ½ cups milk

1 pint half and half

1 cup of cooked wild rice

1/3 cup finely chopped onions

2 cans cream of potato soup

Place everything in crockpot, cook on low until cheese is melted and onion is cooked and heated through. Also, may be cooked on stovetop over low heat.

Italian Roast

1 sirloin tip roast (about 4 pounds)

1 can beef broth

1 package dry Good Seasons Italian Dressing

Pour beef broth over roast and sprinkle package of dressing over the top. Put in crockpot and cook on low all day. Slice roast and let cook in juice for the last ½ hour before serving. Serve with or on buns.

Triple Chocolate Mess made in crockpot

1 package chocolate cake mix

1 pint sour cream

1 small bag chocolate chips

1 small package instant chocolate pudding, dry

¾ cups oil

4 eggs

1 cup water

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray. Mix all ingredients well for about two minutes. Pour into crockpot. Cook on low for five to six hours. Serve in bowl with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 10-12

Hot Fudge Cake

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup flour

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ cup milk

2 tbsp. melted butter

½ tsp. vanilla

¾ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ¾ cups boiling water

Vanilla ice cream

Mix together one cup brown sugar, flour, 3 tbsp. cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in milk, butter, and vanilla. Spread over the bottom of greased slow cooker.

Mix together ¾ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup cocoa. Sprinkle over mixture in slow cooker.

Pour in boiling water. Do not stir.

Cover and cook on high 2-3 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves 6-8

Cherry Delight

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1 package yellow cake mix

½ cup butter, melted

1/3 cup walnuts, optional

Place pie filling in greased slow cooker.

Combine dry cake mix and butter, mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Cover and cook on low four hours or high two hours.

Allow to cool. Serve in bowls with scoop of ice cream. Serves 10-12.

Fudge Peanut Butter and Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

½ cup flour

¼ cup sugar

¾ tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup milk

1 tbsp. oil

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ cup peanut butter

½ cup sugar

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup boiling water

Vanilla ice cream

Combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, and baking powder. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Pour into slow cooker.

Mix together ½ cup sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually stir in boiling water. Pour mixture over batter in slow cooker. Do not stir.

Cover and cook on high 2-3 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm with ice cream. Serves six.

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