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Easy, enticing meals that welcome you home

Over the weekend I was discussing slow cooker recipes with a friend who asked if I had any super easy ones for beef stew and a good old pot roast.

I told her I did and started digging through my files looking for a couple of favorites that rely on ingredients you more than likely would have on your shelves.

I may have featured these recipes in a column several years back but I'm going to take the liberty to share them again for all of those who may have missed them the first time around, also throwing in an easy and fantastically delicious chocolate cake also made in the slow cooker and perfect to cap off either meal.

Both the stew and the roast recipe are excellent for 'simmering' all day, and coupled with a few simple side dishes are complete meals in themselves.

The beef stew is fantastic with all the vegetables right in it. All you need is a loaf of crusty French bread.

The savory roast beef with all the rich gravy is excellent served over mashed potatoes or wide noodles. If you don't have time for real potatoes, then use your favorite brand of instant, they are almost every bit as good and of course, take only just minutes to prepare.

The Chocolate Pudding Cake is every bit as rich as its name implies. Topped with either whipped cream or ice cream, it doesn't get any better.

On that note, if any of you out there have any slow cooker recipes you'd like to share with our readers, please get them to me and I would be more than happy to feature them.

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

Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat (or round steak), cut in one-inch cubes

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 cups beef broth (or bouillon cubes)

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. paprika

4 carrots, sliced

3 potatoes, diced

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

Put meat in crock pot. Mix flour, salt and pepper, and pour over meat; stir to coat meat with flour. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cover, cook on low 10 to 12 hours. (High 4 to six hours) Stir stew before serving. Serves 6.

Yummy, Tender Roast Beef

Place three to four pound roast in crock pot

Pour over:

1-15 oz. can beef broth

1 package dry onion soup mix

1 can cream of celery (mushroom, chicken, etc.) soup

Cover, cook on low 10 hours.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 18 1/2 oz. pkg. chocolate cake mix

3.9 oz. pkg. instant pudding mix

2 cups sour cream

4 eggs

1 cup water

3/4 cup oil

1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped cream or ice cream

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, water and oil in bowl. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased crock pot. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours, or high 3-4 hours, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.