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No Place Like Home -- Karen Wight

Occasionally I get so much feedback from an article that it’s worth

repeating and expanding on. A few months ago I wrote about crockpot

meals, not a sexy subject, but it literally hit home. My third-grader’s

teacher told me that she fixed two of my crockpot suggestions and her


husband commented that she had “finally learned how to cook.”

I don’t think these recipes will necessarily teach you how to cook,

but they are easy family pleasers that can be put together in the morning

and dished up at your convenience at night.


I know some of you are still tsk tsking at me. I know this is not

haute cuisine, but then my three kids will not eat seared ahi with wasabi

sauce. However, they will fight for the last of the Italian sausage


If you don’t have a dusty crockpot in your ancient treasure trove of

wedding gifts, run out and buy one of the sleek stainless steel models

and give at least one of these recipes a try.

Many thanks to my cooking mentors, the LA Times food section, and my


family who have tasted some of my not-so-fabulous efforts.

Italian Sausage Marinara

8 Italian sausages

1 jar prepared marinara sauce

Chopped basil

Parmesan cheese

Cooked pasta

Place sausage in crockpot, pierce casings. Pour marinara sauce over


sausage. Add chopped basil. Cook on low for eight hours. Sprinkle with

Parmesan one half hour before serving it with pasta.

A-1 Stew

2 pounds stew meat

1/2 cup A-1 sauce

Salt and pepper

Carrots, potatoes, onions and celery

Mix meat with sauce. Add veggies of choice. Add salt and pepper to

taste. Cook on low for eight to 10 hours. Serve with rice or pasta.

Pork Chops Vinaigrette

6 pork chops

1/4 cup prepared vinaigrette

Place pork chops in crockpot. Pour vinaigrette over meat and cook on

low for eight hours.

Beef Brisket

1 marinated beef brisket

Buy beef brisket that is pre-marinated in barbecue or teriyaki sauce.

Place the brisket in the crockpot. Cook on low for 10 hours. Before serving, shred the beef and serve with crusty rolls and au jus on the


Chicken and Gravy

4 large chicken breasts

4 pieces of bacon

1 cup sour cream 1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup flour

Salt and pepper

Wrap a piece of bacon around each chicken breast. Place the chicken in

the crockpot. Combine other ingredients and pour it over the chicken.

Cook on low for eight hours. Serve with rice or pasta.

Asian Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

Squeeze of lemon juice

Place meat in crockpot. Combine ingredients and pour it over the

chicken. Cook on low for six hours. Serve with rice.

Orange Salsa Pork Chops

4 pork chops

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup salsa

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ginger


Fresh Cilantro

Orange Slices

Place meat in crockpot. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour sauce over

meat. Cook on low for six hours. Remove lid one to two hours before

serving to reduce liquid, turning the chops over. Serve with rice.

Barbecue Ribs

3 pounds ribs, beef or pork

1 cup barbecue sauce

Place ribs in crockpot with sauce. Cook on low for eight hours. Before

serving, broil it in the oven for a few minutes to brown.

Fresh Veggie Marinara

1 jar prepared marinara sauce

1 onion, chopped 3 large carrots, grated

1 zucchini, grated

1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped

Parmesan cheese

Stew ingredients together in crockpot for six hours. Sprinkle with

Parmesan and serve over pasta.

* KAREN WIGHT is a Newport Beach resident. Her column runs Sundays.