15 Slow-Cooker Apple Recipes for When You Come Home From the Orchard
Don't know what to do with a ten-pound bag of apples? Your slow-cooker can help.The great thing is apples are so versatile, so these slow-cooker recipes range from breakfast to dinner to dessert to condiments. There’s apple crisp for sweets fans, apple oatmeal for early risers, apple pulled pork for meat fanatics, and a perfect apple butter recipe for anyone who wants to spread apple flavor on pretty much everything. (And hey, if you’re not feeling apple recipes this fall, we’ve got you covered with pumpkin dinner recipes, instead.
Every year my dinner parties get more casual. I’ve given into the messiness of life with a four-year-old at home, and also realized that I can’t wait for things to be perfect (or even, well, clean) to have friends over. (If I did, I wouldn’t ever see a friend.) But I never thought I’d tell you that my favorite new dinner party dish—my favorite cooking move of 2019—actually starts with leftovers.
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I know, I know, it’s an Epicurious thing to use leftovers (and to call them). But I think of leftovers mostly as secret weapons for quick weeknight dinners—never as the sort of thing you’d pull out for guests when you’re lighting candles and telling Spotify to play something other than the Moana soundtrack.
But that was before I met's , the perfect recipe for a gathering that begins with already-cooked rice.
In her latest book,, Nguyen shares her method for easier cháo (also known as rice porridge or congee). “In the Viet repertoire,” she told me via email, the dish is often “treated with a level of high regard—to make it well, you have to use a 'special' kind of rice, cook with super-gentle heat to allow the grains to bloom and express themselves.” The rice softens and releases its starch into the broth, making each bowl creamy and velvety.
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So what exactly is millet? So there's a chance you might be wondering what exactly is millet? Recipe developer and wellness writer Beth Lipton is familiar with the grain, so we called on her to give us more insight on what it is and how to cook it correctly. And for more tips that will elevate your cooking skills, check out 50 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.
Nguyen notes that like many recipes in her book, this recipe is meant to free you up a bit: “I wanted to empower cooks to plot their own porridge adventure. You don't have to cook like my mother used to cook. At 85 years old, and having lived in America for half her life, my mom doesn't cook the way she did when we first arrived in 1975, either.”
So she experimented with an overnight soak, starting with leftover (nextover'd!). It was a rousing success: “I didn't have to monitor the pot and/or worry about things not going right. The tricky part of releasing the starch was done while the rice soaked. In other words, I was cooking while I was sleeping! It was sort of life changing.”
The next day, the soaked rice went for a quick burble on the stove with a few chunks of ginger and green onion. Your exact timing will vary a bit depending on the specific rice you’re using—Nguyen also offers further directions if you want to use brown rice (do it, it works deliciously and makes a hearty, satisfying bowl) or a mix of rice, quinoa, and/or millet. You can adjust the thickness of the cháo according to your taste with a splash of water to thin it out or a longer simmer if you’d like to let more liquid evaporate. I’ve even done the simmering in the morning, then let it chill out again till evening so my party prep is even easier.
Rinsing Rice Is the Difference Between Fluffy and Mushy Grains
It's nearly as important as paying your taxes and flossing your teeth.But first—to get it out of the way—let's discuss the exceptions: congee, rice pudding, and risotto. In these dishes, the whole point is for the grains to become mushy in a good way.
Cháo makes good dinner party food because the fun part happens at the table. Nguyen’s cookbook offers an entire page of possible embellishments, but she invites experimentation: the porridge, she says, responds well to all sorts of “fatty, salty, spicy, herbal enhancements.” So set out an assortment of options and let everyone customize their own bowl. Almost any of the proteins in the book could be added, or you could crumble on crispy bacon or add a shrimp or two. (If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with nice crabmeat this time of year, well... color me jealous.) Ais really nice; so is a bit of cooked chicken dressed in something savory and spicy. For veg: crispy roasted mushrooms, nubbins of caramelized , and any sort of cooked greens are great. For crunch: Nguyen suggests fried onions or shallots (I’ve been working through at an alarming speed). I also like chopped peanuts on top. And cilantro. And .
In other words, I like it all. And that works, because this is a dish that can handle it all—whenever I serve it, I encourage people to change things up bite-by-bite, as they go. And as we linger and continue topping off our bowls, I’m not the cook or the host anymore. Nobody is. Or maybe we all are. It’s that kind of party, which, these days, is my kind of party.
Foods You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen .
Having a few staple ingredients on hand can save you time and moneyInstant rice or pasta can be the difference between feeling full and being hungry an hour later. Rice and pasta are both blank canvases and can be transformed into anything you want them to be. Throw the rice in with veggies and chicken to make a stir fry. Mix some ground beef with red sauce to top off pasta for a home cooked meal in minutes.