I love crock pot cooking! I got started with it when I was a single working mom and got sick of the low-quality 30 minute meals I'd make for us when we got home around 5:30 in the evening. It was always such a mad dash to get dinner for us, while I had a hundred other things to take care of. The crock pot became my friend. I'd start a meal cooking in the morning and come home to roasts with potatoes and carrots, whole chickens, chili, etc. It gave me more time with my children who needed and deserved as much of me as they could get since I was the only parent in their daily lives.
This recipe is similar to one I bake frequently and since that one is a family favourite, I decided to try this one out as well. I'll report tonight on its success. I modified this for a family of six:
6 1 inch thick pork chops (fat trimmed)
1/2 one large onion
3 T chicken soup base
30 ounces apple pie filling (I make my own, but a can will save you about 20 minutes' work)
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks.
While my pork chops were defrosting in the microwave, I peeled and sliced 8 medium McIntosh apples. One of my handiest kitchen gadgets has got to be my apple peeler/corer/slicer. My apple pie filling was done cooking and removed from the heat before the pork chops were done defrosting. How I make my filling: 8 peeled, cored and sliced apples, 1/4 c water 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, 1 tablespoon instant tapioca granules, and cinnamon and nutmeg to cover them. Cook and stir on medium high heat until sauce thickens. I wasn't fussy on the perfection of the pie filling as it's going to practically disintegrate in the crock pot. I could have mixed it all together and put them in raw, but I wanted the flavours to blend so that they season the pork chops.
I sliced one half of a large onion and after spraying the bottom and sides of the crock pot and layered it on the bottom of the crock pot. Next I sprinkled 1/2 the soup base over the onions. Once the pork chops were thawed, I browned them lightly on the stove and lay them on top of the onions. I sprinkled the remaining soup base over the pork chops and piled the apple pie filling on top of that. This will cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, at which time I'll add the sweet potatoes. I'll lightly sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg because I like them like that. Then it will cook another hour and 1/2.
It's called easy, but I might have made it a bit more labour-intensive. Still, 30 minutes' prep time is as much as I do for chili or other ingredient-rich crock pot meals.
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