Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guest Post: Crockpots & Soda Shortcuts

My first guest post comes from my good friend, Catherine, of the Sacramento blog, Munchie Musings.  I chose her as my first guest blogger because of a new feature she started on her site: Crockpot Wednesdays.  Every week she showcases a different recipe, from entree to dessert, each one made entirely in her handy crockpot.  I've received a lot of mail from folks requesting crockpot recipes, but since I don't have one (nor do I have the space for it), I haven't been able to fulfill this request myself.  Fortunately, Catherine can.  Here are some great, affordable crockpot tips and a few recipes from Ms. Munchie herself...

Soda Shortcuts

Hello. I’m Catherine, known to you as Ms. Munchie of Munchie Musings in Kimberly’s posts. I feel honored that she asked me to do a guest post on her site while she moves. I can tell you all - she needed to move. Even though it is only upstairs and I have yet to see it, it has to be better than the downstairs apartment. So I’m glad she’ll be getting piece of mind from her move.

This year I have been doing Crockpot Wednesdays on my site. I have this lovely Hamilton Beach slow cooker that my brother got for me and I hadn’t used it as much as I wanted. I figured that having to do a recipe every Wednesday would solve that problem. Everyone can be challenged by time and slow cookers are wonderful devices for helping with that problem, especially when you have a recipe where you just toss the ingredients in and walk away.

I wanted to keep consistent with Kimberly’s theme of easy meals on a budget. I decided that I would share with you a few quick, even desperate, recipes that I learned from my 13+ years selling Pampered Chef. After all, PC says that homemade doesn’t have to mean made from scratch, it just means it is made at home! PC is known for doing what that Sandra Lee chick does way before she showed up on TV. They take shortcuts cooking by using grocery products.

For instance, this week’s recipe comes from my friends, Scott and Michelle.  I was over for poker night (I’m the only women cleaning out those poor guys) and they had made pulled pork sandwiches. Thing is, all they did was put the pork butt into the slow cooker with a bottle of good quality root beer.  Then when you served it you poured on some BBQ sauce. So simple and yet delicious!

That was when I remembered all the other PC shortcut recipes. Sodas are great to have on hand for desperation cooking. Colas, in particular and like the root beer, have the acidity and carbonation to tenderize the meat but also the caramel/molasses flavor used in so many recipes. The key to making the recipes great is adding the veggies and extra spices you want.

Here are some examples:

Pot roast = can of cola + can of cream of mushroom soup (even better, add a package of onion soup mix)
BBQ = can of cola + 2 cups of ketchup
Baked ham = ½ liter of coke

I don’t have children but know it often happens that a child tells their parent at the last minute, “Mom, it’s my turn to bring cupcakes to class tomorrow.” No problem if you have a box of cake mix and a can of soda lying around. You don’t need to do anything else but mix those two things together. The carbonation gives the batter extra lift for a nice fluffy, moist cake. Think about the combos:

Chocolate cake + cola
Chocolate cake + cherry cola
White or yellow cake + lemon lime, grapefruit, or orange soda
Spice cake + Dr. Pepper

For the frosting you can blend together 4 cups of powdered sugar + 6 T butter + 3 T soda

So those were brief descriptions of what is possible when you are either low on cash, ingredients, time or all of the above.  Having staples in your pantry including some cans of soda can really come in handy.  For those who want a little extra information with doctoring up the above mentioned combos, here are more detailed versions:

6-8 lbs pork butt
1 can/bottle of root beer

Place ingredients in slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low. Remove pork and set aside. Save 1/3 cup of juices and toss the rest. Using two forks, carefully shred the pork. Return to slow cooker to keep warm on warm setting.  Serve on buns with BBQ sauce and cole slaw.

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. vegetable oil
2 c. catsup
1 can cola
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Mustard
2 T. Vinegar

Saute onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add remaining ingredients.
Simmer 30 minutes until thick.

3-4 lb. roast, cheap cut
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cola
1 pkg. onion soup

Put on low for 8 hours. If you want it thicker, when done stir in a tablespoon of flour.

1 ham
1 can cola or cherry cola
Cloves (not powdered)

Put ham in deep pan on aluminum foil. Pour Coke over. Pierce the entire ham with clove spikes about ¼ inch apart. Bake at low temperature (300 degrees) for 2-2 1/2 hours. Baste occasionally with pan juices. Coke will turn into syrup.

Thanks so much, Catherine! 

I hope you folks found this information as interesting as I did.  Stay tuned for another guest post later this week.  Back to packing & moving!  

:) Kimberly


  1. Love this! I would have never thought to use a can of soda as a liquid for a crock pot recipe, but reading it here makes sense. I usually opt for higher-priced wine, but now I'll rethink that. Who doesn't love using what's on hand in the pantry to keep costs in check? The simplicity of the pulled pork and crock pot roast couldn't be more appealing. It's nice to meet you Catherine and thanks Kimberly for the post and introduction.

  2. I have never thought of using soda - i have cooked meat in beer before, but I find that a bit heavy. I think the kids would love a 'cola' cake!!

  3. My boyfriend uses dr pepper for the slow cooker pulled pork. Sooo amazing!

  4. I've made the cola pot roast many times. It is delicious. We like to throw in cut up potatoes and carrots undernearth the roast. The potatoes get brown but taste great with some of the leftover juice poured over them and the carrots drink up the great flavour too.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...