Tuesday, November 13, 2018

4 Ways to Use Your Slow Cooker You Haven't Thought Of

4 Unexpected Ways to Use your Slow Cooker

        In our opinion, Slow Cookers are some of the most underutilized appliances in the kitchen. Many people only pull them out for the traditional soups, stews and cheesy potatoes (unless you are a regular NESCO Blog reader, then you know how to spice it up). We want you getting the most out of your Slow Cooker, so here are 4 unexpected ways to use yours:

     1.Making Candles

Scented candles can make a house feel like a home. With a Slow Cooker you can make your own candles with a unique blend of looks and scents. You can also control what ingredients and chemicals are being released into the air of your home. All you need is soy wax, essential oils and candle wicks. This article from The Kitchn shows how to do it easily.

2.Cleaning Jewelry

Remove tarnish from silver and keep your jewelry clean and sparkly with your Slow Cooker. Warm about 2 cups of white vinegar on HIGH. Add about 2 heaping tablespoons of salt and a half cup of hydrogen peroxide. Turn Slow Cooker to LOW. Add jewelry and let “cook” for about 3 minutes. Remove jewelry with tongs and gently rub with a clean cloth until all remaining dirt is gone and pieces are dry.
           3. Air Freshener

There’s nothing better than your house being filled with warm fragrance. You can turn your kitchen scraps into a wonderful potpourri by filling your Slow Cooker halfway with water, then adding orange peels (or apple peels, or any other fruit peels), spices, and/or whatever essential oils you like. Keep uncovered and turn to LOW to fill your house with fragrance.

4.Making Yogurt

Yogurt can be one of the healthiest foods. Unfortunately, many store bought brands of yogurt are packed with artificial sweeteners and sugars. Making your own at home can put your mind at ease of what you will be putting into your body. With a Slow Cooker, all you will need is a gallon of milk, and some starter yogurt for culture. You can read the full how-to here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Pumpkin Soup

You voted, we listened. Here's your Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Bacon. 

For the Soup:
·         1 tablespoon oil
·         1 large onion, peeled and chopped
·         5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
·         1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
·         1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
·         1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
·         1 1/2 teaspoons salt
·         4 cups vegetable stock
·         4 cups heavy cream
·         29 ounces can pure pumpkin puree
·         1 lb.  bacon, cooked and chopped
·         2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
·         2 tablespoons honey
For the Seed Topping:
·         1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
·         1 cup french fried onions
·         1 teaspoon Cayenne

Set Pressure Cooker to “Sauté” and add oil, onion, garlic and jalapeno. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin, oregano and salt, sautéing for another 3 minutes to release flavors. 

Stir in stock, pumpkin and cream.  Lock lid in Place and set to “High Pressure” for 15 minutes. After cooking, add honey and vinegar and cook on “High Pressure” for another 5 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (We used a Hand Mixer, but it got a little messy). Add bacon and set Pressure Cooker to "Keep Warm".

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds, fried onions and cayenne pepper for about 5 minutes.

Serve soup warm with pumpkin seed and fried onions on top as a garnish. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Hawaiian Hot Ham Sliders

Hot ham sandwiches are a classic, and they can also be quick and easy! Making your ham in a NESCO Pressure Cooker cuts down on cooking time, but leaves you with a tender, juicy, evenly cooked ham every time. 


1 ham, spiral cut 5-7lbs
1 14oz can crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 14oz can pineapple tidbits (with juice0
¼ cup orange juice
2 tsp Whole Cloves
½ cup Honey

Press the Sauté button to start warming up the Pressue Cooker.

Pour the entire cans of pineapple, the orange juice and cloves into the pot. Stir well.

Place the ham in the pot with the fat side up. If it doesn't fit well, cut off a piece and fit it into the pot alongside the larger piece. Make sure the ham is below the level of the pot, so the lid goes on without obstruction. Pour the honey over the ham.

Place the lid on the Pressure Cooker and set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.

Cancel the Sauté mode

Set to High Pressure and set for the desired cook time. A 6-pound ham typically takes about 30 minutes and a 7-8 pounder is 40 minutes. When cooking cycle has ended, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. Then manually release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to Venting.

When the pin in the lid drops, open the lid and take the temperature of the ham. It should read 140 degrees (F) or just under (If it reads just under, you don't have to cook it longer, just put the lid on the pot and let it rest a few more minutes. Then take the temperature again). If the temp is not close to 140, put the lid on and set it for about 5-10 minutes longer.

Set Broiler to 425 degrees.

Carefully move the ham to a baking sheet.

Ladle some of the liquid from the pot to a fat separator and measure out 1/2 cup. Mix it with the brown sugar and pour over the ham.

Place the ham under the broiler to caramelize the glaze for a few minutes. Check it often to make sure it doesn't burn!

Meanwhile, if you want to cook the remaining liquid/drippings down, turn on the Sauté mode again and let the liquid simmer for a few minutes. At this point you may want to thicken it or keep reducing it (We like to add a little brown sugar to it, cook it down a bit, then thicken with a cornstarch).

Remove ham from oven to a serving platter

For the Sliders:


     24 Hawaiian sweet rolls or mini pretzel buns

Sliced ham
2 6oz packages of shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon poppy seed
½ cup melted butter
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced dried onion
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


Preheat Roaster Oven to 350 degrees.

Cover rack in tinfoil and create a lip to prevent butter mixture from sliding off. Lightly grease the tinfoil.

Cut rolls in half and set aside.

Put roll bottoms on the foil covered rack and layer ham and cheese on top.

Sprinkle poppy seeds and replace the roll tops.

In a bowl, combine butter, mustard, minced onion and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.

Pour mixture over the top of the rolls and cover with tinfoil and let sit for 10 minutes.

Set into roaster oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Wisconsin Fish Fry with Chimichurri Sauce

There's nothing more Wisconsin than a fish fry, and they're taken very seriously around here. This is our favorite recipe to get the perfect fry every time. While the Chimichurri Sauce isn't a traditional Wisconsin addition, the cilantro and parsley add a nice, refreshing kick that satisfies even the most loyal tartar sauce fans. 

Wisconsin Fish Fry:

      Fresh Cod, White Fish or Pan Fish fillets
1 C flour
1 C COLD water
1/2 C COLD seltzer
1 Egg
Season to taste (salt & pepper, Lawry’s or Old Bay)
Oil for fryer

1.      Preheat fryer to 385 degrees.

2.      Mix batter and use quickly, don't make a large batch unless you have many fryers and hands to fry large amounts of fish at a time. Batter will lose its effervescence and get too sticky.

3.      Dip fillets in the tempura batter and put several pieces in the frying basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through. Repeat until finished.

Chimichurri Sauce
1 shallot, chopped 
1/2 cup cilantro 
1/4 cup parsley
1 Tbsp oregano
4 garlic cloves chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Lime juice (zest if you want a more citrus pop)
3/4 cup olive oil or grape seed oil
Jalapeño or poblano pepper (optional)

Combine and blend together with an immersion blender to a pesto-like consistency.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Supreme Pizza Dip

 Who's ready for some football? Gameday parties are back in season and this Supreme Pizza Dip is the perfect dish for Sunday kickoffs

·         16 oz softened cream cheese
·         5 cups shredded cheese, Italian blend
·         4 teaspoons of Italian herb seasoning
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder
·         1 ½ cup pizza sauce
·         Pepperoni slices
·         2/3 cup of cooked sausage
·         6 – 8 tablespoons of chopped bell pepper
·         6 - 8 tablespoons of sliced black olives
·         1 large onion chopped (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese with 2 cups of shredded cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, combine well.

Spread cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker. Then spread the pizza sauce over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the pizza sauce to cover it. Spread the pepperoni, crumbled sausage, bell pepper and black olives over the entire surface of the dip.

Cover top of the slow cooker with paper towel to catch condensation and cover tightly with the lid. Slow cook the dip for 1-2 hours on high, or 2-3 hours on low until all the layers are warm and soft and the cheese has melted. Keep on warm and serve with crackers, pita chips and veggies.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Pressure Cooker Potato Salad


6 medium scrubbed red potatoes
     2 cups of water
     ¼ cup chopped onion (optional)
     Salt & pepper to taste
     3 hard boiled eggs
     1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
     ½ cup mayonnaise
     1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
     1 tsp apple cider vinegar
     ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
     Package of crumbled bacon (optional)


Place potatoes in pressure cooker with water. Cook on high pressure 4-8 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Let steam release for 3 minutes. Then quickly release pressure and open cooker.

Dice potatoes when they are cool enough to handle. Potatoes should be somewhat firm and not overcooked.
Alternate layers of potatoes, onion, cheese, and bacon in a large bowl. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Top with the chopped egg and sprinkle with dill.
Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Gently fold the mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups corn fresh off the cob
3 large potatoes peeled and cubed
2 large carrots peeled and diced
1 sweet onion diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup sour cream
8 slices bacon
4 small zucchini halved and sliced
3 tomatoes diced
1/2 cup fresh basil thinly sliced

Set your slow cooker on low and add the vegetable stock, corn, potatoes, carrot, onion, salt and thyme. Cook on low setting for 6 – 8 hours or high for 3 – 4 hours. Once cooked, add in sour cream and blend the soup with an immersion blender.

Then heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Chop the bacon and cook until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels.

Pour off bacon fat save one tablespoon. Bring the pan to medium heat and add the zucchini to the one tablespoon of bacon fat. Cook, stirring occasionally for 7 – 8 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir the zucchini into the soup in the slow cooker.
Serve the soup topped with fresh chopped tomato, basil and bacon.