Thursday, November 13, 2008

cranberry glazed pork loin & creamy slow-cooker chicken

A couple months ago I finally reconnected with a good friend of mine from my college days. Melissa, a true southern girl, often wowed us all with her fabulous cooking--I think that was the first time I'd seen someone under the age of 35 cook a roast. (She also wowed us by never going anywhere without makeup, including the grocery store on a Saturday morning, but that's another story...)

e to her chef-like qualities Melissa recently posted a tempting recipe using pork loin and a slow cooker. I am always on the lookout for both a good pork loin recipe and a good slow-cooker recipe, and I think her Cranberry Glazed Pork Loin may be the easiest, yummiest sounding one I've seen (and hope to soon taste). I also had to include another recipe from her blog, her Creamy Slow-Cooker Chicken. If you're a crockpot lover then dig in because you're going to love today's food for thought friday recipes!

Cranberry Glazed Pork Loin
1 pork loin
1 onion, sliced
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

Season and brown one pork loin on all sides. (Melissa suggests using garlic powder, salt, and pepper.) Layer slices of onion in the bottom of a large slow cooker, place pork loin on top of onions and sprinkle dry onion soup mix over pork loin. Distribute whole berry cranberry sauce over soup mix and loin. Pour in about ½ can of water. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour and reduce to LOW for 4 more hours.

Creamy Slow-Cooker Chicken
2 1/2 lbs chicken (use either bone-in or boneless)
2 tsp seasoned salt
2 T olive oil
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz.) package reduced fat cream or Neufchatel cheese
1/2 c dry white wine (or apple juice)
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 (8 oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms

Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Cook chicken, in batches, in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or just until browned. Transfer chicken to a 5-qt. slow cooker, reserving drippings in skillet.

Add soup, cream cheese, white wine, and Italian dressing mix to hot drippings in skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly , 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

Arrange mushrooms over chicken in slow cooker. Spoon soup mixture over mushrooms. Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours. Stir well before serving.

Note: The recipe says that you can make this ahead and freeze it. Just prepare it as directed and transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and let cool completely. Freeze up to one month. Thaw in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. To reheat, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." ~Harriet Van Horne

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