In my new contemporary western romance, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, my hero’s (Beau) mother brings dinner out to the family’s ghost town resort under construction by my heroine (Ava). She made the meal, appropriately titled “Cowboy Stew” (recipe below) in a slow cooker, often called a Crockpot.
Now, I’d warrant all of you reading this has had a Crockpot at one time in your life. Maybe you still do. While the first slow cooker was actually invented in 1940, most of us will remember the Rival Crockpot, which was officially introduced in 1971 and quickly grew to be the RAGE. I got married in 1975, and you didn’t have a bridal shower (or a wedding) until you got a Rival Crockpot as a gift. We all did. In fact, I still have mine. A 4-
quart, bright orange model. Works great to this day.
As my family grew, I graduated to a 6-quart model which I love, too. However, as most things go, even what’s been wildly popular will eventually lose its stardom for something new and exciting.
Enter the Instant Pot.
Oh, be still my heart. I got mine for Christmas. A complete surprise cooked up (pardon the pun) by my daughters who thought I needed one. I admit to being quite intimidated by it at first. In fact, I didn’t even take it out of the box for a week. But once I did, and I accomplished the first step—boiling water, by the way—I was hooked.
Believe it or not, pressure cookers have been around a very long time. The first one was
invented by a French physicist in 1679, which he called the digester. Yuck. But the name stuck for a couple of centuries, until it was replaced with ‘pressure cooker’ by the military who needed a way to make fast meals in camps, as well as other inventors working to improve canning and beef extract production.
As the years rolled by, the pressure cooker became smaller, more user friendly, and made cooking and preserving food more economical. I’m quite sure no one expected the primitive digester to evolve into an Instant Pot that can make everything from hard-boiled eggs to yogurt so fun and easy!
Here’s the recipe for my Cowboy Stew. I’ve had this recipe for ages, and I’ve made it in my Rival Crockpot too many times to count. Beau and Ava enjoyed it, too!
4 medium potatoes, sliced
4 large carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, cut in strips
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
Arrange in Crockpot in layers, beginning with the potatoes. Salt and pepper each layer.
Pour 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce on top.
Mix well in a bowl:
1 lb. hamburger
½ cup milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 slice bread, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Press into circle over vegetables to form a cover. Pour another can of tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. oregano leaves.
Cook until meat and vegetables are done. May be baked in 350 degree oven for one hour, or until vegetables are tender.
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Here’s my favorite Instant Pot recipe. Since IP recipes tend to be lengthy from the steps needed, I won’t type it all out, but I’ll give you the link from the food blog, Rachel Cooks. It’s DELICIOUS!
Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage, Spinach and Tomatoes
Have you ever used a pressure cooker? Do you have a slow cooker? Is it a RIVAL? How about an Instant Pot? Do you love it? Hate it? Share recipes!
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