Let’s eat!
Illinois consumers’ favorite Crock Pot recipes
November 8, 2011—CUB Energy Saver estimates that using a slow-cooker rather than your stove’s burner can save $10 to $20 a year in energy costs. That means soups, stews and chilis not only taste good—they’ll save you money too.

Zach, of Chicago, correctly guessed the answer to CUB's "Crock Pot Quiz," and was randomly selected as the winner of CUB's $100 prize.

"That's awesome!" he said. His family uses CUB Energy Saver for ideas on how to cut costs, "from using appliances in off-peak hours, to better insulating our home," he said. "The more we do, the more our bill drops."

CUB thanks more than 100 consumers who took the quiz, and the dozens who submitted their favorite Crock Pot recipes. CUB staffers selected a few of their favorites below. The rest are hanging on CUB's bulletin board, ready to be enjoyed.
This is an easy chicken and dressing mixture for the slow cooker. Serve this tasty chicken dish with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce on the side.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
Ingredients: 1 package herb-seasoned stuffing mix (prepared), 4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves or boneless thighs, without skin, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can (3 to 4 ounces or more) sliced mushrooms (drained).
Preparation: Prepare packaged stuffing mix with butter and liquid as directed on package. Layer stuffing in the bottom of greased slow cooker. Place the chicken pieces on top. Chicken can overlap some, but try to arrange with as little overlap as possible. If there is room, you could use more chicken. On top of the chicken, pour 1 can of cream of chicken soup, or you could use cream of mushroom, or cream of celery, whatever you like. Just don't add the liquid the soup can says to use. Add the mushrooms. Be sure to stir the mushrooms around a little so they are coated with the soup. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

- Melody, Plainfield
Ingredients: 1 large green pepper (diced), 1 large red onion (diced), 2 stalks of celery (split in half lengthwise and diced), 4 to 5 large cloves of garlic (minced), 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes and marinated--marinade recipe below), 1 lb. smoked sausage (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds), 12 oz package frozen, peeled and deveined ready to cook shrimp (thawed and tails removed), 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, 4 to 5 whole bay leaves, 1 cup chicken stock, 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes, 8 oz can tomato paste, 2 to 3 teaspoons file powder (ground sassafras leaves), salt and pepper to taste.
Chicken marinade ingredients: 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chicken stock, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried garlic powder, sprinkle of salt, pinch of ground black pepper, a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Preparation: 1. In a small bowl, combine all marinade ingredients above, except olive oil. When combined, whisk in olive oil. Place cubed chicken in a zip top bag and pour marinade over. Seal the bag, place in a small baking dish (to protect against leaks) and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a four quart crock pot, combine the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, cajun seasoning, thyme, oregano, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Stir together well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (no more than 1/4 teaspoon of each).
3. On top of the vegetables, layer on the smoked sausage.
4. Drain the marinade off the chicken and layer on top of the sausage.
5. Place the bay leaves on top of the chicken and then layer on the diced tomatoes, including the liquid they come in.
6. Cover, set crock pot to low and cook for six hours.
7. Stir contents together well and stir in can of tomato paste.
8. Recover and cook an additional half hour.
9. Stir in the raw shrimp and cook for an additional hour.
10. Before serving, stir in the file powder. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
11. Serve over cooked rice.

- Vincent, Bolingbrook
Ingredients: 2 lbs frozen O'Brien cubed hash brown potatoes, 16 ounces sour cream, 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup, 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup green onion (chopped), 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Preparation: Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Turn ingredients into crock pot. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

- Valeri, Rockford
I won a contest last spring with this Vegetarian Chili.

Ingredients: 1 can kidney beans, 1 can black beans, 1 can garbanzo beans, 1 (large) can whole or crushed tomatoes, 2 cups frozen corn, 1 onion (chopped), 1 Tbsp minced garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, chili powder, olive oil.
Preparation: Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until transparent. Dump all the cans of ingredients, including the liquids, into the pot. Add the corn and mix well. Bring the chili up to a simmering boil and slowly, by small amounts, add the spices to suit your taste. Let the chili simmer to blend the flavors, but it's ready to eat at any time. Also terrific the next day.

- Jill, Chicago
Ingredients: 1 whole large onion, 1 whole pork shoulder (5 To 7 pounds), salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 can (11 ounce) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 2 cans Dr. Pepper, 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
Preparation: Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of Crock Pot. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce). Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in. Place lid tightly on pot. Cook in crock pot for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the Crock Pot for another hour. Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold.) Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up. Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you'd like.

- Angeles, Chicago