Who wants to think about cooking on the Fourth of July? This is definitely a picnic-type holiday so get out the hot dogs and start grilling.

Who wants to think about cooking on the Fourth of July? This is definitely a picnic-type holiday so get out the hot dogs and start grilling. When I didn’t feel like cooking earlier this week, I pulled out the smaller of my crock pots (the one that holds about three quarts) and tested Crockpot Ravioli. This recipe has been lying on the counter for weeks because I just couldn’t believe that something so easy could possibly be tasty. If you are reading this early on the Fourth, you’ve actually got time to run to the grocery store to pick up the needed ingredients and you can take this to your picnic tonight! We enjoyed this with big bowls of fresh fruit that I topped with cottage cheese. Choose your favorite spaghetti sauce and start cooking. If you have leftover grilled hamburgers or sausages, you can crumble them up and add the meat into the crock pot when you add the spaghetti sauce. Incidentally this comes from the website www.crystalandcomp.com.

Unfortunately I failed to note where I found the following recipe for what I’m calling “Another Quick Chicken Recipe” so I can’t give credit where credit is certainly due nor do I know the original title but I do know that we both really, really liked it. This recipe calls for teriyaki sauce as an ingredient and I ended up looking up a recipe to make some from scratch. Now I have it readily on hand in the refrigerator so that we can repeat this recipe as often as we want.

Ready for another crock pot recipe? This one uses a boneless pork loin roast. Just mix up the sauce, place the roast in a lightly greased crock pot and allow the pork to cook itself for six to eight hours. All you’ll need to do is shred the pork and serve it with the sauce over mashed potatoes, rice or potato rolls.

Crockpot Ravioli

(www.crystalandcomp.com )

1 24- or 25-ounce bag of frozen mini-cheese ravioli

1 (24-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce of your choice

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Lightly grease the crock part of a 3-quart crock pot. Dump your bag of frozen ravioli right into the crock pot. Pour your sauce over the ravioli. Stir the ravioli to evenly coat with sauce. (Be careful; don’t chip a nail. I know this is strenuous work). Cover and cook on HIGH for about 3 hours. Depending on how fast your crock pot cooks, you may notice they are done closer to 2.5 hours. You could also cook on LOW for a longer period of time. About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the ravioli with finely shredded mozzarella cheese. Pop the lid back on and let it melt — about 20 minutes. Once the cheese is melted, plate it up and serve. Serves about 6.


Another Quick Chicken Recipe

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

4-ounces Dijon mustard (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (OR see recipe below)

1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in a lightly greased 9-x13-inch baking dish. Slather mustard evenly over the chicken. Pour teriyaki sauce evenly over all. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon then sprinkle cheese over bacon. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.


“Homemade” Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root (usually found in the produce section)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 minced garlic clove (optional and not used for testing)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

Place soy sauce, 1 cup water, grated ginger, brown sugar and garlic if using in a small saucepan. In a separate cup dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water and set aside.  Bring ingredients in the saucepan to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir dissolved cornstarch into the sauce, continuing to cook and stirring to allow the sauce to thicken. If the sauce gets too thick, just stir in a little more soy sauce or water to thin. Store leftover Teriyaki Sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for several weeks.


Shredded Apricot Pork Roast

1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

1 cup apricot preserves

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s original)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3 to 4 pound boneless pork loin roast


Lightly grease crock of a 5-quart crock pot. Combine onion flakes, preserves, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes together and stir to mix. Place pork roast in the prepared crock and pour sauce over all. Cover and cook on LOW for six to eight hours. Remove roast from liquid, place on a cutting board, pull apart with two forks to shred and return to sauce in the crock.