Part II: Slow Cooker Soups and Desserts
If you work in foodservice and are looking for decadent recipes for one-pot slow cooker dishes such as casseroles, stews, soups, and even desserts, you have come to the right place! Guaranteed to please your customers’ palates, you can create a winning restaurant menu with easy-to-make recipes where all the ingredients are simply combined in a single pot, pan, skillet, or slow cooker. Not only do these all-in-one dishes and desserts require few utensils and cleanup, but they take minimal time to prepare, include ingredients that are on hand and easy to substitute, are often large enough to feed large groups, and can be kept for use as leftovers or stored in the freezer.
For one-pot cooking tips and tricks using a slow cooker, and to learn how your chefs can maximize the wonders of a slow cooker or crock-pot, be sure to read Part I: Slow Cookers and Crock Pots.
Hearty One-Pot Soups
With the cold winter temperatures deep in the air, now is an ideal time to add some comforting new winter soup recipes to your repertoire. Recipes for one-pot soups typically constitute an entire meal, complete with protein, starch (carbohydrates), fats, vegetables, spices, herbs, and ‘everything else.’ There are even recipes for Lasagna Soup and innovations such as Chipotle Black-Bean Vegetable Soup. From family sized soups to a single-serving cup-of-soup, these restaurant menu items will hit the spot every time.
To cater to your customers, here is a recipe recommended by the pros.
Marvelous Minestrone Soup
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 3 cans chicken broth
- 1 large can tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped green cabbage
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1/4 tsp. oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper
- 2 tbsp. fresh or dried parsley
- 4 cups pasta (shell or elbow)
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup drained canned garbanzo peas (chickpeas)
- Heat oil in 5 quart saucepan.
- Add onions and garlic cloves and cook over medium heat.
- Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, and seasonings.
- Add 1 cup water. Increase heat, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the chopped vegetables and chickpeas.
- Cook uncovered on low heat until pasta is tender.
- Season with optional salt for taste.
- Bon Appétit!
Decadent One-Pot Desserts
If you thought one-pot recipes were relegated to the realm of only cooking hearty meals, think again! Baking lovers are literally eating up the growing number of one-pot dessert recipes available, from slow-cooker brownies to coconut-cashew-yogurt parfaits, to Martha Stewart’s citrus fruit salad with pomegranate, coconut and honey, to mouthwatering roasted peaches and vanilla cups, and broiled pineapple and cinnamon served alongside a cake-in-a-box or no-bake-dessert-in-a-jar.
One-Pot Dessert Classics
If you think about it, some of the most well-known desserts are in essence one-pot dishes. Think fruit-and-nut packed fruit cakes with rum, multi-layered trifles, pretty frozen parfaits, and ice cream cakes. Popular around the globe, here are some of the nuances involved in perfecting the preparation of these iconic dessert favorites.
Making the Perfect Trifle
Served in a deep, round “see-through” or clear dish, trifles are an ideal Instagrammable dessert to feature on your restaurant’s website and social media outlets. Made from crumbled cake or cake chunks, custard/pudding and fruit, and topped with whipped cream, nuts, crumbs or crushed cookies, and optional hot/cold sauces, the variety of tastes and textures your culinary staff can conjure up are limited only by the imagination.
Picture the following wide array of to-die-for trifle desserts: Traditional lemon or raspberry trifle, mixed-berry trifle, toffee-brownie trifle, chocolate peppermint trifle, waffle-and-strawberry trifle, peach-melba trifle, and more. These all-in-one desserts are clamored for year-round and rise in popularity during the holiday season.
According to the pros, here is how to layer a trifle: Begin from the bottom up, starting with a layer of cake. Top with custard and fruit. Repeat layers until the top of the dish has been reached. (Some recipes call for a layer of liquor, fruit juice, or syrup added between the cake and custard). Add toppings of your choice, and voila!
Word to the Wise: Don’t wait too long before serving a trifle as after three to four days of storage in the fridge, it will begin to get gloopy and sag…
Picture Perfect Parfaits
When it comes to creating a virtual online superhighway to your restaurant’s head-turning recipes, nothing says ‘Instagram Friendly’ more than the sweet, fruit-packed, heavenly layered frozen dessert in a glass jar known as a parfait. FYI, in French, the world parfait means ‘perfect’.
Here is the latest scoop on contemporary parfait recipes. Although traditionally made with layers of frozen custard — ice cream and flavored yogurt layers are becoming increasingly popular today. Likewise, some pros are substituting classic layers of cake with innovative layers of granola and fresh fruit, and this puréed concoction is often plated in a variety of ways, and not restricted to presentation in a glass bowl or jar. There are even vegan parfait recipes you can offer such as key lime pie, spicy pumpkin, and more.
Recommended Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes
Here are some traditional and more innovative slow cooker recipes to add to your menu!
Slow Cooker Brownies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1-1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Vanilla ice cream
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- Line the bowl of a 4-quart slow cooker with parchment paper or spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, by hand or with a mixer, whisk together butter, sugars, flour, cocoa powder, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until set around the edges and slightly gooey in the center.
- Top with (or serve alongside) ice cream and strawberries
Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler
- 1 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup fat-free milk
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 cups raspberries
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 3 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
- In a small bowl combine egg, milk, and canola oil. Whisk together until completely blended.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.
- Spread over the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker.
- Combine 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup flour and salt in a medium bowl. Then add in raspberries and blueberries (either fresh or frozen) and lemon juice. Stir so that the raspberries and blueberries are evenly coated with the sugar-flour mixture.
- Evenly distribute the raspberries and blueberries over the batter.
- Cover and cook on LOW for about 2 to 2½ hours or until the batter is cooked through.
- Top (or serve alongside) ice cream or frozen yogurt.