Serves 4 to 6
Cooking Time 3 to 4 hours on Low or 2 to 3 hours on High
Slow Cooker Size 5½ to 7 Quarts
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Slow-cooker meatloaf is often greasy
and unappealing. To fix this, we started with meatloaf mix combined with
a panade, which stayed moist and flavorful—but it was also mushy and
greasy. To fix the mushy texture, we swapped the bread crumbs in the
panade for extra-crunchy panko. We liked the ease of pressing the loaf
directly into the slow cooker, but when we tried to pull it out, it fell apart.
Our solution was a simple aluminum foil sling. The sling also solved our
grease problem: Once we had removed the sling with the meatloaf, it was
easy to skim the extra fat from the sauce. For Italian flair, we added
jarred marinara sauce and topped the loaf with a layer of provolone
cheese. Meatloaf mix is a prepackaged mix of ground beef, pork, and veal;
if it’s unavailable, use 1 pound each of ground pork and 85 percent lean
ground beef. You will need an oval slow cooker for this recipe. See the
sidebar that follows the recipe.

½ cup panko bread crumbs
2½ cups jarred marinara sauce
2 pounds meatloaf mix
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
6 ounces sliced deli provolone cheese

1. Fold sheet of aluminum foil into 12 by 9-inch sling. Mash panko and ½
cup marinara sauce to paste in medium bowl with fork. Gently mix in
meatloaf mix, Parmesan, ¼ cup basil, egg, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼
teaspoon pepper with hands until thoroughly combined. Shape mixture
into 9 by 4-inch loaf across center of foil sling.
2. Add remaining 2 cups marinara sauce to slow cooker. Using sling,
transfer meatloaf to slow cooker and nestle into sauce. Cover and cook
until meatloaf is tender, 3 to 4 hours on low or 2 to 3 hours on high.
3. Lay provolone on top of meatloaf, cover, and cook on high until cheese
is melted, about 5 minutes. Using sling, transfer meatloaf to serving dish.
Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Stir in
remaining 1 tablespoon basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice meatloaf. Serve with sauce.

Tex-Mex Meatloaf

Serves 4
Cooking Time 3 to 4 hours on Low or 2 to 3 hours on High
Slow Cooker Size 5½ to 7 Quarts
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: To liven up classic, family-friendly
meatloaf, we wanted to add flavorful Tex-Mex ingredients like chiles and
taco seasoning. However, simply stirring these additions into our
meatloaf mixture led to a loose, dry loaf. To add moisture and help bind
the loaf together, we made a panade—but in place of the traditional
combination of milk and bread crumbs, we used crispy panko bread
crumbs and flavorful canned enchilada sauce. Our unique panade, along
with the taco seasoning and some spicy chopped green chiles, gave us a
moist, tender Tex-Mex meatloaf that had tasters raving. We wrapped the
uncooked meatloaf in a foil sling for easy removal and nestled it in a
combination of enchilada sauce and tomato sauce to make a flavorful
sauce to serve with the meatloaf. A gooey topping of melted Mexican
cheese blend was the finishing touch. Meatloaf mix is a prepackaged mix
of ground beef, pork, and veal; if it’s unavailable, use 1 pound each of
ground pork and 85 percent lean ground beef. You will need an oval slow
cooker for this recipe. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.

½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 pounds meatloaf mix
½ cup canned chopped green chiles
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (1-ounce) packet taco seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper

1. Fold sheet of aluminum foil into 12 by 9-inch sling. Mash panko and ½
cup enchilada sauce to paste in medium bowl with fork. Gently mix in
meatloaf mix, chiles, egg, and taco seasoning with hands until thoroughly
combined. Shape mixture into 9 by 4-inch loaf across center of foil sling.
2. Combine remaining enchilada sauce and tomato sauce in slow cooker.
Using sling, transfer meatloaf to slow cooker and nestle into sauce. Cover
and cook until meatloaf is tender, 3 to 4 hours on low or 2 to 3 hours on
high.
3. Sprinkle Mexican cheese blend on top of meatloaf, cover, and cook on
high until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Using sling, transfer
meatloaf to serving dish. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface
of sauce. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice
meatloaf. Serve with sauce.

Mexican-Style Pulled Pork Tacos

Serves 4
Cooking Time 9 to 10 hours on Low or 6 to 7 hours on High
Slow Cooker Size 5½ to 7 Quarts
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Weeknight tacos are usually limited
to quick-cooking fillings like ground beef, but the slow cooker makes it
easy to use cuts like pork butt that take several hours to turn tender. We
wanted to make easy pulled pork tacos and pair them with a rich mole
sauce. Traditionally mole requires an extensive list of ingredients to
develop its complex flavor, but we simplified our version by relying on
pantry staples like chili powder, cumin, and chipotle chiles. Canned
tomato sauce added acidity, and raisins gave us just the right sweetness.
Once the pork was cooked through, we quickly blended the sauce to give
it the perfect consistency. A little lime juice and cilantro at the end
balanced the flavors and completed the dish. Pork butt roast is often
labeled Boston butt in the supermarket. Click here for more information
on warming tortillas. Serve with sour cream, chopped onion, chopped
cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, and/or lime wedges. See the sidebar that
follows the recipe.

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (3-pound) boneless pork butt roast
Salt and pepper
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

1. Combine tomato sauce, raisins, chili powder, cumin, chipotle, and
garlic in slow cooker. Slice pork roast crosswise into 4 equal pieces, trim
excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Nestle pork into slow cooker,
cover, and cook until pork is tender, 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours
on high.
2. Transfer pork to bowl and let cool slightly. Shred into bite-size pieces,
discarding excess fat. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of
mole sauce.
3. Process sauce in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in cilantro
and lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust sauce
consistency with extra hot water as needed. Stir 2 cups sauce into
shredded pork. Serve with warm tortillas and remaining sauce.

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