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America's Home Cooking host Chris Fennimore.
Click to view/download photo.
(300 dpi JPGs; print size appr. 5 x 7)
Photo credit: Blaine Stiger/WQED Multimedia

America's Home Cooking: Crock Pot

New and old family favorites are now served! Crock pots are making a comeback in America's kitchens. The convenience and ease of cooking with a crock pot is the focus in this latest installment of America's Home Cooking: Crock Pot.

The program reveals that cooking in a crock pot goes beyond casseroles. From appetizers to side dishes, main dishes to desserts – almost anything can be done in a slow cooker.

Chris Fennimore, Host of America's Home Cooking comments, "Everyone's got one of these crock pots stashed in a closet or basement. Now there's incentive to dust them off and start making delicious meals that will please your family and save you time."

Home cooks share the kitchen with Chris, bringing treasured family recipes that are easy to make, but taste like hours of work in the kitchen. Friends and neighbors share their most beloved recipes as well as tips and tricks for successful crock pot cooking.

Crock pots are a time saving way to deliver delicious meals to the busy American family. The recipes are "user-friendly."

Fennimore adds, "The everyday cook can find something new to add to their kitchen repertoire and each recipe is sure to be a hit!"

Recipes featured on America's Home Cooking: Crock Pot include, wedding soup, spinach casserole, apple crisp and liquid lasagna and more. Plus there are 150 recipes included in the companion cookbook available as a pledge thank you gift.

"Crock Pot" is the fifth installment in the WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh America's Home Cooking series, which includes: Potato, Cookies, Italian and Comfort Food shows.

WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh provides educational, cultural and informational programming, products and services for local and national audiences. It is the parent company of WQED tv13, WQED fm89.3, WQEJ fm89.7/Johnstown, a publishing division, which includes PITTSBURGH magazine, local and national television and radio productions and the WQED Education Resource Center.

WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh is Telling America's Stories with the "All-American Documentaries," "American Soundtrack" and "America's Home Cooking."

For additional information, please e-mail:

Spinach Casserole

• 2 10-oz packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
• 2 c cottage cheese
• 4 TBS butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
• 1 1/2 c cubed American cheese
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 c flour
• 1 tsp salt

Grease the crock pot. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour in. Cover, and cook on low setting for 4 to 5 hours; or on high for 1 hour.

Alyson Sprague, Sewickley-PA

Chocolate Mess Dessert

1 18.25-oz package chocolate cake mix
1 pint sour cream
1 5-oz package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 6-oz bag chocolate chips
3/4 c oil
4 eggs
1 c water

Grease the crock pot; mix all the ingredients in it.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Do not lift lid to look. Serve immediately with ice cream.

Note: May be stored in the refrigerator.

Mary Mannella, Penn Hills, PA

Liquid Lasagna

• 1 lb lean ground beef
• 1 lb ground pork
• 1 medium onion, finely diced
• 1 TBS oregano
• 1 TBS basil
• 2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
• Salt, to taste
• Red pepper flakes, to taste
• 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 c red wine
• 1 c ricotta cheese
• 1 c grated Romano cheese

In a large skillet over high heat, sauté the beef and pork until they begin to brown. Add the onion, oregano and basil, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. (Add the fennel seeds, salt and red pepper flakes if using.)

Place the skillet mixture, crushed tomatoes and garlic in the crock pot. Deglaze the skillet with the wine and add to cooker.

Cover, and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Add the cheeses and stir well to blend. Cover, and continue to cook for another hour.

Use as a topping for bruschetta, pizza or pasta.

Chris Fennimore, "QED Cooks"


America's Home Cooking: Cookies

When it comes to desserts, a cook is never short on options. Cakes, pies and ice cream are always a hit, but nothing comes close to a cookie in the sweet treats category. Cookies are pleasing to everybody, simple to make and the choices -- chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, icing -- are endless. It's no wonder so many people cherish memories of making cookies from their childhood, and carry on the tradition with their families through generations.

America's Home Cooking host Chris Fennimore.
Click to view/download photos.
(300 dpi JPGs; print size appr. 8 x 10)
Photo credit: Blaine Stiger/WQED Multimedia

America's Home Cooking: Cookies captures the love affair we all have with these delicious desserts. This three-hour pledge event will invite your viewers and their taste buds into our kitchen for recipes like ethnic Greek cookies, a Snickers bar cookie sure to delight the kids and an elegant Vienna Tart with apricot filling. Host Chris Fennimore (click here for bio) will demonstrate a mouth watering assortment of cookies along with co-host Nancy Polinsky and their guests, home cooks, who share their family's best loved cookie recipes with the audience.

Cookies is the latest installment in the America's Home Cooking series, which also includes Comfort Food and Italian shows (below).

For additional information, please e-mail:

America's Home Cooking:
Comfort Food

All of America has turned to comfort foods in this time of national and international stress. And what is comfort food? After collecting more than 100 recipes from public television viewers, the preparations fall into predictable categories.

First, there are the hearth-warming soups and stews that satisfy the appetite and the soul. Slow cooking provides a house filled with soothing aromas and the promise of gustatory satisfaction. Then there are the foods of our childhood. Whether it's meat loaf and mashed potatoes or spaghetti and meatballs, we turn to the foods of our youth for comfort.

Next we have the ethnic foods that tie us not just to our families but to a heritage that goes back for generations. Finally, there are the recipes of absolute indulgence. People find comfort in the idea of a platter heaped with fudgy brownies or a pineapple cheesecake.

The dishes we selected to demonstrate in this program touch all these categories. Chris Fennimore shows Nancy Polinsky one of his family favorites, Pasta with Fried Zucchini, while she shares her easy Toffee Coffee Cake recipe.

Other house-warming recipes demonstrated are a spicy turkey and black bean chili, a hearty soup that mimics the flavors of stuffed cabbage, a classic meatloaf swimming in mushroom gravy, dumplings for all occasions and a "dump and bake" dessert called Peaches and Cream that will become an instant family tradition.

America's Home Cooking:

Hosts Chris Fennimore and Nancy Polinsky gather some of the best home cooks to share their recipes for Italian favorites from Chicken Cacciatore to Alfredo Sauce.

As a way of showing their support for public television, viewers have sent in their family treasures, recipes which have been handed down from generation to generation. These preparations are tried and true family favorites which have withstood the test of time and been honed on the appetites of hearty eaters.

The program begins with Chris Fennimore's own recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. This savory stew of chicken, vegetables and olives is an Italian classic. There's a zesty pasta with puttanesca sauce, a heart-healthy Alfredo sauce, stuffed artichokes, an authentic Italian casserole called Tiela and, of course, baked eggplant.

These are recipes that viewers can easily follow and will want to make for themselves. Best of all, these dishes are only a small example of the recipes that are in the cookbook.

Pledge talent Ginny Griffin and Stephanie Matiak will have viewers salivating as they read some of the delectable dishes that are included.

Chris and Nancy also make sure that they bring samples of the food being prepared in the kitchen set. Irresistible close-ups of food send viewers directly to the phone so they can be part of the cooking excitement and make these sure-fire recipes for their family and friends.

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