Thing #7: Learn to use your slow cooker. It saves time and money.
This seemed like an appropriate tip for this week because Hubby’s office had a soup day, for which he used our slow cooker, and my place of employment had a “Crock Pot®-luck.” We had 30 slow cookers lined up with everything from soup to nuts. There was pulled pork, baked potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, chicken wings, something called Chicken Tagine (which was super delicious, thank you, Sydne), pineapple upside down cake, and my contribution: corn pudding. Very fattening, and delicious. Corn, corn bread mix, sour cream, butter. You get the idea.
The slow cooker makes my life easy. Throw everything in, turn on the cooker, and you’re done. Quite often I throw in frozen meat, and it always turns out great. My favorite thing to slow cook is soup, and if my recipes weren’t in a book I’d share them with you. (I don’t want to violate anybody’s copyrights.) But I do have some good websites to share:
- stephanieodea.com A creative young blogger named Stephanie O’Dea tried a new slow cooker recipe every day for a year and has a cookbook to show for it. Her site has lots of recipes and tips. She’s really funny and uses lots of photos. My kind of gal. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
- www.sixsistersstuff.com Maybe it’s because I’m from a family of five sisters that I love the website “Six Sisters’ Stuff.” Or maybe it’s because they have so much fun stuff on their site that I can spend hours getting lost there. Here’s a recipe for Black Bean and Corn Salsa that is very similar to something I make on a regular basis. http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/09/slow-cooker-black-bean-and-corn-salsa.html
- And here’s Sydne’s super delicious Chicken Tagine: http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/slow-cooker-chicken-tagine-ghk0907?src=email
One more note: A lot of these recipes call for chicken breast, and I always substitute chicken thighs. I prefer the juicier meat of the thigh and am happier to spend less money. Yes, there is a bone in a chicken thigh, but it’s a [as in singular] bone, people. Not that hard.
I know some of you are thinking, “I’m just one person. Slow cookers aren’t practical for me.” Super Slow Cooker Stephanie O’Dae offers this suggestion: Cook a smaller portion in a dish placed inside your slow cooker. She says, “Insert an oven-safe dish into your cooker and then put your food into the dish. This will create a smaller cooking vessel which will insulate your food and keep it from getting over-cooked or lost in a huge machine.”
Besides, leftovers are a good thing, yes? Or invite my family over. Problem solved.
So pull out that slow cooker in the morning, dinner’s done by five. Let’s eat!