It's a new year and for me a new way of doing whatever it is that will make my life easier, simpler, and more livable with ra.
A crockpot or slow cooker will not only get you out of the kitchen quicker but it will also provide you and your family with wonderful, healthy meals at a fraction of the cost. And did I mention that you don't have to stand over the stove stirring your creation constantly. You simply throw in your ingredients, stir them up gently and leave them alone to slow cook for hours. And if you work, you can prep the pot in the morning and leave it cooking all day (do consider a programmable version if you work) and return to a fully cooked meal. Viola! Instant chef in the house!
It is also the time of year to find wonderful deals on just about everything. So if you don't already own one, may I suggest that if you were lucky enough to get a gift certificate to a retailer that you buy yourself a crock pot. There are just about as many crockpots out there as recipes for them.
And please, please be sure you look for a coupon or coupon code if you are buying online. You can save a small fortune on purchases if you just take an extra minute to search in google (or your favorite search engine) for an applicable coupon or coupon code. Type in the name of your preferred retailer and the word coupon. And may I also suggest if you are an online shopper that you consider signing up on a site called www.ebates.com. You can earn cash back for each purchase you make online through their website.
If you have a large family you are still cooking for then you may want to buy one of the large capacity ones but if you have downsized like my family, you may want to consider a smaller sized one....say the four quart size or so.
I bought mine for myself as my Christmas present. OK, this was my excuse but in my mind it helped me to justify buying it in the first place. I have this thing with buying things for myself. I am not sure if it is a guilt thing or because I grew up under the less is better philosophy but in either case, I am now a proud owner of a wonderful crock pot!!
I am now on the hunt for yummy crockpot recipes. I am sharing here my first crockpot recipe...um...errrr...messy looking but it really it did taste yummy and unfortunately I didn't get a final finished picture which looked much better. So if you have any favorites, I will so appreciate you sharing them with me.
My first crockpot beauty is bestowed with the name Tantalizing Turkey Tidbits. Combine the following ingredients and cook on low until done (about 4-5 hours depending on the size of your crockpot):
1 package of ground lean white turkey meat
1 large onion (I use the sweet type but any onion will do) chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped or you can use chopped garlic from a jar
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I love the Garden Type with lots of veggies in it)
2 teaspoons of Ms. Dash (I use the garlic one but you can the regular one also)
Cook the above mixture for about five hours, then add in one package of cooked frozen mixed veggies. Be sure you cook them before you add them to the mixture. You may be able to add them in at the beginning of this process but I like my veggies crispy, so I add them in towards the very end. I used the mixed version with corn, carrots, and asparagus for this particular day.
If you are avoiding tomatoes for any reason, you can probably substitute chicken broth for the spaghetti sauce and add some flour for thickening (or corn starch for gluten free) but I haven't tried this yet. I am planning on making a stew in the future though and will let you know if this works.
Do save your receipt! If for any reason you find that you don't like using a crockpot (you will have to post and tell me why as I can't fathom that you won't love using this nifty little cooking machine), you can always return it to the store. Waste not, want not!
Happy Crockpot Cooking and do share your new found recipes!
Update: my only complaint so far with the crockpot/slow cooker is that it can be a tad bit heavy when trying to get the ceramic inside out for washing. If you have an extra set of hands available, leave this task to them :-)