09 October 2011

Crockpot Season

A little over a year ago, I decided I needed a slow cooker.  I think the majority of my friends think that either a) old women or b) southern stay at home moms use crockpots.  Not true.  Because I'm away from the house every day for 8+ hours, I'm always looking for ways to cook a tasty, healthy meal without having to stand at the stove as soon as I get home.

I spent $7 on this crockpot at the Goodwill down the street.  At the time, I wasn't entirely sure if I was buying an old dejected crockpot that wouldn't work, or making out like a bandit.  I've worked hard to scope out new recipes and work to perfect some of the recipes that I've found.  It's hard to know when you're assembling ingredients if your meal will be delicious, bland or over-flavored.  I've hit the jackpot a couple of times.  I've listed links to a couple of my favorite recipes below.

On Stephanie O'Dea's blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, I've found a ton of great recipes, as well as a many modifications to recipes that really help me to manage cooking in the slow cooker.  The majority of recipes for the slow cooker are for pork, beef and the occasional whole chicken.  Not all of the recipes are meant to sit for 8+ hours, which has limited my interest in trying them.  Twointeresting suggestion from A Year of Slow Cooking: use frozen chicken to prevent it from completely falling apart and layering your crockpot.  The second one I would never have thought of - assemble your crockpot, put down a layer of foil, and put some baked potatoes or corn on top of it.  The best advice Stephanie had though, was to use frozen chicken - that way, it won't disintegrate by the time you get to dinner time.

The crockpot has saved the bearded giant and I from cooking after work on a number of occasions. In fact, it's freeing up a ton of time this weekend.  I used it yesterday and today - and I'm hoping to use it this week as well.

Have any recipe suggestions that I might like??

Apricot Chicken
(I used 4 bone/skinless thighs and halved the amount of preserves.) Solstice Bean Stew (I used black beans because I had them.)
Coq au Vin
Black Bean Soup
Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili (added all ingredients to slow cooker, used only 2.5 C broth, cooked 6-8 hours on low)
Moroccan Chicken & Vegetables (used 6 bone/skinless thighs, cut the water in half and substituted chicken broth, served over couscous)
White Chicken Chili (used 2 cans white beans, added a diced onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
Creamy Curried Vegetable Soup
Provençal Chicken Stew (I used broth, fresh chopped tomatoes, NO tomato paste, olives, garlic, potatoes and a LOT of herbes de provence)
Corn and Chicken Poblano Braised Chicken (used bone/skinless chicken breasts - loved this!  added queso fresco to the finished product and ate both over rice and in tortillas)
Squash and Apple Soup (there are a hundred of these out there, this is one of a couple that I consulted when assembling my own - I added a teaspoon of curry powder)

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