Sunday, September 21, 2014

What a crock!

For years, I heard friends, online & "in real life," rave about their crockpots (slow cookers). Pop your ingredients into the pot, turn it on and when you arrive home at night, voila, there's dinner for the whole family.

At first, I didn't think a crockpot was for me. To be honest, I thought of it as a "mom" thing -- a timesaver for busy moms, who needed to make big dinners for an entire family.

Then I realized that *I'm* a busy person too, even if I'm not a mom -- and there are such things as reducing portions, leftovers and freezers. ;) 

So I asked for a crockpot for Christmas one year -- and I got one. Unfortunately, I didn't realize just how big or HEAVY those things can be. I probably could have hauled it home with me if (a) I left everything else that had been in my suitcase behind, & (b) paid the airline extra fees for overweight baggage. I was also afraid of cracking or breaking the ceramic insert in transit.

So I asked my mom to return the crockpot. She gave me a gift card instead & when I got back home, I went shopping & bought my own crockpot.

Unfortunately, dh balked at the idea of leaving stuff cooking on the counter while we were out of the house for 11 hours (!), working & commuting.  And we always seemed to find something else to make for dinner on the weekend.  So the crockpot sat in my cupboard, unused and forlorn.

Fast forward to the present:  both dh & I are now unemployed/early-retired. We have more time now to cook, and to think about dinner and menu planning, and to try new recipes -- to expand our repertoire beyond the fast & convenient foods we'd come to rely on while we were working.

So I suggested dusting off the crockpot.

About two weeks ago, we made a pot roast for Sunday dinner that turned out beautifully and gave us enough leftovers that we were able to feast on hot roast beef sandwiches for the next few days for lunch.

Tonight, we tried beef stew, which also turned out well. 

Crockpots -- not just for moms. ;) 

Do you have & use a crockpot? Any favourite recipes or recipe sites you can recommend (keeping in mind that I have a tomato allergy = no tomatos, tomato sauce or paste or barbecue sauce). 


  1. Yeah, Grey has a similar issue with running electrical devices without supervision. Considering he's been right about the appliances (dishwasher leaked that could have been much worse if we weren't home), I've not pushed it.

    That said: meatballs. Swedish or German to get away from tomatoes (Hawaiian are also good). We've also made beef stroganoff, white chicken chili, baked beans and roasted sage lemon chicken. Pinterest has given me some ideas, but there are also some good crockpot cookbooks at the library.


  3. Link above is Canadinan Living mag recipe for SC curry. My absolute fav recipe for SC. No tomatoes.

    Love the SC , but I also love big bathes & freezing.

  4. I love my crock pot and am so excited about the cooler weather so I can use it more often. I don't really use recipes-my method of cooking is typically to throw some things in and add some seasonings and see how it turns out. :) I use it to make soup a lot, though if you make your own stock it can be a three day process to make good soup. It's also good for making shredded chicken which can be used for any number of different things as well as any kind of beans.

  5. There are so many recipes out on the web. Right now since I am low carb, I plan on making low carb soups and stews mostly. You can do a whole chicken in it and country style ribs. I do chili a lot during the cooler months. My crockpot also came with a recipe book, did yours? Enjoy...I so love my crockpot but yes I haven't left it going during the week while at work, mostly just on the weekends while I am at home.

  6. I love the idea of using a crockpot, but rarely use it because I am completely clueless about it. I need to find more recipes lol. I have made some Beef Broccoli stir fry and Chicken Terryaki in it that turned out alright:

  7. I adore my crock pot. Soups are especially good (try carrot ginger coconut search) and any lentil/bean soup works well (especially pea soup). I also do chili, beef stroganoff, chicken curry, spaghetti sauce, etc. Have fun exploring. As you try more stuff, you'll find what works and what doesn't. Sometimes the hardest part of slow cooking is finding the liquid ratio - trial and error sometimes, I'm afraid. Good luck!

  8. Lamb shanks (or neck chops) would be really great in a crock pot. I have a number of non-tomato-based recipes if you'd like them. Perfect winter comfort food. And Moroccan tagines are delicious and would work too.

  9. Oh! And how could I forget? Thai curries. Yum!

  10. I use the crockpot mainly for pot roast - so much that I've forgotten how to make it in the oven! But, I have also made pulled pork which is delicious. Basically, you just put some spices of your choice on a pork butt roast and maybe some cider or apple juice or beer for the liquid. Then you let it cook for 8 hours. Once it's done, you shred it. If your husband wants to make barbecue pork, he can add barbecue sauce to the pork. But my favorite way to eat it is a pork taco with corn tortillas, guacamole (the kind we buy doesn't have tomatoes), cheese, black olives, etc. Delicious!

  11. I love my crockpot. Got a meal cooking in mine right now. My crockpot is not the ceramic kind, it's the Teflon one. Alot lighter and easier to clean. I have a new recipe cooking in right now for unstuffed cabbage but it used tomato sauce. A good one for beef roast is cream of mushroom soup and envelope of dry onion soup mix.


    Here's one I'm gonna try!

  13. I love my slow cooker! We use it a lot and then freeze the extras, so we always have good meals on the days we don't want to cook.

    This is excellent:

    I don't eat pork or beef, and so I used turkey sausages and it came out delish.