Fast, Slow Food, Volume 3

by Stefani on 6-November-2009

yummy

Well YAY!!! I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only person who hadn't been introduced to the wonders of the foil packet!

I'm also really glad to know that I'm not the only biggo dork who gets excited about crock pot revelations. I really had no idea that it would come to this. Next thing you know I'll be wearing house dresses and asking Santa for a new vacuum attachment! 

It's okay though. I'm willing to sacrifice my dignity to pass on the slow cooker wisdom. We moms have to stick together!

So, back to the amazing crockpot-o-matic tricks and tips…

pots

Slow Cooker Revelation #3 – Slow Cookers Aren't Just for Cooking Anymore!

You know sometimes I don't really need to cook something all day. Sometimes I just need a little help manipulating the available time. In this case, the slow cooker becomes a quick warmer. Case in point… we're finished up with school and we really need to make a run to the grocery store. I realize that by the time we get home everyone is going to be hungry and impatient for dinner. I'm going to have to get bags unloaded and stuff put away while listening to the last requests of the starving as they wither into nothingness. 

Oh yes, we get very dramatic when we haven't eaten in…. oh, say half an hour. 

 In this case the slow cooker meal may be pre cooked chicken or left over briskit thrown into the pot with a bottle of barbecue sauce, just before we head off to the store. I might add in a few of these foil wrapped rolls (which I make ahead and keep in the freezer).   When we come home from the store I put the boys in charge of setting the table while I put away the groceries. By the time the reusable bags are returned to their hook, dinner is served! We've got mini barbecue sandwiches to which we'll add a side of raw carrots with ranch and some fruit.

Slow Cooker Revelation #4 – Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize. 

In my last post I told you how it never occurred to me that crockpot meals didn't have to be big gooey casseroles all the time. It also never crossed my mind that the crockpot doesn't have to be the sole supplier of your menu. You can use it to make the creamy chicken that will go on top of your rice, or the sauce and meatballs that top your pasta, or the filling for yummy lettuce wraps, or the beginnings of your teryiaki sandwiches

Think of it this way: whatever comes out of your crockpot is your little black dress. It can be fantastic in and of itself, but with accessories it gets even better…. grandma's pearls make it fancy, a funky scarf and boots make it right for a night on the town. In the same way your crockpot, with the right accessories, can give dinner a while new look. 

It has really opened up so many new possibilities for me when I began to think of the crock pot as a PART of the meal and not the sum total of it. 

Slow Cooker Revelation #5 – If One is Good, Three is Better!

So as I said in my first Slow Cooker post, I recently brought home my THIRD crockpot. Now honestly, I didn't really need THREE, but the two I had were both that tallish round sort that resembles a stock pot.I really can't remember how I ended up with two in the first place.  The two pots that I had were great for soups and small meals, but not so good for stuffing full of packets of potatoes or making big roasts. They're also kind of ancient so they don't have all the fancy timers and "warm" setting features that the newer ones have. They don't even have the removable pot that makes clean up easier. So one day, in a fit of summer-weary refusal to turn on my oven, I caved and brought home a bigger fancier crockpot. 

What I learned is that having more than one pot opens up a whole new world! Say you've got a lasagna cooking in one pot. You can put packets of broccoli and some of those aforementioned rolls in a second pot an hour or two before dinner. You can have a roasting chicken in one pot and throw some of this yummy corn in another. You can have chinese hot pot soup in one pot and kung pao chicken cooking in another. 

Or…. wait for it…. you can use your extra pot for DESSERT!!!! Bake up some apples (so good as a topping for vanilla ice cream), make a cobbler, or even CHEESECAKE or pumpkin pie!

I'm really so excited about this last revelation because I think that it will make a big difference when it comes to holiday cooking. There's always that struggle to time what comes in and goes out the oven. How do you fit the turkey and the pie and the corn casserole in the oven at the same time? And what if they need to be at different temperatures? 

So there you have it friends, all the new (to me) ways to use a slow cooker to make keeping your family fed just a little bit easier. 

This weekend I'll pop in with a list of some of our favorite slow cooking recipes, and next week I'll talk about something totally different. Promise!

Have a great day, friends!

{ 22 comments }

Stacy November 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

It is so much fun to see what you can make in a slow cooker! I have always used mine for holidays and such, because I end up cooking a lot of food and am not good with the timing thing. Why would we expect thr rolls to be done at the same time as the turkey?! LOL! Don’t forget that the slow cooker is great to use to take dishes to a potluck because then it keeps the food warm. The slow cooker is a great time saver as long as you remember to thaw your meat ahead of time, which is my biggest downfall! Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

Jennifer November 6, 2009 at 10:57 am

We’ve only ever used ours for the ribs (I shared on your first post in a comment), roast, baked beans, and nacho cheese. I can’t wait to experiment with it… hoping I can NOT ruin a dinner. I’ve had to make two emergency Sonic runs in the last week. I’m a horrible cook.

DebbieR November 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

Okay…I haven’t even finished reading the post yet!! I will because I love these posts (well I love all of them, but I have gotten off subject).

Did you draw that crockpot graphic with the four crockpots with the star like designs on them? I am sure you did. Well anyway, they are fabulous. You should totally offer this as a downloadable graphic on recipe cards. I am always lookign for retro/vintage style recipe cards and these graphics are just so fantastic that I for one would buy them and print them on cardstock for recipe cards.

Whaddaya think? Just a suggestion…cause I luvvvv it!
Now back to the unfinished read of the post.

Valarie Budayr November 6, 2009 at 11:32 am

Ok….You are now crowned the crockpot queen. Great info that I never thought of and incredible drawings. This has been so much fun.

Butzeballchen November 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I ditto DebbieR’s comment (see my comment on Flickr). I really like the crockpot graphic. You have inspired me to get creative with my slow cooker. Bring on some recipe links!

Helen November 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Oh-my-gosh. Now I totally want Santa to put a crock-pot under the tree for me this year. I only wonder if Santa will take my begging pleas seriously… Seriously Santa… I want one… stop laughing… go read Blue Yonder’s post and you’ll want one too.

barbara November 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I love your illustrations… very crock pot chic :D
slow cooked cinnamon apples are amazing in a crock pot- perfect for a cozy breakfast with some scrambled eggs and bacon. i wonder if there is a way to do crock pot bacon– that would blow my mind!

Stefani November 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Well thank you, Debbie! I’ve been thinking about some fun printables… you might have just given me that little nudge that I needed :-)

Susan November 7, 2009 at 9:57 am

Thank you so much for this series…what an eye-opener! Packets? What a concept…and here I thought you could only make glop in them. I am so digging out my crockpot and putting it to good use. If that works out well, maybe it will find itself with a new brother or sister!

Did I remember to say “thank you!”?

Stacy Herrera November 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm

You are such a smarty!! I knew nothing of these packets!! I always equated crock pot with a big crock of fully combined goodness – I am so excited to try using mine for packeted goodness! Thanks for inspiring me to pull the crock out of retirement!

Kez November 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Trying mine out today – thanks for the inspiration!!

Rebecca November 8, 2009 at 8:11 am

i love my crockpot, but I have to admit I have not been using it to it’s full potential… i am excited (is that sad?) to try some new ideas!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Catherine November 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I’m encouraged to keep trying.

DebbieR November 10, 2009 at 9:55 am

oooh I really hope so! I know I am not the only one.

Grace November 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm

I just loved this series, Stefani! So many new ideas — really, really helpful. Thank you!

Collen P November 11, 2009 at 9:26 am

SO glad I’m not the only dork with 3 crock pots, and equally glad I saw you on the Momadvice blogs to read about these new-to-me ways to use them!

Collen P November 11, 2009 at 10:53 am

LOL-Helen, you KNOW Mrs. Santa already has crock pots-all those elves to feed, crazy schedule and who knows when the hubs will get home?

Catherine November 13, 2009 at 8:41 am

After a week or so, I have determined the new crock pot will stay. I have made roasted chicken, chicken enchiladas, white chicken chili, beef stew, and am now making Pho. I’m glad you, Once a Month Mom, and 365 day slow cooking have encouraged me to try again!

Rachael November 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

All I can say is WOW!!! Thank you for the ideas and inspiration… I’ve just bought my 2nd crockpot. I hadn’t even thought of using packets, I tried potatoes with parsley butter and carrot & beans tonight, they didn’t work out this time as I didn’t give it enough time, I had to finish them in the steamer LOL… but will try again.

Lenetta @ Nettacow November 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Great tips! I love my crock pot, but I could stand to do more experimenting yet. I linked to this on my weekly roundup – post is under my name. Thanks!!

Kimberly November 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm

New here via Progressive Pioneer. What fun! I have been clicking around and find much inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I need to rethink the crockpot myself.

urban organica November 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm

wow stef! – you’re such a natural with the whole retro-graphic thing! okay, i’ll pull it out. i think i’ve used it once, but like the rest of us, have this ridiculous longing to use that thing. you’ve convinced me! and – i know you’re full these days, in a really good way. we’ll chat at the right moment, no worries…xoxo

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