As the kids are back to school, it’s time to embrace my FAVORITE appliance of all time: the crock-pot.
Even before I had kids, I marveled at this low-wattage miracle device which allowed me to, literally, throw in a bunch of ingredients (2 points if I get the carrots in on the first shot) and after a long day at work, come home to a hot, delicious meal. Even if I had errands or chores (shoveling, for example), the food usually didn’t burn and if it did, it wasn’t a lot. I’d walk in to a house so fragrant, one would swear someone had been cooking all day just for my pleasure.
Now that I have kids and a husband who works long hours, I still rely on the crock-pot for its simplicity and convenience. The devices are fairly inexpensive (in the $20 to $150 range) and the one I have has a 4-quart capacity which is perfect for my family. To learn more about choosing a slow-cooker, visit About.com. Also, since I’m a renowned culinary disaster (seriously, my picture is up in kitchens all over the world), I redeem myself with this appliance.
Here’s my favorite recipe I make once a week since my husband and son love it so much:
I make this at least once a week in the winter because my son loves it and it freezes well. Come to think of it, most of the crock-pot dishes I make freeze well…
1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ground turkey
2- 15.5 cans of drained black beans
1- 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I’d use diced tomatoes, but the boy can’t stand tomato chunks.)
1 or 2 packages of chili mix (depending on how spicy I want it)
1 40 oz. can of drained red kidney beans
1. Spray the inside of the pot with cooking spray.
2. Add all ingredients and set on the Low setting to cook for about 8 hours.
3. Stir periodically.
Variations: I’ve added some canned corn and frozen chopped spinach, served it over brown rice, and thrown a tablespoon or two of sour cream and diced Mexican cheese on top just for fun. To stretch it, add a can of Hormel chili.
For more crock-pot recipes, visit the following sites:
CookingLight.com – Here’s the link to a whopping 105 slow-cooker recipes.
Spoonful.com – This link has 30 recipes
Chef-In-Training.com – Nikki lists 50 recipes here
CrockpotLadies.com – They list an Apple Pie Moonshine that sounds compelling. Their link is here.
About.com – Linda Larsen has a great article on 5-ingredient recipes here.
Foodnetwork.com – Probably the best cooking site for cooking. Their Slow Cooker Collection can be found here.