Kitchen Appliances Everyone Should Have-#2 Crock-Pot (slow cooker)
Oh, how I love my crock-pot (also referred to as a slow cooker, sort of a Kleenex vs. facial tissue distinction). From vegetable side dishes, to main course meat, to soups and stews and chili, and even desserts! My crock-pot is an appliance that gets all year use, but it gets used overtime for many days a week during the fall and winter. It saddens me that many people think of a crock-pot as something to cook their fall/winter pot roast or chili in and not much else.
Well, Stephanie Stepford is here to shout from the roof tops that the crock-pot can be much more than the wintertime stew or tailgating queso dip and cocktail weenies! All of those foods are just fine, but take advantage of this kitchen appliance all year. There are so many flavor palates that can cook and taste wonderful after being cooked for several hours. They come in several different sizes.
First, the ease of a crock-pot is unbeatable. Virtually nothing sticks to the insert and it is so hearty that it will take YEARS before it scratches, and even then it isn’t a coating that once it is scratched makes food start sticking.
Second, who can beat cooking in an appliance that doesn’t make your whole house hot (in the summer) and that you can prep the food, plug it in, and leave (unlike an oven that you should not leave your home while using!!).
We use the crock-pot for nights that we know will be filled with activities and will require eating as quickly as possible upon arriving home. We also use it when trying to travel with food, be it for the holidays or down the street to a party. I like the fact that since it plugs in, you don’t have to steal oven space or stove-top space for a meal (and it will keep food hot even after cooked and unplugged). There is never a party, family gathering, or holiday that I bring food to that I need to intrude in the kitchen to keep tasting good or kept hot. Even if the food you are making isn’t best cooked in a crock-pot, the fact that you can plug it in after it is cooked to keep it warm is a life saver.
Here is a list of my favorite things to cook in the crock-pot:
Appetizers: Meat-Only Dishes:
Swedish Meatballs* Pot Roast
Cheese Dip w/ Sausage* BBQ Ribs
Cocktail Weenies Corned Beef
*I would cook the Sausage before adding, and the meatballs would be frozen/pre-cooked
Side Dishes: Whole Meals:
Mac and Cheese** Beef Stew
Chili Chicken and Dumplings
**These side dishes I would cook in a traditional manner and use the crock-pot to keep warm when traveling for the holidays or to a party.