The slow cooker has come up a lot recently, and January seems like a good time for a follow-up post. I Tweet a lot about my slow cooker adventures, but not everyone can catch all those Tweets. They disappear, like tears… in rain…
Wait, where was I? Oh right: Things I have learned about the slow cooker since I bought it for myself last January.
First of all, I have learned to always call it a “slow cooker” never a “Crock Pot” because that is a brand name and people looooove to jump all over an error like that.
The slow cooker thing can be daunting at first. Everyone is so eager to dump their favorite recipes on you (including me). Just pick something simple to start with, and you’ll get the hang of it. It’s not rocket science, and it’s really hard to screw it up.
The slow cooker is a great way to make an otherwise-crappy cut of meat not just edible but downright delicious. Fork tender, even. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Start with a big ol’ piece of pork or beef. Look for the words butt, shoulder, or roast in the name of the cut. It will probably be on sale, and probably be 2-4lbs large. Add a cup or two of liquid, and set that baby on Low for 8-10 hours.
The longer you cook these cuts, the better. In fact, my favorite roast beef recipe calls for you to cook it for 22 hours, and it sounds preposterous, but the results are AMAZING.
I have also learned to always use boneless skinless chicken. Otherwise, gross. And although I prefer thigh meat, it’s too juicy and results in a watery sauce. Breast meat is best for chicken recipes.
The other thing I have learned is that “Sauce + Meat = Recipe.” These “recipes” remind me of the Jelly Belly recipes, where you eat one cherry Jelly Belly and two chocolate Jelly Bellys and that’s the recipe for a “chocolate covered cherry.”
For all of these, add one jar of sauce and 1-2lbs of meat, then cook on low for 6-10 hours.
More along the line of real recipes, here are some others I have tried and liked this year. As you can see, my true “secret weapon” here is the Allrecipes.com website. Just search for “slow cooker [whatever]” or browse their slow cooker section for more delicious things.
(By the way, when choosing between recipes, I always go for a lower-reviewed recipe with more reviews versus a recipe with more stars but fewer reviews. Say Recipe A has only 4 stars but 1,890 reviews, and Recipe B has 5 stars but only 2 reviews. Go with Recipe A.)
Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup (I drained the liquid from the cans and made more of a chili.)
THOSE MEATBALLS. (By the way, I pre-cooked the meatballs and they turned out great.)
Two recipes on my list to try soon are:
This is all I can think of at the moment… That’s your cue to leave your favorite recipes in the comments!