My wife and I have a one year old son. We have found that between our jobs and watching him that sometimes it’s hard to find the time at night to make a nice meal. Well, I am one of those guys with all kinds of kitchen gadgets. I’m also one of those guys that gets yelled at because half of the gadgets just take up space and are never used. The crockpot/slow cooker used to be one of those items. That is no longer the case.
Especially during the winter many families want a nice hearty meal, but just don’t have the time to cook them during the week. I mean you could do all your cooking ahead of time over the weekend, but then you lose your free time on the weekend to cooking and you have you refrigerator packed with food taking up too much space sometimes. I have found the crockpot is my new best friend when it comes to making hearty meals but not spending too much time on them.
Do you enjoy a nice pot roast or pork roast? I’m sure many of you do but just don’t have time to let it cook in the over for a couple hours for a meal, especially during the week. Well, all you have to do is put the roast in your slow cooker before you leave the house for work that day. Put some broth or gravy in with it, potatoes, and carrots set it to either a six or eight hour cooking time and you will have a nice meal for your family when you get home. Don’t worry, even if you aren’t going to be home in exactly eight hours, the crockpot will still keep your meal warm after it’s done cooking.
I used to be nervous about leaving the house with an electrical appliance like a crockpot turned on. To get used to the idea, the first few times I used my crockpot I used it on a weekend and wasn’t gone out of the house the full six to eight hours, but any time I came back there were no problems. As my fears subsided, I felt confident leaving the house with the crockpot on for the entire day. If you are somebody though that just can’t bring yourself around to leaving the house with it on, you could always set it up before you go to bed and let your meal cook overnight. In the morning put it in a container in the refrigerator and just heat it up when you get home. A lot more convenient than cooking something for an hour or more in the oven on a weeknight.
Crockpots also allow you to use your creativity. Just choose a meat and create any liquid sauce you would like to cook it in, set the crockpot and your work is done. Try cooking meats in fruit juices or marinades. You could use a dry rub on a piece of meat but I still suggest putting a small amount of liquid in the crockpot to keep it moist. The great thing about crockpots is you can use up a lot of those extra sauces you have in the refrigerator to make a sauce to cook your meat in.
Keep in mind you don’t need a huge crockpot, a medium size one will do a 3-5 pound roast without any problems. You can most likely find one in a local store for $20-30. Just think that money is well spent when you realize all the time it saves you from waiting for your meal to cook after work without one. Meats, soups and stews are just a few items you can prepare with your crockpot. You can find many recipe ideas both online and in cookbooks sold at stores. I strongly suggest getting acquainted with your crockpot, you will find it saves you both time and money.