Crockin' Inspiration

crock pot

It's Friday!?  It's the last weekend before Christmas . . . breathe deeply.  I'm looking for ways to cut corners with dinner right now.  That, and the fact that very chilly winter weather has finally settled into the Boston area has me rediscovering my Crock-Pot.  I'll be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the thing.  Love the convenience, hate a lot of the recipes that are out there . . . mmmm, canned cream of mushroom soup, anyone? 

So where does this girl go for inspiration? 

  • The number one resource I've found on the 'net for slow cooking recipes is this one.  This mother set out to prep something in her slow cooker every single day for a year - so there're lots of recipes to choose from here.  At the end of every recipe she gives a (sometimes very funny) report on what the family thought about the recipe, including the kids' reactions.
  • For more inspiration, the Better Homes & Gardens site has a whole section devoted to slow cooker recipes.
  • Here's a good thread from the Chowhound Home Cooking board re interesting slow-cooker recipes.
  • This Lora Brody recipe for Moroccan Chicken With Couscous in the slow cooker is fantastic - I took the book out of the library years ago, made this, and it went immediately into the recipe box.
  • Some of these recipes might be a little more complicated than what you want to make in a slow cooker, but they look very tasty - the veggie leek beef barley soup is one I want to make soon.
  • OMG!  There's an app for that . . . Crock-Pot has its own iPhone appthat'll allow you to search for recipes.  I'm going to add this to my phone for comic relief - "look how far I've devolved from my lawyer-days now, people!"  You can also search recipes on the Crock-Pot site itself.
  • Here are two of my own favorites, from this site - if you haven't tried them, now might be the time.
  • Or, you can take the easy way out like I did on Wednesday.  For some reason, we'd accumulated 3 open jars of spaghetti sauce in the fridge.  I took a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, dumped them in the slow cooker, poured the various spaghetti sauces on top, set it to low, and left for a few hours.  Later I cooked up some whole wheat spaghetti and made a couple tossed salads and we had a super quick, hot, and reasonably tasty meal.  See?  We're not always uber-creative and fancy over at chez Semi-Sweet.  Some nights you just need to get the job done.

Have a good weekend, everyone!