Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Crockpot

I am not the first one to use the crock-pot. All of my friends and family have been berating me for years to use the crock-pot, but it seemed like a bigger inconvenience than just cooking. I thought that it was bad enough to have to make the meal, but thinking about it in the morning and doing prep and making sure I had groceries hours ahead of time seemed like a huge deal. Then I made my first crock-pot meal. My mom asked me to put the ingredients in her crock-pot while we were visiting one day, and then a few hours later, we had a tasty meal. Easy peasy. The real thing that hooked me was that the kids loved it. I hate cooking, but I hate cooking and having no one like the meal even more. I love how I put some raw meat and some veggies and some whatnots in the crock-pot and voila, a meal is ready at dinnertime. I love the smell the house gets during the day. So now I am preaching the ways of the crock-pot. Hallelujah!

It is easy to make meals that are gluten free, dairy free in the crock-pot also. Eating food like stews and soups are easier on your digestive system too. There are so many great crock-pot cookbooks and websites. Once you get the hang of it though, you just need to use your imagination and anything is possible. I am going to list some of our favorites for those who might be interested. I don't like when people tell me to try a website or cookbook and don't give me their favorites for me to get started.

Another tip we like in our house is to include a separate starch on occasion. I like biscuits or tortillas (see recipe in earlier post) or mashed potatoes or rice.

I am still a beginner and my imagination is not fantastic, so my meals are very basic. Once you get the hang of it, you will get ideas from everywhere. It is a fun thing to exchange ideas with your neighbors or friends. I also like playing with a dessert in the crock-pot. Bread pudding is on the list for this week.

Easiest crock-pot meals: spaghetti sauce and meat of choice on low for the day. It seems silly to do this, but you put the raw meat in and the sauce and at dinnertime it is ready. The taste was better too.
Another beyond easy and basic idea came from my mom. She put raw chicken breast in the bottom of the crockpot and just added green chili enchilada sauce. I had a hard time finding gluten free enchilada sauce, but green chili salsa worked great.

We love stew and beef roast too. I either make a cornbread or a gluten free biscuit. My new obsession is making a good, light, tasty gluten free biscuit. The family loves even the ones that didn't turn out. It is a treat, not an every day thing.

Good luck in your crock pot endeavors. Let me know of any good recipes!! Kid tested...

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