Or alternately titled, "How I learned to love the Crock." If you don't have a Crock-pot, stop reading this right now and go buy one. I am totally serious. A busy mom hath no better, or more reliable, friend than the Crock-pot AKA slow cooker. I literally plan at least 2 meals a week out of the crock (usually more). It makes dinner a total no-brainer, and everything always turns out delicious. And the beauty of it is that you can set it on low, go about your day or go to work, and have dinner ready when needed. What could be better? Forget all the new fangled crap on infomercials- the Crock-pot rocks!
I learned to love the crock pot as a child. Some of my favorites from mom were crock pot dishes- beef stew, little smokies, etc...I always looked forward to mom's crock pot meals. And in general, it is easy to make kid friendly items that are healthy, while sneaking some veggies in too.
The beauty of the slow cooker is that it is almost fool-proof. Even if you are a total disaster in the kitchen who can't even make a frozen pizza without burning the hell out of it, you can manage to make a wonderful meal with very little effort. And just about any baked/stovetop dinner recipe can be adapted to the slow cooker. Just follow these simple guidelines:
(taken from Fix-it-and-forget-it)
· Low (in a slow cooker) = 200º in an oven, approximately
· High (in a slow cooker) = 300º in an oven, approximately
· In a slow cooker, 2 hours on Low = 1 Hour, approximately, on High.
So get googling to find a perfect recipe that your family will love and become a Crockstar!
Here is one of my family's favorite slow cooker dishes:
1 bag of Reame's homestyle noodles (in the grocer's freezer)
2 cups of chicken stock
12 oz chicken breasts, cubed, raw
1 cup chopped carrots
1 rib of celery, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
throw in everything except the noodles, and cook on high until chicken is cooked through. If the liquid is all gone, add another cup of stock (or more depending on desired consistency). Add frozen noodles and cook for another 1-1.5 hrs, or until noodles are firm, not raw. When the noodles are cooked through, stir the pot for a few minutes to thicken it up (the flour from the noodles will get activated to make a nice thick sauce)