So what is it??? Well, I'm quite sure the picture gave it away. :)
The Crockpot: This humble little kitchen appliance will all by itself save you an amazing amount of time, stress and money. I use mine at least 2 or 3 times a week - I use it all year long not just in the winter. I really began to see the value of this little tool when I was working almost everyday and not getting home until 6pm. Those were the days that I had that crockpot going in the morning and when I got home dinner was done, the house smelled great and I was tired and very thankful I didn't have to start a dinner.
If you have a young family this is also a great time saver - for most recipes you can put everything in the pot the night after the kids are asleep and just put the pullout part in the refrig until morning than just pop it into the cooking part and turn it on. No worry about juggling tired, hungry babies and children and trying to cook at 5pm.
Below I list some of the benefits of using one:
- Slow cookers do not warm up your kitchen. So in summer when it is hot out there, you can actually give a rest to your oven and stove, and get your slow cooker out. It will keep your kitchen cooler.
- The meal preparation time is shorter. You can actually prepare a meal within 40 minutes. Then you just leave your meal cooking and carry on with your day. When supper time comes, your meal will be ready without any unnecessary stress.
- It is so simple to use it, that even your husband can do it for you. So if you need to sleep out of town for one night, just leave the recipe and the slow cooker out. When you return home the following day, and open the door, you will be able to smell the delicious dish that your husband has prepared for you.
- It is easy to clean and in general you will have only one pot to clean.
- It uses less electricity than a conventional oven or stove.
- You can get a crock pot with a timer, to start cooking at a certain time.
- It has a low and high setting, so if you want to accelerate things you could use the high one.
To get you started I am including the easiest recipe that I have and that everyone that has ever tasted it - loves. The ingredients are a little weird but trust me - it's good!
Chicken-Butternut Squash Ragout:
1 and half lb of chicken thighs skin removed
1 small butternut squash cut into cubes (if you don't like squash you can substitute another veggie)
1 medium onion
I can (16 oz) baked beans, undrained
1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, undrained. (I puree this)
Mix all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. When done take out thighs and remove bone if you used bone in and pull apart meat a little and return to crockpot and stir then......ENJOY!
A Couple links to some other recipes I have tried and highly recommend: