Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5 - of 30 Days to a Simpler Life

Today's post will take a little different direction than the previous ones, a little less deep but just as necessary to simplify your life. For some of you this may not be anything new but I have been amazed at how many people do not use this amazing tool to make life sooo much simpler on a daily basis!

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:


RuthyH said...

This has inspired me. I had put some drumsticks in the fridge to thaw to just do the same ol' chicken, rice and brocolli that I do a little too often. After I read this I picked up my handy dandy cookbook - "Not your mother's slow cooker cookbook" - and found a recipe for Orange and Honey Chicken Drumsticks. I'ma gonna try it :) Thanks!

Beverly Walters Whaley said...

I love my crockpot too! BUT my "handy dandy" only works on LOW LOW! So.....I guess I do need to invest in a new one this upcoming year! I am still in the deep zone...but keeping up the challenge! Great post Auntie K! Happy 2010! Thanks for the recipe! Got soup for the crockpot.....email me! LOL LOVE SOUP!

Meems said...

I used to use a crockpot years ago when my children were young. Somehow I got rid of mine and probably use the outdoor grill like you use your crockpot. 2-3 times a week... easy clean-up!

CoachK said...

Ruthy, So glad you were inspired! I think once you do this crockpot recipe you will be hooked - especially on these cold days. How did you Orange and Honey Drumsticks turn out??

CoachK said...

Sounds like you need a new Crockpot Bev! Try the chicken Taco soup I posted - it is so easy and tastes great!

CoachK said...

Cindy, good to hear from you - I missed you! I love grilled food but I am not good at it - I always have John do that. I probably need to work on that. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!