Crock Pot Cooking

vegetable soup crock pot 009For most of my adult lifeĀ  a crock pot has been a staple in my kitchen. My current version is starting to show its age and I’ll be replacing it at some point over the next few weeks. Until recently, however, I’ve always thought of a crock pot as something to use in the late fall and winter.

A few weeks ago, a friend commented that she was making a roast in her crock pot. I was shocked, and asked, “Why are you using a crock pot in the summer?” Her response, “I use a crock pot a lot in the summer, because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen like the oven or stove do.”

Eureka! How had I missed that obvious, and wonderful, aspect of crock pot cooking?

So now I’m starting to think about things I could actually cook in my crock pot right now. I’ve mainly used mine for homemade soups (bean and/or veggie soup, primarily), stews, and at times chili. I’m thinking that even if it stays hot, chili sounds pretty good right about now. However, neither hot soup nor a hearty stew sound appealing in the heat. It’s obvious I need some new crock pot recipes to make better use of this kitchen tool

Do you use a crock pot? If so, what are some of your favorite things to make in one? And since I’m in the market for a new crock pot, what are some features that you like in your crock pot?


10 thoughts on “Crock Pot Cooking

  1. Charlotte McClain

    I love my Crock Pot so much that I’m having it shipped to me in Abu Dhabi. I’m really looking forward to putting on something in the morning and having it ready when I come home after school. Mom even fixed me up with a bunch of good, new-to-me recipes! I only wish mine had a slide out crock for easier washing.

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  2. Kami

    In the summer, I frequently cook a whole chicken in the crock pot. Then use the chicken for salads, sandwiches, pasta…

    I do the same thing with beef. Rather than make beef & gravy & veggies like I would in the winter, I use the beef in sandwiches. Nothing says summer to me like BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw and fresh corn on the cob.

    I noticed they make programmable crock pots, which seems like a great feature. Mine is just “Low” or “High”. It would be nice to have more specific settings.

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  3. Shanna

    I don’t use mine in the summer as well but I may start now. My family loves when I put a roast in the crock pot with a taco seasoning packet, water, onions, garlic, fresh cilantro, carrots, and a little celery for at least 7 hours. The meat pulls away with a fork, I thicken the juice just a little and serve with flour tortillas and taco fixings. It’s the best.

    My crock pot has a timer from 0 to 10 (0-5 is high heat and 5-10 is low heat) hours and the pot can be removed to wash it.

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  4. Missie

    Linnie, welcome to the year ’round use of CrockPots :-)

    My CrockPots (yes, I have two! three, if you count my “mini” Crock) are old, but my favorite feature of my favorite one is that the crock is removable. I still like to use cooking liners in them for easy clean-up, though — Charolotte, if you can’t get crock pot liners in Abu Dhabi, you might want to ask someone to mail some to you!

    And the CrockPot is great for things other than roast, soups, and stews: as Kami says, it’s a perfect way to make BBQ beef. I also use mine for some meatloaf recipes (I have a rack that just fits in the bottom of my CrockPot). It’s also great for sloppy Joe filling, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti with meatballs (use frozen meatballs so they’ll retain their shape)…beans slow cook wonderfully well in the CrockPot. I have a recipe for pork gyros that uses the CrockPot and it’s out of this world good (‘though I know you don’t eat pork)…and I have a recipe for an easy TexMex chicken that, when accompanied with Spanish rice, makes a complete meal.

    Enjoy your CrockPot!

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  5. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Thanks, everyone!

    Charlotte, you must truly love yours if you’re having it shipped. And I agree that I think I’d like more settings with my next one.

    Kami, I’ve never cooked a whole chicken in mine but that sounds like a good idea. And as you said, it could then be used in salads. Nice. BBQ beef! That’s a great idea too.

    Shanna, your roast with taco seasoning sounds really good. That never occurred to me to try. And yours sounds much fancier than my current one. I think I’ll definitely look for more settings.

    Missie, those are great ideas! Thank you. And a removable crock is a must for me. My first one didn’t have that feature, and it was just horrible to clean.


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  6. Audrey

    Pulled pork is great, same as BBQ beef, it can just be made into sandwiches when you get home and with a salad or just fresh veggies and dip is a meal. Also we’ve done ribs, although they’re nice and tender when you get home, the sauce is watery and we finished them up quickly on the barbecue.

    Mine has a warm setting, which I love on days when you’re going to be gone for more than six or eight hours or whatever a recipe asks for.

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  7. Missie

    Shanna, I think we were posting around the same time, I didn’t see your post!

    My mom made a roast in a similar way, but used salsa instead of water. She added the cilantro at the end and added a bit of peanut butter to the sauce, which really added something to it.

    CrockPots are wonderful. :-)

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  8. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Audrey, excellent suggestions, and I like the idea of having it just with raw veggies and a dip.

    Missie, now that’s an interesting combination to add peanut butter to the sauce. I’ve made Asian peanut butter sauces for noodles, but have never used peanut butter for a roast sauce.

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  9. Missie

    Linnie, we questioned it — the dish was soooooo TexMex (taco seasoning, salsa, fresh cilantro at the end) that the PB seemed REALLY out of place — so we took a wee bit of the sauce aside and added a proportionally equally wee bit of peanut butter, and we could tell that it really added something and added a richness and depth of flavor (as opposed to an oddness) that we hadn’t anticipated…and so we added in the PB to the rest of the sauce.

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