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crockpot love

Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:03 am UTC
by Jessica
So, I've had my new crockpot for... two weeks? I've already made 2 batches of meatballs, a thing of chicken breast in sauce and am currently attempting chili.

Who else has a crockpot, recipes you love for it, tips on it's use... anything.

The first time I made meatballs went over pretty well. I just threw things together with the meatballs, and they tasted good. the second time I didn't do it right, and it tasted off... which made me sad as I had to toss some of them. My chicken in sauce sort of worked, but not really. It was just chicken, with bacon with tomato soup poured overtop (and some other things... sour cream for example). It was... ok. Not the best meal I've had, but really good when mashed up and put between bread.

I'm hoping the chili works. I mean, it's chili right, it should work. but we'll see.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:35 am UTC
by Zak
Crockpot <3

Slow cooked Poooooooooork

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:12 pm UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
I loved my crockpot. I made many a wonderful meal in it.

As far as chili, I would brown my meat and sauteƩ the onions and peppers before tossing them into the crock pot. I would then add a large can of Bush's mild chili beans, along with the required spices (garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, a bit more cumin), and NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM....

I also used to make a pot roast using just a boneless chuck roast, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, and a can of beef broth. Let it cook for five to six hours on high, and you have a fork-tender pot roast with gravy.

I once tried a lasagna in the crock pot. It was OK, but I think I needed more liquid. Probably should have thinned out the pasta sauce a bit with some hot water.

I've done barbecued hot dogs, plain hot dogs (add just a cup of hot water, simmer for an hour), slow cooked barbecue pork (was OK), peach cobbler (was excellent), apple sauce (which I would then can), and other wonderful things. How I miss using it.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:33 pm UTC
by Rinsaikeru
I <3 crockpot cooking!

My friend sent me this link a couple weeks ago: A Year of CrockPotting It has lots of adventurous cooking projects to try listed. :D

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:37 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
One of my favorite dishes in the crock pot:
Slice up one big peeled sweet potato.
Cube up some cheap pork shoulder or "country style" ribs. You want a fair amount of fat and collagen. I use 2-3 pounds.
Brown the meat with some onion, put it into the crock. Add a diced jalapeno or tow, or what ever hot peppers you like.
Add cumin, salt, pepper, allspice, chopped garlic and stir.
Add about a cup of dried pineapple chunks. You can chop them smaller if you want to.
Put the sweet potato on top of the meat.
Add one can coconut milk, and enough water or chicken broth to just cover the meat. It's Ok if the sweet potato isn't covered.
Cook on low for 6 hours or so. The potato will have steamed, but not fallen to mush.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:42 pm UTC
by Azrael
It might be a little late for Jessica, but anyone thinking about buying a crockpot should look for one with a removable pot that can go on the stove top -- you can brown your meat and saute your veggies in there and not lose any of that flavor to the bottom of a second pan.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:48 pm UTC
by d33p
Second Az's thoughts, although if it IS too late, you should deglaze the browning pan and pour all the crunchy, drippy goodness into the pot as well.
Also, Short Ribs Parisienne! This is an all-day recipe, and it's delicious.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:57 pm UTC
by Moo
To add to the buying hints: I ended up getting one with everything I wanted except one thing and regret it very much. An auto cook setting. It has high, low and keep warm but nothing that allows me to cook something for a while and then switch to "keep warm" which would have been great for setting it cooking while I'm at work; there are things I can't make because they would just overcook completely and I've burned one or two things.

Favourite recipes: tomato soup; pea and ham soup; chilli; roast chicken. I am keen to try braised lamb shanks in it too, it should work a treat. I also use it for bolognese sauce for spaghetti bolognese or lasagne.

For the chicken: rub a whole chicken with seasoning (I like a crumbled chicken stock cube). You may choose to stuff the cavity with two halves of a lemon too. Cut some root veg in very chunky pieces - onion, potato, sweet potato, whatever you fancy. Put the chicken on top so as to keep it off the floor of the pot. Don't add liquid. Cook until the chicken falls off the bone (I'm afraid I don't know how long because all my endeavours cook for "while I'm at work"). It is just like roast chicken only softer and moister (and regrettably without the crispy skin). It creates a lot of juices in the bottom that you can use to make a gravy.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:03 pm UTC
by d33p
The crunchy skin is the ONLY reason I don't do chicken in the slowcooker.
Also, they're very handy for keeping large quantities of mulled cider warm.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:35 pm UTC
by Megatriorchis
I've found that with a slow cooker, the more simple the ingredients the more delicious the meal is. You can put a small, lean roast in with water, vegetables, potatoes and various spices and it will cook into a nice stew.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:33 am UTC
by voidPtr
bumping this thread..

I remember a couple of years ago slowcooking was quite a bit of a fad. Is it still the case?

I have a slowcooker but virtually never use it. I'd like to start using it more often. I'm pretty busy these days, a little tighter with my cash, and I'd love to start cooking stews regularly to get my fill of root veggies and cheap cut meats.

The main reason I haven't been using my slowcooker as often as I'd like is that I have trust issues -- I'm not comfortable leaving the house for more than a few minutes while it's in use, but the people who love their slowcookers are the people who rave about going home from work to a nice-cooked meal that just needs to be served. Anyone else feel the way I do? Am I being silly?

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:46 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
voidPtr wrote:The main reason I haven't been using my slowcooker as often as I'd like is that I have trust issues -- I'm not comfortable leaving the house for more than a few minutes while it's in use, but the people who love their slowcookers are the people who rave about going home from work to a nice-cooked meal that just needs to be served. Anyone else feel the way I do? Am I being silly?


Personally, I think you're over-worrying. Now, there have been cases of slow cookers causing fires, but that's either been to a fault in the heating element itself (most recalls are issued relatively fast, and the big companies will send a new element to you free), or the fault of the user, for overfilling the slow cooker to the point where liquid boils over into the heating element, and possibly splattering onto the outlet.

I've known people, my grandmother especially, that insisted on kitchen appliances weighing less than 100 pounds or smaller than an automatic dishwasher be unplugged, even though there is little to no risk of a fire hazard. A lot of that was from when she worked for an attorney who requested she did it to the coffee maker at his office.

If you are worried about the house catching fire due to the slow cooker left on all day, use it on days you would be home all day. That way you can be sure to react in time, should the unfortunate happen. Try leaving the house with the cooker plugged in and turned to "Low" for an hour or two at a time. Run errands, go visit a friend, go check the mail, anything to get out of the house. 99% of the time you come back, your house will still be intact, and your food will still smell good.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:50 am UTC
by poxic
PatrickRsGhost wrote:99.99999% of the time you come back, your house will still be intact, and your food will still smell good.

Fixed. Crock pots rarely have issues. To be safest of safest safeness: isolate the crock pot on the counter. Put it on a stone slab, or a big dinner plate, something that won't catch fire. Push everything away from it, and away from the cord and the plug. Far enough away that a spark or flare won't ignite anything, like a foot or two away.

There. Safety and comfort food, all in one.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:35 am UTC
by The EGE
http://www.fireflywiki.org/Firefly/WifeSoup

Wife soup, from Ariel. Delicious.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:53 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
poxic wrote:
PatrickRsGhost wrote:99.99999% of the time you come back, your house will still be intact, and your food will still smell good.

Fixed. Crock pots rarely have issues. To be safest of safest safeness: isolate the crock pot on the counter. Put it on a stone slab, or a big dinner plate, something that won't catch fire. Push everything away from it, and away from the cord and the plug. Far enough away that a spark or flare won't ignite anything, like a foot or two away.

There. Safety and comfort food, all in one.


True. The only time I ever had a major issue with my crock pot was when the handles on the heating element broke. Found out a month or two later that the company that made it issued a mass recall due to the handle breakage. I signed up, didn't even have to provide receipt or send in old element, and they sent a new one in a couple of weeks.

When we had the massive pet food recall back in February/March of 2007, I had recently put up about 5 quarts of beef stew, that now I had to get rid of due to getting ready to move in with my parents. My dog at the time, Rocky, had been eating the food that was recalled. Once the brands he had been eating were on the recall list, I threw out what I still had, and fed him the leftover stew. It had all the 4 major food groups, with just the right balance. He ate it right up, except for the carrots.

Recipe:

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
2-3 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 packet onion soup mix
1 12-oz. can beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 1-lb. bag frozen peas
1 1-lb. bag frozen carrots
1 to 2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered, with skins left on

Sear roast on all sides in oil. Transfer to slow cooker. Add onion soup mix, beef broth (heated), and soups. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours, or until fork-tender. Add potatoes, cook another 1 to 2 hours on High. Add peas and carrots, cook on High for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:46 pm UTC
by El Spark
I love my crock pot. In college it was the only way we were allowed to cook beyond the microwave. So, I found some easy recipes that I could cook in my dorm room:

Take a frozen chicken (WITHOUT GIBLETS, dear God in heaven I made that mistake once) and place it gently in your crock pot.
Pour a can of chicken broth over your chicken. You can also substitute water.
Turn your crock-pot on low, and go to bed.
When you wake up, it'll be glorious.

Take a roast (whatever size, doesn't matter much) and put it in the crock-pot. It can be frozen or not.
Pour a can of cola over it (any kind) (really; I've used Coke Zero, store-brand cola, whatever).
Turn on low, goto bed.
When you wake up, the roast will be cooking in the most delicious gravy ever. It won't taste at all like cola, either.

Etc, variations. I found out that you can cook rather a nice slab of frozen salmon in a couple hours this way, and that Mrs. Dash is a nice balance of spices.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:22 pm UTC
by AntonGarou
I love crockpots and your recipes sound very nice indeed.what's the size of such cans, since we don't have any in Israel?(i.e. 250 ml? 300ml? 0.5L?)

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:42 pm UTC
by Thesh
One can of soda in the US is 12oz, or 355ml

Chicken broth, I don't know. I buy it in boxes, myself.


My mom used to make Crock Pot spaghetti sauce. Fresh roma tomatoes from our garden, chopped onions, garlic, oregano, and spicy italian sausages. That was delicious, although I would put the sausages in towards the end as they tended to lose all their flavor.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:15 pm UTC
by El Spark
*googles some conversions*

We're looking at around 400ml of chicken broth here, but it's not an exact science. 300 ml should be fine, as should 0.5L. Mostly what you're trying to do is have enough moisture that it allows the chicken to start to create its own juices.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:28 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
Still a big fan of the crock-and I admit to using the liners made by the Glad company for things like chili which would otherwise get crusty.
One thing to remember is that you loose much lees moisture when cooking than you do in most other methods. So you don't need to add much liquid when you're not making soup.
I'm thinking some nice mac and cheese and ham would be just the thing...

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:27 pm UTC
by StickFigure206
I just made the most fabulous pot roast of all time, with a 20 year old crock pot passed down from my mom!

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:23 am UTC
by PAstrychef
I have plans for a crockpot, two rabbits, white wine, tarragon, shallots and other good things ( mushrooms, yes. Leeks? maybe. spuds-ummmmm) once I'm in IL next week. Must remember to ask for the bunnies!

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:11 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
PAstrychef wrote:Still a big fan of the crock-and I admit to using the liners made by the Glad company for things like chili which would otherwise get crusty.
One thing to remember is that you loose much lees moisture when cooking than you do in most other methods. So you don't need to add much liquid when you're not making soup.
I'm thinking some nice mac and cheese and ham would be just the thing...


We learned of those liners when we went to my grandma's in Alabama for Thanksgiving. Someone had brought crock pot mac-and-cheese (no ham), and had made it up with one of those liners. Didn't affect the flavor of the food, and cleanup was a breeze. We use them now. Save lots of time cleaning up. Remove the bag, may have to scrub it out just a bit, rinse, dry, put away.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 1:07 pm UTC
by You, sir, name?
Necroing this sumbitch just to say slow cookers are awesome.

I always make humongous meals on the weekends, so I have lunch boxes and what have you for the entire week. Saves so much time, and keeps all that unhealthy junk-food away :D

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 8:51 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
They're also great at keeping the kitchen cooler in the hot part of the year.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:37 am UTC
by bessie
I had no idea you could buy liners for these. I love my crock pot but I haven't been using it much because it has a hairline crack near the top. It works fine and doesn't seem to be affected at all, but I don't want to put too much liquid in it. I am going to look for some liners this weekend. Thank you PAstrychef for posting this.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 12:22 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
Sometimes they are near the plastic bags, sometimes in the soup aisle.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:01 am UTC
by S'toon
Lasagna

8 lasagna noodles broken up
2 tsp cooking oil (optional)
2 tsp salt

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

3/4 cups chopped onion
2 14 oz cans of tomatoes with juice broken up (I use the diced ones)
5 1/2 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup of cottage cheese (or ricotta)
2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp sweet basil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fennel seed (optional)

Cook lasagna noodle pieces in boiling water, oil and salt until tender but firm, 14-16 mins, drain.

Scramble fry ground beef, drain and put in slow cooker

Add remaining 12 ingredients, then add noodles and stir. cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours

makes 10 cups

I added the fennel seed to the recipe, which adds some more flavour. As well, I substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese. The Parmesan cheese is also an addition of my own.

They say the best results for cheese in slow cooker if you add the cheese for the last hour of cooking

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:38 am UTC
by Moo
YOU GUYS.

I made this Greek style slow roasted leg of lamb in my slow cooker this week for my mom's birthday dinner and ... wow. I can highly recommended it.

Adaptations for the slow cooker:
- Stud, season and sear the meat in a hot oven as per recipe
- Meanwhile, add the wine, lemon juice and herbs to the slow cooker. THE OIL AND HOT WATER AREN'T NECESSARY
- Add sealed meat and onions to the liquid, and cook on low for as long as possible. I put it in at 7am before getting ready for work, and we ate at 7pm. I basted it now and then after getting home from work at 5 with the juices in the pot, but be careful of letting all the heat out too often.
- You can thicken the resulting gravy if you want
- Only negative: the onions were very slightly too lemony.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:12 pm UTC
by sardia
Has anyone tried replicating recipe here but with a pressure cooker instead? You get the same gelatin creation but in 1/10th the time. For example, tomatillos, plabano, onion, cumin, and a leg quarter makes a chicken stew recipe in 15 -30 minutes compared to 8 hours on a slow cooker .

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:43 pm UTC
by Nath
That's why I've been reluctant to get a crockpot. They are like what you'd invent if someone told you about the existence of pressure cookers, but you thought they said 'hours' instead of 'minutes'.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:38 am UTC
by PAstrychef
I like my slow cooker because I can start it and forget it. Sometimes I'm going to be out for the day and want to come home to dinner, not dinner prep. Even if the pressure cooker is zippy. Also, when I was working overnights, I could start something, go to bed and have it be ready when I got up. I also use them at parties, to serve soup or hot drinks from.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:19 am UTC
by Moo
I don't know where the assumption is coming from that because someone uses one, they can't also use the other. The right tool for the right job.

I use my pressure cooker often, but like PAstrychef says, no matter how fast they are, it's still no substitute for putting stuff in in the morning before work and coming home to dinner. I have more energy and time to prep in the morning than I do after work.

They also can't slow braise (e.g. pot roast) or faux-roast (e.g. roast chicken). You also can't make things that don't require liquid (such as lasagne, meatloaf etc, all of which you can make in a slow cooker).

Also, "gelatin creation"... wait, what?

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:17 am UTC
by Nath
I can see the prep-in-the-morning use case. I'd probably lop off a hand if I tried to chop vegetables right after waking up, but it makes sense if you're a morning person.

I also didn't know you could roast chicken and bake lasagna and such in a crockpot. Do you get much browning?

But you can totally braise stuff in a pressure cooker. Isn't that one of the big selling points? I guess it's not technically a slow braise, because it happens in a few minutes instead of a few hours, but the end result is similar.

As for the gelatin formation, I believe sardia was talking about collagen being broken down into gelatin, which is what makes slow-cooked or pressure-cooked meat tender.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:19 am UTC
by Moo
No, you don't get much browning, to be honest. For example, with the leg of lamb I posted about a few posts back, I browned it in a hot oven then let it finish cooking in the slow cooker. With a whole chicken, it is incredibly moist, tender and flavourful, all you don't get is the crispy skin but a few minutes under the grill (broiler?) before serving solves that. Other things you can just brown it in a pan before finishing in the slow cooker, and you may need to saute onions etc in a pan first too sometimes.

I get what you're saying about braising ~= pressure cooking, but for example, the slow roasted leg of lamb I mentioned, I can't imagine finishing in a pressure cooker. It would be nothing like a roast, too much moisture all over the nice roasted top layer of fat. Maybe in that case it's more like faux-roasting than braising though, so maybe I will concede the braising thing.

And thank you for the gelatin clarification.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:26 am UTC
by ameretrifle
Soooo... say you get gifted two slow cookers. One a 4-qt Crockpot, one a 6-qt Hamilton Beach. Both oval, both warm after cooking. The latter might have a more flexible timer, the former may be low/high and 2/4/6/8 hours. Latter also has a lid latching system of some sort, and a more readily locatable receipt.

You're a two-person household with rather limited space and no plans to expand numerically, though you do like leftovers well enough, and are not likely to entertain at home, though there could be the occasional work or holiday potluck. Plans are to use it for dinners and leftovers for lunch, especially once both household members are employed, though we're fairly new to slow cooking.

What do you do?

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:56 am UTC
by Angua
Decide if you'll ever want to use your crockpot to make things like yoghurt and brownies, which require a larger area because in that case you're often putting the ramekins into the crockpot (you use it as a waterbath).

If those types of things sound good, I'd go for the larger one...

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:35 am UTC
by Moo
Nath wrote:Do you get much browning?
So, here are some chicken thighs I did in there yesterday. As you can see, the skin isn't crispy and brown but it's also not pale and inedible. It was pretty tasty and an acceptable substitute for crispy chicken skin. I guess the best way to describe it is that it renders rather than crisps?

Slow cooker chicken thighs.jpg

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:21 am UTC
by Nath
Neat. That's more browning than I'd have expected.

Re: crockpot love

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:04 am UTC
by sardia
Nath wrote:Neat. That's more browning than I'd have expected.

For added browning, sear the chicken in the pressure cooker before sealing it. Optionally, add baking soda to increase the PH. Acids inhibit mallard reactions, bases increase it.
In the defense of pressure cookers for the overworked, there's nothing like coming home to a microwaved stew after it's had time to rest in your fridge. You save more time than a crockpot, and you get more intense flavors with less seasoning since everything stays sealed inside the pot. A crockpot can't claim that.