Quick Kitchen Tips: Love Thy Crockpot

January 26th, 2011

For today’s installment of “Quick Kitchen Tips,” I have a Commandment to share: Love Thy Crockpot.

Okay, I realize that “crockpot” and “quick” are actually antithetical concepts, but hear me out. This evening I had a parent-teacher conference with Miss Mouse’s teacher at school so the kids and I didn’t stagger through the door until just before 6pm. Ten minutes later, we were all seated at the dining room table, enjoying a meal of Canadian Pot Roast with Acorn Squash, Red Potatoes and Peas.

Crockpot cooking is a life-saver for busy working parents. You can prep your dinner the night before, fling it all in the crockpot, pop it into the fridge overnight, then just turn it on as you walk out the door. When you get home from work — VOILA! — dinner is waiting.

The secret to enjoying your crockpot is, in my opinion, having a great cookbook. Too often, crockpots get a bad rap because too many recipes all end up tasting the same. There’s only so many basic pot roasts or beef stews that anyone can eat. But, fear not! Excellent and interesting recipes are out there. You just have to find them.

My go-to book is Dinnertime Easy: Slow Cooker Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens. There are scads of great recipes in there from pulled pork to Asian pot roast to chicken cacciatore. I’ve only had a few duds and I’ve made a lot of recipes. Tonight’s meal came from there. Who would have thought to put maple syrup and orange zest on a pot roast and then add acorn squash? Not I. But it was delicious. And quick!

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