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Lori Lavender Luz

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Crock Pot Didn't Save Me

The husband and I, well, we both work for a living. And by work for a living, I mean we work for THE MAN, which means we put in those regular type JOB hours of 9-5, except our hours are more like 7-6 and sometimes weekends too.

And BECAUSE we work for THE MAN, it means we aren't at home for lunch, which means we don't have a lot of flexibility to eat what we want for lunch, cuz we don't have time to COOK IT ALL UP without killing half a day of productivity. So that means we often eat OUT for lunch. But as the CHEAP-ASS wife in this relationship, I try and do stuff to PREVENT us from eating out for lunch, cuz personally, I enjoy life much much more when my paycheque actually lasts the full two weeks.

But lately, I've gotten to the point where I HATE prepping lunches. I hate FIGURING OUT what the hell to buy for lunches, I hate shopping for the groceries NEEDED to prep lunches, and I hate the fact that when I DO shop, I know it means I have yet MORE work ahead of me when I get home, cuz I still have to PREP the damn lunches.

So I bought meself one of these things, thinking it'd save my life, and save our lunches. Everyone I know HAS one. Everyone I know LOVES theirs. And everyone I know tells me how I can just "throw everything in and go".

Yet, even after purchasing the one EVERYONE recommended, it HASN'T saved me. It HASN'T saved our lunches. And it HASN'T been used much cuz I haven't figured out how the hell to just "throw everything in and go".

The thing is, the crockpot itself is a good size, it has what SEEMS like are good cooking settings, and it comes apart SUPER easy for simple washing. The problem however, is the recipes it came with SUCKED - they're either extremely high fat and full of empty calories, or they're just not that interesting.

And that's probably where I'm struggling most - not with the CROCKPOT itself, but with the RECIPES, and making real USE of this thing. The crockpot itself, is probably good, but no matter how many crockpot books I buy, HALF the recipes I find require me to do a LOT of chopping, they require me to do a LOT of frying, or they require me to do a LOT of baking... FIRST. And honestly, I bought this thing, so I could just "throw everything in and go". I bought this thing so I could make easy soups, chilis, and fun meat for sandwiches and tacos. I bought this thing to SAVE me time - NOT to make me do even more prep.

So overall, this is a one thumb UP and one thumb DOWN kinda review.

PS. If you have a healthy and easy recipe to save me, I'll be FOREVER in your debt!!!

***

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13 chiming in:

Lori said...

You are absolutely right on this.

We're on a health food kick, so many of the things I used to cook in here are now verboten.

Plus, as you say, the prep work is not insignificant.

Hopefully we'll get some good recipe suggestions from readers.

Tina said...

I'm part of a group called Charlotte Mommies and I believe there are a ton of low-fat easy recipes for crock pots... I think I have your email if you want me to email you some?

chicklet said...

Tina, I'd LOVE it if you emailed me some low-fat easy recipes - yay! My email's her@bloorb.com, and I'll trek on over to your blog to make sure I beg you for them there too:-)

BethH6703 said...

I'm one of those folks that LOVE the crockpot... but you're right, they do require a lot of prep (chopping, specifically). Here are a few of my fav, mostly healthy recipes:

Chili (adapted from a wight watchers recipe, use ground sirloin to save more calories) http://thecookbookofbeth.blogspot.com/2007/10/chili.html

Beef stew: (another WW recipe) http://thecookbookofbeth.blogspot.com/2007/10/beef-stew.html

Taco Soup: http://thecookbookofbeth.blogspot.com/2007/12/taco-soup.html


And the best tip that I can give... Whatever veggies you buy that will most likely get used in recipes (like onions), chop 'em all at once & freeze 'em in 1/2 cup portions. Makes the "throw everything in and go" SO MUCH EASIER.

BethH6703 said...

let me try that chili link, AGAIN, since blogger keeps eating part of it... if this doesn't work, just type "html" after the "chili." at the end

http://thecookbookofbeth.blogspot.com/2007/10/chili.html

Sheri said...

I love my crockpot because it's easy and when I get home my house smells delicious!

One of the easiest recipes is for BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. Take 4-6 chicken breasts and put them in the crock pot with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Remove cooked chicken and cut into small pieces. Put chicken back into BBQ sauce and stir. Serve on buns. Yum!

BethH6703 said...

Just stumbled across another cheap, WW friendly crockpot recipe:

http://thecookbookofbeth.blogspot.com/2008/06/chicken-chili-blanco.html

And blogger has been messing with my comments, too. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Lori said...

And, can I just say, "Damn THE MAN"?

These are some great recipes and ideas. I may have to try some of them out!

bleu said...

THE BEST BEST BEST recipes I have ever come across are on the mothering.com boards. here is a link.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=237665

It is long but there are some awesome recipes. It is true, recipes are what make the crock pot worth it.

Julia said...

I use Dana Carpenter's Low Carb slowcooker book, and I love it (every recipe I tried out of it has worked. I am very very impressed). Only not so much in the summer, when it's already so bloody hot...

chel said...

I don't comment very often but when I read this post I knew that I could help. Stephanie from A Year of CrockPoting is posting a crockpot recipe every day for a year. She is on day 201 right now. She is a "dump it all in cook" which is what you are looking for. I hope this helps.

http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

chel

Lori said...

Beth, Sheri, Bleu (fabulous to share a circular couch with you!), Julia, and Chel -- GREAT resources!

I think later in the year, during prime Crock Pot season, we shall have a Crock Pot contest. I hope you each will choose a recipe, take a photo and guest post about your creation.

Remind me in October to get this going.

megna said...

I do a variation on the BBQ chicken thing and make chicken enchilada fillings.

Take 4-6 chicken breasts, dump 1 can enchilada sauce on top. Cook. (I add 1 large can pinto beans to make "refried beans") When it is done, take the chicken out, take the beans out, using 2 forks pull the chicken apart and smash the beans with a potato masher. Throw in tortillas with some toppings.

This is even easier.

4-6 chicken breasts - frozen
1 can corn
1 jar salsa
1 large can black beans
1 package cream cheese

Throw everything in (chicken still frozen) but the cream cheese. 30 minutes before it is done, throw in cc. Serve over brown rice or use in tortillas.

I make a lot of beans because my daughter is a veggie.

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