Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I "Crock" me up!

For Christmas I received a fantastic slow cooker! Yeah I know, what is so fantastic and fabulous about a slow cooker? And why am I so excited about it?
 Glad you asked, in this blog I will tell you, so keep on reading!! :)

  For the past 7 months I have been a stay at home mom. For those of you who don't know me, we relocated from Boston to South Florida in June of 2011. I have been staying home with the kids while they adjust and let me tell you I have been bored out of my mind! I will be returning to work in a few months.  I have always worked, since I was about 15, so this is new territory for me. Anyway, I took this opportunity to start being more creative in the kitchen. I'm sure all you working moms know its hard to be creative in the kitchen when you get home at 6pm and have to rush and make a meal so the kids can eat and go to bed at a decent hour. 

  I watch a ton of food shows and videos, the Food Network is my favorite channel. I finally decided one day I needed to build up my kitchen appliances collection and the first item on my list was a Slow Cooker or Crockpot, what exactly is the correct term for it, anyway? So, I told my hubby that I would like one for Christmas, which technically is a gift for everyone in the house not just me, so I don't think it counts as a Christmas present for mom, but whatever. lol

  Christmas morning came and  my brand new slow cooker was waiting for me under the tree, Yay!! I was so excited I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen to use it...crazy, I know. I am a very strange individual. I took to the Internet and started researching slow cooker recipes, I even asked friends to send me some of their favorite recipes (thanks for the recipes ladies!!!) 

  The first night,  I made some  slow cooked pork chops and let me tell you.... these pork chops were DELICIOUS!!!! and I have been cooking in my slow cooker everyday ever since. It is amazing the amount of things you can make in it. You can make anything from oatmeal, to lasagna! the sky is the limit.

  I do admit, I have had some not so good recipes like the A-1 sauce, dijon mustard steak disaster...don't even get me started on that, but it wasn't the slow cookers fault, the steak was soft as can be, it was the ingredients in the recipe. I even made risotto the other day, I have been obsessed with trying risotto thanks to Chef Gordon Ramsay. It was very good....however my picky eaters weren't crazy about it. 

  I am already looking to purchase a smaller slow cooker to make side dishes in when I am using the big one for meats. If you don't own a slow cooker, what are u waiting for? get out there and buy one! you  will not regret it, I promise. The one I got for Christmas was a 6qt Hamilton Beach programmable slow cooker and it is great, here is the link in case you want to get it on Amazon (have I mentioned, I LOVE Amazon?). 

  Also, I have had a few friends ask me to post my successful recipes, below are 4. I will continue to post new recipes as I try them out. I have so many to choose from this will be an ongoing thing

1. Lasagna -  This is a great recipe to have waiting for you when you walk through the door from work, who doesn't love lasagna? I have my own ingredients that I like to use when I make lasagna, I just took the basic idea and instructions on how to get the lasagna to cook properly in the slow cooker. If you don't know how to make lasagna here is a simple recipe

2. Vaca Frita - Vaca Frita (Fried Cow) is a Cuban dish that can be found in every Cuban restaurant, here is a great recipe I found, that tastes Delicioso!

3. Pollo Guisado -  This is another recipe in which I have my own ingredients and way of making it because I have been making it for so many years and it gets made in my house at least once a week. It was really nice to make it in the slow cooker and not have to watch the stove. I found this recipe online which is similar to mine. It's hard for me to post my own recipe because I don't measure anything and most times I throw whatever we happen to have in the house into the pot.  This recipe is the traditional stove top way to make it, just do the same except throw it into the slow cooker minus the potatoes, onions and green peppers, add those in about the last hour or else they will be too mushy. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours and go about your business for the day. Also, I didn't brown the chicken. I just washed, cleaned it and put it in the pot, didn't have to pre-marinate it either.

4. Pork Chops - Here is the first recipe I made in the slow cooker. I made it with some garlic and rosemary roasted potatoes. I also added some flour to the left over broth and made a delicious tasting gravy.

  In conclusion the Slow Cooker Rocks! and it frees up my time to do other more important and fabulous things like my hair, make up and go shopping...So there you have it, that is why the Slow Cooker is Fabulous! 

  I would love to hear any feedback or any new recipes you might like to share. 

Thanks for reading!


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