Foodie February – Crockpot Envy

Food

I’ve always been envious of people who are able to utilize their crockpots to create delectable meals for their families whilst being away from the home doing other errands. I’m a pretty mean multi-tasker in most aspects, but it always seems like I never have time to cook the perfect meal. In the last few years, I’ve come up with a good system of cooking our meals ahead of time, but lately we’ve bemoaned the fact that we never get to eat things right after they are cooked – hot and juicy with the drippings intact (not congealed in the container.) Most things don’t taste different, but some leftovers lose a bit of that just cooked flavor once you store them in containers in the fridge.

I’ve even seen people pinning recipes to bag up your ingredients in a freezer bag and then you just PLOP! that stuff in the crockpot when you’re ready to have it and in 4-8 hours it’s done. Amazing! What a time saver!

But I knew my appliance was much too small so I often disregarded these recipes and moved on to ones that would require more of my time, but what could I do? It just wasn’t meant to be.

You see, I do have a crockpot, but it’s pretty small. I’ve done small roasts in it and a couple of other things, but the ingredients always seem to fill up the whole pot and then I stand over it fearing that it will spill over during the cooking time. That kind of defeats the purpose of “set it and forget it” doesn’t it? And the whole time saver thing.

When another potluck luncheon came up for church last week, I once again felt the crockpot envy stirring. I started complaining anew to my hubby about my teeny, useless crockpot, who then so wisely said “So buy a bigger one.”

Huh. I hadn’t even really thought of that prospect.

So when we went out last week for our weekly Wal-Mart run we picked up this baby:

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Pretty sweet isn’t she? (Does anyone else hear the Imperial March?) 7 quart capacity. (You can get bigger, but not by much.) My old one was only 3 quart. (3 quarts! How did I ever make anything in that thing!?!)

The first thing we did was make room for this beast in my kitchen. We cleared a cupboard and reorganized a bit so it would fit nicely in a space that I could also easily reach. My other, smaller, now quite inferior crockpot, is stacked under another really small crockpot (I use that one only for cocktail wienies and warming up wine) and behind my cutting boards and cereal stash. Not easy to reach. And another reason why it never got used much.

I was determined to make sure this one was used so it’s within easy reach now:

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That’s my George Foreman grill next to it – another necessary tool in my kitchen and within easy reach.

Once situated, I made a double batch of my (now) famous Chicken Chili for the church luncheon. Yum. It worked out great and we had enough for the crowd and leftovers for us.

Today, I bought a large pork shoulder (7 lb.) to do in my new bad ass crockpot. I currently have the roast marinading in the fridge in root beer. That’s right – root beer (diet, no less, to save calories.) When it’s all said and done it’ll be a sweet pulled pork BBQ and we can freeze some of it for later use. I’m sure it’ll be too much for just us (I mean who can eat 7 pounds of pork in one sitting? But don’t challenge my husband – he might try it.) If it turns out well, I’ll invite my parents over some other time and I’ll make it again for the four of us. Or if it makes a lot I’ll have them over sooner to deal with the leftovers.

Thanks to my (very reasonable) purchase (under $40), I no longer have crockpot envy. I’m pinning new recipes for this bad boy every day and starting to conjure up events I could have just to be able to use it.

Now, I just need a bigger freezer…

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