Bringing Back the Crock-Pot

If your mom cooked everything in a crock-pot and as a result the idea of slow cooked food gives you nightmares, you’re excused from this post. Go make something on your George Foreman grill.

For the rest of you, Trent from the Simple Dollar is bringing back the crock-pot, and has written a guide to the slow-cooker. He even has a favorite model:

KitchenAid KSC700SS 7 Quart This is the best slow cooker I’ve ever used, but you’re going to pay for it. It has all of the features of the above slow cookers, except that the exterior barely gets warm (let alone hot) and there are a bunch of extra settings. Time and time again, I’ve found the “buffet” setting to be wonderful when you’ve finished cooking the meal but want it to sit out for a while and keep warm while people serve themselves over time (such as at a large party). This is the slow cooker I recommend the most, though it is pricey.

Let’s face it. The crock-pot isn’t so bad. It’s all about which recipes you choose. Do any of you have any favorite slow-cooker recipes to share? —MEGHANN MARCO

The Art of The Slow Cooker [Simple Dollar]

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  1. Fujikopez says:

    My favorite slow cooker recipe is a recipe I found on a site called allrecipes.com, and it’s for Turkey Chili (although I substitute ground beef for the turkey). It’s super easy and tastes delicious!
    Laura’s Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lauras-Quick-Slow-Cooker-Turk

  2. Citron says:

    Slow cookers and vegetarians tend not to be so compatible. :(

    Good for making chili, though.

  3. We got one for our wedding last year and – for two people who work full-time and commute – it’s a great asset.

    There are quite a few recipie books out there for all kinds of things, but I recommend ribs – sear them on the stove, and put them into the crock pot for 6-8 hours with sauce and veggies, and it’s gonna be great.

  4. SexCpotatoes says:

    my favorite recipe is in a book that came with the rival crock pot my mom got me. Lasagna with white sauce, delicious.

  5. etinterrapax says:

    I don’t remember where I saw it–probably a Campbell’s cookbook–but a favorite of ours is 3 lb stew beef chunks simmered in 1 can each cream of mushroom and French onion soups (condensed, don’t add water, use low-sodium varieties), plus a good cup or more of fresh mushrooms, and serve over egg noodles. This can also be made in the oven in a covered casserole, 300F x 3+ hours. Great winter comfort food, and about as low-effort as home cooking gets.

  6. homerjay says:

    The crock pot is coming back? I don’t ever remember it going away!

    Now fondue– Thats already been back and gone away again…

  7. MeOhMy says:

    Even at this very moment, there is kielbasa and sauerkraut cooking away on my kitchen counter just waiting for me to get home.

    The recipe? 1lb. kielbasa. 1 bag of kraut. Potatoes. Put them in the pot, turn it to low.

    I dumped in 12 oz of good Belgian-style beer and some mustard this time around for good measure.

  8. juri squared says:

    @Fujikopez: Oh man, that sounds awesome. We make turkey chili all the time, and each time my husband and I keep thinking we should find a slow-cooker version. Thanks!

    Slow cookers are cheap and full of awesome. I recommend one for everyone.

  9. VA_White says:

    I like to toss meat, veggies, spices, and liquids into a big ziploc bag the night before. That way I can let the meat defrost in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I just dump the lot into the crock pot, switch it on low, and leave for the day.

    You shouldn’t normally put frozen meat directly into the pot and you shouldn’t put a cold crock from the fridge into the crock pot – it could crack. Using the big bag also helps marinate everything.

    I would be lost (or broke!) without my crockpot. We use it at least twice a week.

    And there are tons of vegetarian recipes for crock pots. Lots of slow-cooking grains come out wonderfully in a crock pot.

  10. emax4 says:

    When I was living on my own I’d use a crock pot on occasion. I’d put in a pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions along with a bullion cube. I was anxious to get out of work just to come home to it, and while walking up the walkway I could even smell it from outside. Those were some of the best self-made dinners I’ve had, and the leftovers lasted nearly all week.

  11. mschlock says:

    They’re great for simmering chicken until it turns into Tasty Enchilada or Burrito Filling. I usually take 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or a package of boneless thighs, a small can of tomato sauce, a tbsp or two of chili powder, a tsp or so of cumin, a bay leaf, and a lot less water/stock than you think you’d need, then leave it there on low all day until the chicken falls apart.

    I still get nervous about leaving that fucker on all day when I’m not home, though.

  12. rongenre says:

    Crock Pot Recipes:
    This is Alton Brown’s Oatmeal recipe — 1 cup steel cut oats, 4 cups water, throw in some dried fruit and splash in some half-and-half. If your pot’s got a timer, set it for 3 hours on low, otherwise it’ll scorch.

    Meat Stew: get a pound from the butcher, put in some flour and brown in a pan, throw into the pot. Use the pan to cook some onions and garlic as well, throw ‘em in. Add cubed potatoes, celery, carrots. Add in a cup of red wine, a cup of broth. Cook all day on low.

    This [and the foreman grill] are wondrous things when you’ve got 2 kids to feed.

  13. Steve_Holt says:

    I use a crock pot to cook my own pasta sauce, and it works great.

    Dump in two large cans of Contadina tomato sauce (not the stuff in a jar that’s ready to eat, rather the stock sauce in a can) plus two more smaller jars of tomato paste. Add some minced sauteed onions, garlic, and /or pepperoncini. Meat is optional but make sure to cook it well before you put it in. Keep it on high for 4hrs, then switch to low for another 4. The sauce tastes amazing.

    The best part is, I use some for dinner and then fill 4 or 5 plastic pyrex containers with the rest and put them in the freezer. Then whenever I want pasta, I just defrost a sauce and heat it in the saucepan.

    It’s pasta sauce for about six meals, at probably 1/10th the cost of buying jars of Classico. Try it!

  14. Craig says:

    “Slow cookers and vegetarians tend not to be so compatible.”

    Are you serious? Google “vegetarian crockpot” (without the quotes) and you’ll turn up over a million results. Here’s one place to start:

    http://vegetarian.betterrecipes.com/vegetariancrock-potrec

  15. Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    I have the Rival but would buy the KitchenAid if I were starting over. The Rival is nice but the model I have does not have a timer, which sucks.

    Here’s my recipe of choice: Flank steak cut in two, one packet of taco seasoning (your preference – hot or mild) rubbed onto both sides of steak, large chopped onion over top of steak, one tablespoon of vinegar. Cookbook says 8 hours, mine usually can get the job done on high for four hours. Excellent and very easy.

  16. AcidReign says:

    …..There are some interesting ideas here. I don’t have a crock pot, but I simulate one with an 8.5 qt. stock pot and a burner set very low. I like buying a Murphy Brothers corned beef brisket and stewing it for hours.

    …..But there’s no way I can leave an eye burning and go to work for 14 hours! I’m guessing that leaving a crock pot on that long would be risky, too.

  17. hop says:

    i just ate supper, now i’m hungry again…sorry i read this atuff

  18. MeOhMy says:

    I’ve left my crockpot running 12+ hours. It’s relatively low heat and does not have an exposed heating element, so there’s not much risk.

    It’s actually better than using the stovetop because it heats more gently (no need to stir, nothing burning to the bottom). It’s more akin to putting a dutch oven in the oven.

  19. Designersheets says:

    I got a great one – poor man’s sloppy joes.
    * Brown a lb. of hamburger in a skillet, drain grease.
    Add 1/2 ketchup and 2 tbsp. yellow mustard and 1/2 brown sugar. Mix and dump in your crock pot. Let simmer for an hour or two. serve with some government cheese and your good to go!!! he he. I make it for b-day parties and always have to write down the recipe.

  20. Designersheets says:

    oops i meant 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/2 cup b. sugar
    sorry

  21. HearsMusic says:

    @etinterrapax: I love that you posted this, we just got home from a friend’s house where we had this exact dinner. Except instead of the noodles we had mashed potatoes. That is some good eating.

    Guess I should contribute a bit of PA Dutch crock-pottery (at least, everyone else I tell about this has never heard of it outside of Central PA):

    Buy a chunk of ham that will fit in your crock, the cheap butt roast, not the fancy smoked kind, I like buying on sale, cutting up and freezing. In the morning, add ham, several white or gold potatoes (washed, cut into large chunks, unpeeled so they don’t fall apart), and a can of cut green beans (or fresh if you feel energetic). Add roughly 1 cup of water, set on low, go sit in your cubicle.

    Come home to a lovely-smelling house, with the cats going crazy because they want some ham too. Enjoy.

    It almost gets a soup-type consistency that is hard to describe. But very delicious.

  22. wasylm says:

    I’m a vegetarian who just got a crock-pot yesterday, so we’ll see what I can come up with. Thanks for the link Craig, that looks like a good start, though I’m usually more about making stuff up as I go along than following recipes. I’m exited to see what I can come up with.

  23. orielbean says:

    buy the cheapest cut of beef that you can find. Then get a container of beef stock (college broth, etc). I used fingerling potatoes, hot pepperoncinis, and baby carrots as well. Finally, add a bottle of lager beer into the mix. Cooks in about 2-3 hours at about 350 degrees. Total cost was about 12-18 bucks, feeds about 5-7 people if you also have a starch side dish like rice alongside.

  24. Don Roberto says:

    I’ve made some slow cooker fajitas that turned out ok. My slow cooker is a 7 quart KENMORE i got from sears for around 40 dollars on sale. It has a digital readout and timer … real geek appeal. :)

  25. William C Bonner says:

    My sister made a dessert called “Triple Chocolate Mess” this last Christmas in a crock pot. It was a great dessert. I would never have tried a dessert in a crock pot, but it was definitely worth it.

    Web searching for it finds it in several places.

  26. otherdeb says:

    Here’s a recipe I recently adapted for crock pot…

    Pear-Apple Sauce

    4 red apples
    4 green apples
    3 bartlett pears
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    2 tablespoons water
    3/8 cup granulated sugar
    3/8 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    handful or two of raisins (optional)

    Cut up the apples and pears (leave skin on, remove cores) and toss in crockpot. Add rest of ingredients. Cook on high for one hour, then on low until fruit starts to get mushy, stirring occasionally. Take a potato ricer or masher, and mash the fruit. Add the raisins and cook on low for about 5-10 more minutes. Serve.

  27. C.Barr says:

    I made some tangy jamaican style steaks a while back and I figured some sweet potatoes would go well with them (and they sure did).

    just put in a 1/4 cup of water and then the sweet potatoes (I can fit about 8-9 in mine). Put it on low and just let it go for about 6 hours. It takes a while, but it’s worth it.

    Top with butter, dark brown sugar, and possibly pineapple chunks. So good!

  28. kimsama says:

    @HearsMusic:
    Hells yeah — We always just called it “ham and green beans.” Central PA, represent! That stuff is tasty.