Slow Cooking is Still Cooking

November 12, 2009 at 9:10 am 27 comments

Just so y’all know, Stephen’s nose is looking excellent but now he’s got himself a big fat fever. I spent the evening wondering how in the world I’m ever going to have kids if I freak out about a 102 fever on a 25 year old man. In fact, this is on auto-post because I’ve spent most of the evening Googling his symptoms and am pretty concerned and I’m not sure what we’ll be doing in the morning. I don’t tell you this so you can be all, “Oh Chelsea, you’ll be a great mom.” No. I tell you this because this is my blog and I can be real with you.

One of the greatest parts of having a blog is that I get to tell you ridiculous things that happen to me and somehow they become less embarrassing. Usually you can relate. You often say, “That’s not so bad. One time I…” and somehow I don’t feel like quite an idiot. We work together, you and me. We complete each other.  

Another great thing about having a blog is that you read it and you often give me feedback. You’ve told me how to cut my hair, where to buy a dress, how to paint my wood paneling, what books to read. You guys are full of good info. So don’t let me down today. No pressure…

I’m back on my crock pot kick. The moods come and go. I find that I fall more in love with my crock pot when winter approaches. It’s cool outside (seriously, it’s in the 70’s today) and it’s dark when I get home from work. There is something so comforting about walking into a warm house that smells like a home cooked meal. Sometimes I feel like saying, “Splendid! The housekeeper must’ve left dinner in the oven for us. She’s such a peach!” And it’s a great feeling until I remember that I don’t have a housekeeper and I don’t say “peach” unless we’re talking about cobbler or Bellini’s. But it’s actually even better that the meal is from my crock pot because I still get credit for making a rocking dinner!

Last week Lauren told me about an easy peasy meal that she and her husband have. She throws a few chicken breasts into a crock pot, seasons them with Lawry’s, and then puts salsa on top. After a day of slow cooking you shred it up with two forks and make yourself some fantastic soft tacos.  I made these last week and they were awesome. Unfortunately I made them on a day when Stephen was still learning how to eat, so I had to make him a taco salad. He said it was good but I could tell he didn’t get the full effect. I decided I’d make them again this week.

Massive failure commenced in my kitchen.

You always hear about young brides who are learning to cook and ruin a ton of food. They either undercook things or they burn them. Or they add salt instead of sugar. Or use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. Up until a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t relate. I never make those mistakes. I know how to cook. But recently I’ve been burning food. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, maybe I’m too comfortable in the kitchen so I’ve started experimenting more. I don’t know. But Monday night was the worst of the worst.

Monday morning I threw two seasoned chicken breasts in the crock. I put a bit of salsa on top and plugged it in. As I was doing this I thought, “I wonder if I should put 4 in there. They say you’re supposed to make sure your crock pot is mostly full. Hmmm… it may be fine. But I wonder if it makes a difference that I defrosted them. Last week I didn’t. It may cook faster. Oh well, I’ll give it a shot.”

I may never, ever give anything a shot ever again. We walked into the house on Monday evening and something didn’t smell right. My mouth didn’t water. I didn’t have the desire to scorch my tongue by eating straight from the crock pot.  I opened the lid. Stephen yelled, “NO WAY! Oh my gosh! Cool!” They were charred. They were shriveled up and hard as a rock. The salsa was burnt to the sides of the pot. It was terrible. Horrible. I was sad and embarrassed and royally pissed off.

I got in the kitchen and made us some breakfast tacos. I cursed the crock pot and went to Bible Study to whine about my misfortune and pray for the mental health of my crock pot. Then I came home and began the marinade for my brisket I was going to throw in the pot the next day.

Tuesday was a bit better. The brisket cooked an appropriate amount of time and smelled excellent. Stephen loved it but I was underwhelmed. I mean, I’m a Texas girl so I believe there is really no such thing as bad brisket unless it’s bone dry. That’s just illegal. But I know I can make a better brisket.

That’s where y’all come in. I need some recipes, brisket and other. Now I’m a firm believer that beggars can’t be choosers, but I’ve got some guidelines here. I’d like crock pot recipes. They need to be easy and TRUE crock pot recipes – None of that saute this, bake that, then let it heat in the crock. No, I need something I can throw together in the morning and leave for 9 hours. Also, I only want recipes that you’ve made. I don’t want to know recipe websites, I have plenty of those. Something that you have made and love. Got it? Post  it in the comments or on your blog or give us a link!

Help a girl out before she has a breakdown!

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Entry filed under: Blogging, Chelsea, Marriage, Stephen. Tags: , , , .

Loser 8.09: Twice! Dad Gummit! Seven Quick Takes (vol.15)

27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erin  |  November 12, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Aw, man! There’s NOTHING worse than looking forward to a meal and have it not turn out. It just ticks me off every time. It’s like, “Now what?” I’ve been racking my brain for a good crock pot recipe to share with you and am totally drawing a blank! Maybe after my second cup of coffee. 🙂

  • 2. Molly  |  November 12, 2009 at 9:28 am

    When I use my crockpot, these are the recipes I use:

    The Meat:
    3 chicken breasts (I use chicken but it’s more traditional to use skirt steak or flank steak)
    ½ Spanish onion, sliced into strips
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    2 tsp. Salt
    2 tsp. Coarse Black Pepper
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    ½ cup red wine
    1 cup beef broth
    ½ can tomato sauce
    1 small can tomato paste
    1 teaspoon oregano

    1) Put all these ingredients into the crockpot in order. Add water to just cover the steak/chicken.
    2) Set it on low and cook for 4-6 hours.

    When the meat is very tender (comes apart with a fork), remove from the crockpot and finely shred it into a separate dish.
    I usually stick about 1/2 a jar of roasted red peppers (sliced) in at the last second to give it a nice flavor. It is supposed to be nonsoupy but that’s hard to achieve with a crockpot so…you know. It’s way better the next day, by the way.
    Serve with white rice.

    Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken (so flippin’ easy!)
    4 Red Potatoes (I use medium sized)
    Aluminum Foil
    Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
    1 whole chicken (I use a smart chicken and just buy a smaller one)

    Clean potatoes and wrap each one in aluminum foil. Place inside crockpot (spray pot with cooking spray first). Put the chicken on top of the 4 potatoes (so you may have to spread the taters out so that the chicken sits evenly on top of the 4). Sprinkle the chicken with the lawry’s (more is better—probably about 2 tablespoons? I’m trying to eyeball it in my head). Cook for 4-6 hours on high but DO NOT OPEN the lid before it’s done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste quite the same if you cook it on low for 8 hours. BUT I’m sure it’s still good. If you cook it on high, It’ll come out like one of those chickens you buy from the grocery store. It’s SO easy. I think on low, it’s not quite as crispy. Anyway, then just unwrap the potatoes and you have a side to go with it. The chicken sits on top of the potatoes so it gets crispy and doesn’t sit in the juices.

    Billy’s Beef Stew

    2 lbs stew meat
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup red wine (let’s be honest. I LOVE the flavor of red wine. So I put about 1 cup in at the beginning and then about an hour before it’s done, I put in another 1/2 cup or so. I watched a show that said you should add more to the end because it retains the flavor better. To be safe, you should probably do 1/2 at the beginning and 1/2 at the end so that you aren’t in wine overload. Some people don’t like the flavor like I do)
    1 small can tomato paste
    1 can cream of mushroom soup (I get the 98% fat free kind)
    2 yellow onions, quartered
    4 large potatoes (Julie uses Russet, I use red), quartered
    1 small package baby carrots
    Put everything into crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. We have a bread machine and I buy those pre-packaged bread kits and usually make a loaf of bread to go with this.

  • 3. Molly  |  November 12, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Oops, that first recipe is for crockpot white girl version of Ropa Vieja

  • 4. HoustonGurly  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:07 am

    We have venison in our freezer (my bro-in-laws hunt), so I like to use it in chilis and stews. You could substitute with whatever beef roast is on sale at the store. Here is a great, easy venison stew recipe:

    CROCK POT VENISON STEW

    2 lbs. venison, in 1 inch cubes
    5 carrots, cut up
    1 lg. onion, cut in chunks
    3 stalks celery, sliced
    1 lb. canned stewed tomatoes
    1/2 c. quick cooking tapioca
    1/2 tsp. cloves
    2 bay leaves
    Salt & pepper to taste

    Trim all fat from meat. Put ingredients in crock pot, mix thoroughly and cook on low for 12 hours.

  • 5. Joy  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

    http://joyinthemorning-joy.blogspot.com/2009/10/sharing-wealth-fruited-chicken-and.html

    Sorryif this is dublicating, I know I posted this partly because you asked me to share but it is currently my favorite crock pot recipe.

  • 6. Mom  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:29 am

    (1) you forgot to tell them you didn’t turn the crock pot on!
    (2) what is a smart chicken? (from Molly) If it was smart, wouldn’t it still be alive?

  • 7. Jen Halligan  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I’ve been craving some great crockpot recipes, so instead of starting my own blog, gaining followers and then requesting my loyal readers for their recipes I’ll just steal yours!! Thanks!

    So I’m not a completely terrible person here is a minor contribution 🙂

    This isn’t a meal but it sure is yummy!

    Yummy Meatballs

    1 bag of frozen meat balls
    Equal parts grape jelly and cocktail sauce

    Cook for 4-6 hours on high, great for a party!

  • 8. Kyla Roma  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:37 am

    The above recipes look amazing! I don’t have any on hand but that’s only because I’m in dire need of diving back into my recipe books to get some more crock pot meals happening. A great resource is http://www.foodblogsearch.com – food bloggers take tons of pictures, they have notes, it’s great. If you search ‘slow cooker’ I’m sure you’ll be bombarded. =)

  • 9. Lindsey  |  November 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Here is a recipe from my recipe blog. It is called crock-pot creamy ranch chicken. It is very easy and very yummy! Let me know if you try it out and what you think. Here is the link:
    http://rowlandsrecipes.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/crock-pot-creamy-ranch-chicken/
    Also my Sister-in-law cooks with her crockpot all the time. She is always posting a new recipe on her blog check it out. She has 6 posted right now on the right side of her blog. Scroll down and you will see it. Here is her link:
    http://amaworkman.blogspot.com/

  • 10. Caroline  |  November 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I am scared of the crock pot. Although my experiences have been good, I am terrified to leave it on for so long. I need to get over my fear.

  • 11. Lindsay  |  November 12, 2009 at 11:37 am

    The only recipes that I have, you gave me for my birthday. Also? I burn break and bake cookies so you’ll be getting no help from me!

  • 12. Vanessa  |  November 12, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Okay so the easiest meal was the one I made last night! All you do is put 2 lbs of pork tenderloin into the crock pop, pour in a 12 oz bottle of root beer and let is cook on high for 7 -8 hours. I then took the meat out and shredded it. I add a bottle of our fav. BBQ sauce. I did have to re heat a little because the meat lost some heat from the BBQ sauce. Once its heated you put the meat on hamburger buns and enjoy! So easy!

  • 13. Tiffany  |  November 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    A little variety from the “normal” crock pot stews

    Hawaiian Chicken Stew

    1 lb ckn breast cubed
    4 carrots sliced
    1 red bell pepper chopped
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks with juice undrained

    Mix everything but the cornstarch pineapple and pineapple juice and heat on low 7-8 hours

    Mix in the pineapple, juice, and cornstarch and cook on high 15 more minutes. Taste great with a side of rice.

    I know you wanted it done when you got home but you can add the pineapple and cornstarch and let it cook while you are changing clothes and reading your mail 🙂

    Let me know if you try it!
    Tiffany

  • 14. Debbie  |  November 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I recently found the BEST pulled pork bbq recipe! It’s soooooo easy and so stinkin good!!

    Ingredients:

    1 5-7 lb pork tenderloin (I usually buy the pork shoulder cuts)
    1 2L bottle of your favorite root beer
    2 bottles of your favorite BBQ sauce
    Garlic Powder

    Place the pork tenderloin in the crockpot. With a fork, poke lots of holes into the meat so it can soak up all the juice for maximum flavah!

    Cover meat with root beer (usually takes about 3/4 of bottle). Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or whenever you get home from work).

    Remove meat (carefully b/c it shreds apart so easy, just falls off the bone!) Take 2 forks and shred everything up. Dump out the root beer. Place shredded meat back in crock pot. Cover with 2-3 bottles of BBQ sauce (depending on how saucy you like it). I sprinkle on some garlic powder for some extra flair. Cover again and let it cook for another 20 minutes or so.

    Presto! Throw that stuff on some buns and prepare for a party in your mouth! 🙂

    Let me know if you happen to make it! I also have a DANG good chicken tortilla recipe that’s super easy (can be done in a large pot or a crockpot all day simmering). I’ve typed too much already so I can email it if you want! 🙂

  • 15. Debbie  |  November 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    ps- I should also mention. I was expecting some extraordinarily delicious and salivating scent when I got home the first time I made this….the root beer flavored meat doesn’t smell like amazing bbq, but, I swear once you add in the bbq sauce after…you’ll get the yummy smell. the root beer is key for this one!! 😉

  • 16. Debbie  |  November 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    ahhhh!!! I just read up and saw the same recipe. Well, I guess that means it’s a good one if someone else thinks so! 🙂

  • 17. Vanessa  |  November 12, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I had no idea what a pork tenderloin was either. However i just asked one of the meat guys at walmart to show me. It is in the pork section, it will say on the package pork tenderloin. The package I got was 2.25 lbs for around $9.50.

  • 18. Darla  |  November 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    wait!! I was going to try the chicken/salsa meal … but why did yours burn? Did it need water? Should the chicken not have been frozen?

    I’m not a big crock pot cooker, but I’m definantly going to try a few of these recipes!

  • 19. Lauren From Texas  |  November 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    PLEASE copy and paste these as you try them into your recipe blog. They all look amazing. And feel free to add the chicken one.

    DIDN’T I TELL YOU FROZEN??? Maybe I didn’t. I can’t remember. But I never cook less than 3-4 and I never cook thawed ones. I think that would only take 4 hours, if even that.

  • 20. Taryn E  |  November 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    1) Pulled Pork sandwiches

    Ingredients:
    1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin (also works with beef if you don’t like pork)
    1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
    1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
    Rolls or buns, split and lightly toasted

    Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Drain well. Place pork in a large bowl and shred with two forks. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve on toasted roll.

    2) Chicken tortilla soup

    Ingredients:
    1 pound chicken (make life easy and use frozen chicken breasts)
    1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
    1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups water
    1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 bay leaf
    1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
    1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    7 corn tortillas
    vegetable oil

    Directions
    Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Before serving, shred the chicken breasts with a fork.
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
    Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

  • 21. Debbie  |  November 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    dang, the pulled pork recipe is a hit! apparenly im a fatty b/c i said to get the 5-7 lb pork roast. that’s because it’s that good and we LOVE the leftovers! 😉

  • 22. Jimbo  |  November 12, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Got a crock pot beef stew waiting for me when I get home. I’ll let you know how it is!

  • 23. Autumn  |  November 12, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    102 fever? That does not sound fun. I will be praying for a quick recovery from whatever’s going on! (Besides the nose!)
    As for the crock pot? I, too, have that love/hate thing going. I love mine when it’s cold outside and when she works!
    Will be looking for recipes…
    Take care of that hubby….

  • 24. Autumn  |  November 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    PS… From a mom… fevers freak me out worse than anything. Feel better?

  • 25. Jill  |  November 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    That totally happened to me before…I like to cook bbq chicken in the crockpot. Even though I always cook it on low, I guess maybe my pot wasn’t full enough because they were like…black lava rock hard in there. Oopsie.

    I also like cooking pot roast in there. I use lipton onion soup (dry), some kitchen bouquet, and cream of mushroom soup to help flavor it up 🙂

    I also like making meatballs in there but for my sauce I use grape jelly, barbeque sauce, brown sugar and a tbsp of apple cider vinegar.

    I can’t think of what else! 😛

  • 26. Lisa D  |  November 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I’m also in slow cooker mode as well. I don’t really have any winner recipes to share with you, though. Hopefully I’ll come upon one soon!

    That sucks about the chicken burning. I never even knew that things could burn in a crock pot!

  • 27. d.a.r.  |  November 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Oh I have totally screwed stuff up in my crockpot, too. It is awful!! Nothing like coming home to the smell of burnt food in the house. Ick.

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