Thursday, April 14, 2016

Foodie Friday-Crockpot Cooking

I love my Crockpot. Seriously. It always surprises me to hear someone say they don't have one, or if they do, they don't use it. I've told both of my daughters, and my son, that there's a learning curve with Crockpot cooking. Each slow cooker tends to cook a little differently. And, of course, as it is with any kind of cooking, there's no guarantee that you will like the recipe. As someone with a chronic illness, I love how I can put the ingredients in the Crockpot in the morning and forget about it. It's so much easier for me to do all of the food prep in the morning, rather than later in the day when I may not be feeling very well. My Crockpot automatically switches to the warm setting once the programmed cooking time is done; this is a great feature for those who work or are just going to be out for the day.

I like to make shredded chicken breast in my Crockpot. Cooked shredded chicken is great to have around for all kinds of recipes and quick meals. The chicken is good in burritos, casseroles, salads, soups, etc. Here's the recipe I use: Crockpot shredded chicken. I freeze two cups at a time using my vacuum sealer; a quart size freezer bag would work, too.

I've also made large batches of ground beef in my Crockpot, too. I'll be honest, I've only done this once or twice, but it came out fine. Here's the link for the recipe: Crockpot cooked ground beef, The already prepared ground beef will go great in soups, casseroles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. It freezes well and, like the chicken breast, it can be thawed in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the microwave.

Besides, batch cooking meats, there are a ton of recipes out there for breakfast foods, soups, side dishes, desserts, and complete meals. I have found a lot of Crockpot recipes on Pinterest. Some of them have become our favorite meals. Like this: French Dip Roast Beef. I use low sodium broth because I think it's too salty with the regular kind. Another one of our favorites is this: Crockpot BBQ Bacon Ranch Chicken. I also make plain BBQ chicken. I'll just throw two or three pounds of chicken breast in the cooker, add some sliced onions and a bottle of BBQ sauce and cook it on high for two and a half to three hours. It's so easy to make and tastes so good. Another easy meal and family favorite is this: Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken. Sometimes, I add a block of cream cheese to the slow cooker half-way through, just to add a different flavor and texture.

I hope you'll try some of these recipes out. If not these, look around and find some other recipes you think you might like. Slow cookers are so nice for those hot summer days when you don't want to heat up your whole kitchen, but they are also good to use any time of the year, especially for those of us who have chronic illnesses. It's so much easier to throw something into the crock and forget it than it is to stand over a hot stove stirring something.

Do you have any favorite Crockpot meals? Or, are you one of those who still has yours packed away? If yours is taking up space in that out of the way closet, it's time to get it out and put it to use. You'll be glad you did, I promise.

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