*Note: I used to publish a home and garden e-zine from approximately 1998 until 2007. During that time I was married and raising my children. My kids are now adults and I am divorced. This is one of the articles I published in the e-zine during that time. Just wanted to let you know in case you’ve read some of my newer articles that talk about my grown children, or that I am single.
A lot of us have a very efficient and time saving appliance sitting high on a kitchen shelf collecting dust. What is it?
It’s the crock-pot!
I have taken mine down from that high shelf and have actually purchased another one because I have found them to be so helpful. How are they helpful? Read on.
I have found a solution to this problem and that is the crock-pot! In the morning when I am ambitious and creative, I prepare the basis of our meals by adding meat, liquids, seasonings or other ingredients to the crock-pot. Then at dinnertime, all I have to do is prepare side dishes such as heat and serve rolls and a green salad. Sometimes I even prepare the side dishes early too so that way I have hardly anything to do at mealtime when I’m lacking energy. If you have two crock-pots, use them both at the same time with the main dish in one and a side dish in the other.
Another benefit of the crock-pot is that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. This can be valuable in the summer but don’t limit it to summertime cooking. It’s an any-season appliance. You’ll be pleased smelling the delicious aroma of your food cooking all day long in the fall, winter and spring. You can even cook desserts in them such as apple dumplings.
For those of you that work away from home, the crock-pot is safe enough to leave turned on low all day. When you get home, most of your dinner is cooked and ready to eat!
You can buy crock-pots at any retail store for around $30.00 for the average size and more or less for a bigger or smaller one. But why spend $30.00 when they are abundant in thrift stores and yard sales? I purchased my second one at a thrift store for $2.99! If you decide to purchase one at a thrift store or yard sale, be sure to plug it in and see if it heats up.
Here is one of my favorite crock-pot meals.
Pork Ribs and Kraut:
Brown desired amount of pork spareribs in a frying pan over medium heat; season with seasoning salt and place in crock-pot. Stir sauerkraut juice into the pan you browned the ribs in and stir with a fork to loosen brown bits. Add this juice to the crock-pot along with desired amount of sauerkraut. Set crock-pot to low and cook 6-8 hours.
For a side dish to this meal, I make homemade rolls using the bread machine to make dough, or I just serve plain old bread and butter. A crusty loaf of French bread would be good too.
This would make a great side dish to the meal above. Peel and cut desired amount of apples into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Place the chunks in your crock-pot and add about 1/2 cup water. Set the crock-pot to low and cook 4-6 hours or until the apple chunks are very soft. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency and add sugar to taste if desired.
I hope this article brings you the inspiration to dust off your crock-pot!
Copyright 2001 Monica Resinger.