Ode to the Crockpot



Oh slow cooker

How I love Thee

A few ingredients, push a button,

Voila! Dinner for the Fami-lee…

Ok- so I’m not much of a poet, but my heart is in the right place. Every winter, i fall in love just a little    more with my crockpot. On a day when I’m not home, or even if I’ve got too many projects going, I   can count on something delicious and balanced for dinner. Traditionally, slow cooking has been around for a long long time. Think of a kettle over a fire in historical kitchens, simmering stew or soup and you get the idea. Braising is a technique used to slowly breakdown proteins in food, in liquid over a long time using low temperatures. The slow cooker evolved into the ubiquitous Crock Pot in the 1970’s when almost every household had one. Today, slow cooking is making a comeback as a great alternative to takeout on a busy weekday night after school and work. A much healthier alternative and less expensive too. The crock pot lets you turn cheaper cuts of meat into mouthwatering savory dishes. Although with any exposure to heat, especially with lengthy time, nutrients will be lost. On the flip side, with the lid continually on, nutrients released will be contained in the cooking liquid. A wash, perhaps?

One tip for cooking with beans – either soak overnight or use quick-soak method to release toxins and avoid potential harmful gastrointestinal effects. Never put raw dried beans in your crockpot. You can also add cooked canned beans toward the end of cook time.

Top 5 reasons to dust off your slow cooker:

 5- A “green” alternative by using less kilowatts than traditional oven or stovetop cooking
4- A money saver by using cheaper cuts of meat
3- Time saver
2- Homemade, healthy meals rather than takeout or restaurant meals
1 – Easy, Easy, Easy – from preparation to cleanup. Oh – and leftovers too!

Tonights super easy slow cooked meal:  Honey-Soy Chicken with a side of red quinoa

I love spending time tin the kitchen creating a wonderful and sometimes complicated recipe to share with my family and friends. Cooking means love to me- developing a recipe,  sharing, and providing nourishment to people I care about. But, I also love easy, throwing just a few ingredients together and coming up with a family favorite, especially on a day when everyone is running around and there’s no time for kitchen fun.

2 # chicken thighs, 3 carrots cut in 1-2 inch chunks, 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed, 1 inch fresh ginger, 1/2 c low sodium soy sauce or tamari, 1/4 c cider vinegar, 1/4 c pineapple or apple juice, 1/2 cup honey

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low setting. That’s it!

Your family will thank you – your pizza place will not.