Tuesday, July 3, 2012

crockpot crazy

i have a handful of go-to recipes i make in my crock pot.  moroccon beef stew.  chili.  black beans.  occasional soups.  but i've never really ROCKED my crock.

until now.  thanks to @misstattootara, who has a pinning obsession (as do i, find me on pinterest @stephgas.  same for instagram) and pins a lot of slow cooker meals, i've started compiling a bucket of new slow cooker recipes for awesome husband and i to enjoy (since i'm plugging everyone's fucking twitter and pinterest, you can find awesome husband @_antgas on both twitter and instagram). 

i tried a sesame chicken the other day which turned out less than awesome (leftovers were tossed.  that kind of 'less than awesome').  but i found a lot of great blogs with photos and recipes of slow cooker meals.

while reading them, i realized something: both of my crocks are timer-free.  i have a 4 quart and a 6 quart, one for meat and one for veg.  it turns out i cook vegetarian crock pot meals for my brother about once a year, so a separate one is not necessary.  ONCE i made chili for the family, and one crock was meat, one crock was faux meat.  ONCE.  in an entire year.

so i'm donating my gently used 4 quart (hanging onto the 6 quart in case i need to make 'fill in the blank' for a crowd) and purchased a shiny new cuisinart 3.5 quart slow cooker with a timer function.  i set the timer for however many hours, set it to high, low, or simmer, and walk away.  after the time is up, it automatically switches to the warm setting for up to eight hours. 

last week with my sesame chicken debacle, i set it for 6.5 hours, went to work, came home 8 hours later and it was perfect - cooked through and still hot (it was the sauce that ruined the meal, not the cooking).

today i'm trying another recipe - orange beef.  i've never even ordered orange beef from a chinese restaurant, so we'll see how this goes.  credit where credit is due, i snatched this recipe from stephanie o'dea who challenged herself to make something DIFFERENT in her crock EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR.  and she has a fuckton of awesome recipes on her blog, including slow cooker orange beef.

i have to modify each recipe a bit as i go because i'm cooking for 2 (usually get three servings) but like, in this recipe, she uses 1.5 pounds of beef... i'm using 3/4 of a pound.  so i cut everything in half.  i also may end up reducing the time a bit here and there as i get used to how my new crock works.  since it's a bit smaller (she uses a 4 quart for many of her meals) and i'm filling it a bit less, it *should* even out, right?


anyway.  so last night i sliced up my eye round (on sale at stop & shop, i hate paying full price for meat) and popped it in a reuseable, resealable container (not a tupperware, since that's a brand name and i own, like, two things from tupperware) along with the ingredients called for.

i gently threw it in the fridge and have given it a toss each time i'm in the fridge.  now i'll be dumping it in the crock, along with a bunch of frozen veg.  that's right, fuck fresh.

no, not fuck fresh.  it's just, frozen veg are just as good for you and hold longer and are less expensive when i buy them on sale (yes, i also fucking detest paying full price for frozen vegetables.  there are few things i enjoy paying full price for...).  one medium pepper, sliced, should yield roughly a cup.  and i'm halving this recipe... but i love me some veggies.  so i'm going to add a cup and a half of mixed peppers to my crock.  i'm also going to toss in a scant 1/2 cup of chopped onion too, because i'm too lazy to buy green onions and i love nice, smushy onions cooked in the crock pot.  like stephanie o'dea's daughters, i don't eat bok choy and saw no reason to waste money on something i don't like to eat.  so i left that out too.

then i set my crock for 6 hours (i'm erring on the low side of the time because it's a smaller portion), set it for low, and go to work! 

we'll see how it comes out when i come home tonight...


so i came home about a quarter after 8.  i opened the crock and found this....

i guess that sheen is a bit of fat from the meat floating on top.  no biggie, right?

it was a bit liquidy, probably because i used frozen vegetables so they release a bit of liquid.  i reheated some brown rice i had left over from the sesame chicken debacle and awesome husband and i sat down to this....

pretty much yum.  the flavor was delicious.  i can see it might be a bit better with fresh veg, but i'm a busy fucking woman.  but it was very good.  i'll just cut back on the liquid next time.

so there you have it.  i'm going to post stuff about my crock adventures as well as the normal other shit.

i got a call back on the job interview i went on last week, which is a great sign.  i can't wait until thursday to see what happens!

have a safe and happy fourth of july everyone!


  1. First of all, I am on board with ANYONE doing food posts. You've inspired me to do my own!

    Secondly, you're absolutely right: frozen veggies are generally every bit as healthy as fresh, and in a lot of cases (like when you're getting blueberries from Peru and asparagus from fucking Chile), it's even healthier than fresh, since they were flash-frozen and not shipped from, y'know, the other side of the damn world. So frozen veggies? Underrated in my book.

    Thirdly, I am a WHORE for frozen vegetables on sale. Even though I had just FILLED MY FREAKING REFRIGERATOR CRISPER TO THE BRIM (like, overflowing) with fresh veggies from the farmer's market the other day, I still couldn't help myself from buying frozen brussel sprouts at the grocery store. Because they were on sale. Can't help myself. It's a compulsion.

  2. i bought a second freezer so i can store extra veggies and meat. i've also been reading about freeze-ahead crock meals which look really easy and neat. you spend like a couple of hours chopping and bagging everything and freeze them. then you take them out of the freezer, pop them in the crock frozen, and walk away.

    i'm not a thousand percent sold on that idea because frozen to cooked in a crock... i mean, the food will be in that danger zone for bacteria for at least an hour, right?