Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let's Get Crockin'!

Now that everyone is back to school, it seems that every one's schedules have become a lot more hectic. This one has to get to such-and-such practice, that one has a so-and-so lesson, and on and on. It's quite a lot to manage and it can make finding time to cook dinner nearly impossible. The solution is simple. Use your crock pot! You can assemble tomorrow's dinner tonight before you go to bed. Before you leave for work in the morning, just take it out of the fridge and plug it in! Dinner will be ready when you get home! How easy is that?
This week, I'll be featuring some delicious and easy crock pot recipes. Do yourself a flavor and try some of them! They'll make your life so much easier! Here are a few crock pot tips:

Timing Tips-
Basically, you should figure that 1 hour on high equals 2 hours on low. Usually, crock pot recipes will give you the setting and the amount of time, for instance "10-12 hours on low". This can be translated as saying "5-6 hours on high". So, suppose you forgot to turn on the crock pot for dinner and you realize it as you're driving to work. You can still save dinner by running home on your lunch break and setting it to cook for half the time on the high setting.
You can also do a combination of settings. Figure out when you'd like dinner to be ready. Cook on low for part of the time, then switch it to high for the rest of the time (or vice versa). Again, just remember 1 hour on high = 2 hours on low. As long as you figure out how many hours it needs to cook, you can adjust the setting so it'll to come out even in the end. Another thing to remember is that you don't have to be exact. If you're running a half hour late, you don't have to worry about it. The crock pot will just keep it warm for you and dinner will still be delicious and not overcooked.

Buying tips:
If you don't own a crock pot, you should SERIOUSLY consider buying one. They're not very expensive and they're worth their weight in gold. I absolutely LOVE mine (which was a gift from my sister-in-law. Thanx again Karen!)
Be sure to look at several different models. They all have different features, so it all depends on what is important to you. Some are digital and you can program them to turn on or off at a certain time. Also look at how big or small of a crock pot you might want. If you rarely cook for more than two or three people, then a smaller one would be good for you. With mine, I love the fact that I can remove the pot insert from the electrical unit, making it easier to clean. Mine also has a lid that clamps onto the top, which prevents any spilling if I'm bringing it to a BBQ or party, etc.

I also have a smaller one, which just has the basic settings.(warm, low, and high). It's not digital, doesn't have the clamp on lid, and doesn't have the removable insert. I've used it a million times and I like it just as much as any crock pots with all the bells and whistles. My point is that you don't have to spend a million dollars. I'm sure you'll be thrilled with whichever one you buy.
Great then!

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