Lazy Slow Cooker Recipes – a Series of Reviews

1 Apr

Last month our schedules got a double whammy when I started rehearsals for Jekyll & Hyde and P started school—all this after a full day of work for both of us.  We needed to figure out a way to get food on the table in the evenings that took, like, zero minutes. Enter: the slow cooker.

I’d dabbled in crock-pottery before, but making it a habit seemed like the ideal way to feed all of us during this extremely busy time. The idea was that I would plan meals a week ahead or so, buy the groceries each Sunday for my chosen recipes, and prepare them at night after I got home from four hours of rehearsing. Then P or I (or my mom, who at this rate is beginning to replace us as parents) would have a hot delicious dinner all ready whenever we got home. Are you laughing yet?

You should be, because as you know—or you do now—I hate cooking. I’m not bad at it, I just don’t like it. Whenever I search for new recipes, I scan them for certain immediate disqualifiers. For example, ingredient lists more than 10 items long (including seasoning), prep times of more than 10 minutes, and of course, any of the kitchen curse words:

Janie’s four-letter kitchen words
        • Peel
        • Dice
        • Soak
        • Shred
        • Overnight
        • Flatten
        • Reduce (which is…what exactly?)
        • Pat dry

But I don’t need to worry about that for slow cooker meals, right? I mean, practically every recipe in the Crockpot cookbook begins with the word “easy.” Wrong. It only took ten minutes of surfing on Pinterest to come to the horrifying realization that like, 50% of slow cooker recipes require some kind of cooking before you put anything in the pot.

WTF?

Not only that, but another 30% of them require some additional cooking or prep after it’s finished! So—prep for 30 minutes, cook for 8 hours, then prep for another 30 minutes? Then clean up that biotch?!? HAAAAIL no.

So I took the 20% of crock pot recipes that were left after those exclusions and tested them out. I have two crockpots—one that I “inherited” from my grandparents is deep and rather small, good for chili, stew, etc., and a second, wider pot that I bought with the rest of a Costco gift card that my boss gave us for Christmas.  I want to share with you, TA-DA style, the recipes that worked—that were [actually] easy and [actually] tasty.

Doubtless you’re thinking, wow, Janie! That must mean your plan really worked! Hm. Let’s not get carried away here. Incorrect ingredients were bought, menu plans were forgotten, Sundays slipped by without grocery shopping, pizzas got ordered. But you can read the whole sordid tale for yourself on each review, which I will be posting weekly at whatever rate I feel like (Hey. Tech week is about to start).

I’ll try to post a relevant picture when I can, but I’m not a food photographer (plus, I usually wasn’t even home when the dish was served) so none of them will be of my actual creation. Below is the scoring key I applied to each of the recipes.

Key:

EASE

1 – Next time T’s making it

2 – Clairol Nice n’ Easy

3 – Bearable (or worth the work)

4 – I’m starting to get irritated

5 – Too lazy to make this again

TASTE

1 – Gross

2 – Meh

3 – Good-not-great

4 – Yummy

5 – SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS

Recipe List

Honey Chicken

Pork Tacos

Creamy Chicken

Chicken and Dumplings

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4 Responses to “Lazy Slow Cooker Recipes – a Series of Reviews”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Easy Slow Cooker Recipe #1: Honey Chicken | Cushion Cut - April 1, 2013

    […] (Explanation of scoring) […]

  2. There are quite a few at ease with moral ambiguities | Cushion Cut - April 4, 2013

    […] publish it. It’s been a while since we talked about something more serious than lip color and food, so I say, what the heck. […]

  3. Easy Slow Cooker Recipe #2: Pork Tacos | Cushion Cut - April 9, 2013

    […] (explanation of scoring here) […]

  4. How Not To: Spring Cleaning Edition | Cushion Cut - May 7, 2014

    […] have doubtless figured out that I’m no domestic goddess. In these nouveau-crunchy, domestic-renaissance times in which we are living, I get points […]

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