A few months ago, I shared a list of the things that are saving my life right now in the newsletter. My crock pot was one of them.
I resolved to use it more this year, not as an aspirational goal but because I felt like I needed to. This year it’s more than a kitchen appliance for me: it’s a sanity saver.
The crock pot probably saves me a little bit of time, although that’s not why I love it. Laura Vanderkam opened my eyes to the real genius of the crock pot: “The genius is that it moves the task of making dinner from a time when you have a lot of things going on (6 p.m.) to another time of your choosing, when you have less.”
I generally enjoy cooking. Will and I often pour a glass of wine and debrief the day while we’re making dinner together. But there are plenty of days when, for one reason or another, that’s not an option.
Like last night, the kids and I got home at 4:30 and I had to leave for a meeting at 6:00. If I hadn’t put dinner in the crock pot at 8:00 a.m., I would have been frantic to get everything done.
But when we got home, dinner was cheerfully cooking away. So we took the dog for a walk, and got some fresh air and Vitamin D before the sun went down. Then we sat down to a hot (if short) meal together before I had to leave.
Other days while dinner is cooking in the crock pot I might drink a cup of tea and read a good book, one of my favorite things to do on cold winter afternoons. Or I might spend an hour writing: late afternoon is good “thinking time” for me.
These are some of my favorite crock pot recipes (many of which I got from you in the comments here: thanks for the suggestions!)
• Smokey pulled pork from Pam Anderson
• Chocolate chili from Melissa Joulwan
• Salsa verde beef from Good Cheap Eats
• Balsamic roast beef from Add a Pinch
• Slow cooker taco chicken bowls from Budget Bytes
I love my crock pot, but I don’t use it as much as I could. (I love my dutch oven even more, and since we’re often home in the late afternoon, that’s a great option for stews, braises, and other winter comfort foods.)
Please share your favorite crock pot recipes (I need more!) and any and all sanity-saving tips in comments.