How do I love thee Crock Pot? Let me count the ways...
My family & co-workers often refer to me as the gadget geek since I love technology, and that spreads over into the kitchen as well. C got a pasta machine for Christmas and I got a food processor, so I've been using most of my new-found time to try them out. And to add to the mix, about a month ago, I decided to go ahead and get a crock pot.
I've been wanting one for several years now - because of the time difference with The Company, I often find myself working the most between 3 & 7pm, which doesn't make it very easy to prepare dinner. I've spent many a night chopping carrots with one hand while holding the phone to my ear with the other, ie not exactly the safest thing. But with the crock pot, I can prepare everything earlier in the day when I have time, and then just leave it to cook until we're ready to eat.
The problem was that up until recently, they weren't readily available in France. You could get them from Germany or other neighboring countries, but they usually charged a fortune in shipping. But for whatever reason, now they're everywhere, and for fairly decent prices too. When I was looking for mine, I wasn't sure if I'd end up using it a ton or not, so I didn't want to spend a fortune, which is why I purchased this one for 35€ from 3Suisses:
I love it, and have been using it several times a week ever since. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it is HUGE. The picture shows it filled to the brim, and I'm telling you, that is enough food to feed an army.
Now most of my regular recipes usually make enough to last for two meals...until you throw C into the equation. He eats enough for three. He's got abs (and buns!) of steel, so I don't know where he puts it, but I'm telling ya, that man can eat. It's almost frustrating to me - I like having leftovers for lunch the next day, but it hasn't really been possible since we moved in together.
Until the Crock Pot. I don't know what it is about these crock pot recipes, but they produce massive amounts of food. One of my favorite sites is the CrockPot365 blog - it's written by a woman who decided to use a slow cooker every day for a year (and of course she got a cookbook deal out of it). But she's got lots of good recipes - and one thing I especially like is that a lot of them are from scratch.
See, I brought a crock pot cookbook back from the US, and I actually haven't been able to use it that much since most of the recipes consist of "Add 1 can of Campbells soup, 1 big hunk of Velveeta and some random meat into the crock pot and cook for 8hrs". Or call for other things like "1 jar of BBQ sauce" or "1 packet of ranch seasoning"- things that are not readily available here, or at least not for decent prices. So I really appreciate that she uses a lot of things I have around the house. Like her BBQ Pulled Pork recipe, which instructs you how to make the BBQ sauce from scratch. And let me tell you, it was so tasty that even C (Mr. No Sauce) gobbled it up.
So two thumbs up for the Crock Pot - it makes loads of food and gets C to eat sauce.