Crockpot 101

photo by Katarina Arneric

Many times my crockpot becomes a crappot. What ever left over veggies and meat I have, I sprinkle it with seasoning and throw it all into the crappot crockpot. So many people have been asking me for crockpot recipes. I don’t have any one specific recipe to share at the moment, but here is a guide to help you create an easy, delicious meal.

First, the LOW-DOWN ON CROCKPOTS:

  • Great for roasts (chicken, beef etc) pulled pork or pulled _____ and stews/soups. One of my friends even baked pumpkin bread in a crockpot. Hopefully she’ll comment below ;)
  • It doesn’t take much time to prepare.
  • When you come home, the house smells magnificent and there’s no more work to be done.
  • After a long day out, you can eat right when you’re hungry!

Ok now LET’S GET COOKING: Decide what you want to make: ROAST, STEW/SOUP, PULLED CHICKEN/PORK/BEEF

ROASTS: Pick out your ingredients:

photo by Katarina Arneric

-Meat (skip if you are a vegetarian): Use meats with lots of marbling and or bone intact. This will keep it juicy and add flavor.
-Veggies: Carrot, celery, onion and any type of potato are great veggies to start with. Don’t be afraid to branch out but use two to three different veggies. I also like using artichoke.
-Seasoning: Kosher/ sea salt, pepper, and fresh garlic cloves are simple. I love using different season mixes from The Spice House on Wells St. (Comment below to find out my current favorite.

  1. Leave meat in one big chunk and add the veggies around it. Veggies are cut in 1inch to 2inch pieces. If you are using a full chicken, you can even stuff the chicken with some veggies and spices. If I’m using a seasoning mix or rub, I like to mainly season the meat and just add salt/pepper to the veggies.
  2. Add in a little bit of water at the bottom to keep things moist.
  3. Turn the pot on and and leave sitting for at least 6 hours. Low vs. high depends on your pot and how long you want to leave it cooking.

STEWS/SOUPS: Pick out your ingredients (see above) but add 32 ounces of stock (veggie or meat) and or water.

  1. Cut up the veggies into small bit size pieces and buy meat from your local deli/farmer specific for stews (just ask whoever is helping you)
  2. I don’t use rice or noodles because I stay away from grains for my own health reasons. Potatoes are plenty filling.
  3. Turn the pot on and and leave sitting for at least 6 hours. Low vs. high depends on your pot and how long you want to leave it cooking.
  4. If you want things more chopped up, when everything is done cooking, take a whip or hand held blender to the pot.

JUST MEAT, PULLED _____

  1. Use meats with lots of marbling and or a cut with a trim of fat on it.
  2. Line your crockpot with tinfoil for easy clean up.
  3. Season meat and place in the pot with most of the fat on the top (keeps moist). Then add about 1/2inch of water in the bottom.
  4. After it’s done cooking, pull apart the meat with two forks.

**When having left overs, keep some of the juice to reheat the food with.

If you don’t already have a crockpot, ’tis the season to invest in one. Always go for the bigger size, even if you live alone (best to have left overs or people over). I hope this gives you the confidence to get crackin’ on your own crappot crockpot!

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