I love my slow cooker. It’s my favorite toy in the kitchen. I throw some meat and sauce into it in the morning and by evening a meal is ready, and the house smells fantastic all day. This works wonderfully for me, because I don’t have to think too hard. This is crucial for a writer who has other things on her mind.
This morning I put chicken breast tenders and my favorite barbecue sauce in the crockpot. That’s it. I’ll cook it on low for six to eight hours, shred it, and add some extra liquid smoke at the end. I’ll steam some brown rice or quinoa to serve with it, because my husband needs something extra with it. Frankly, I eat it by itself and skip the extra calories. I always make enough to freeze and pull out later when I’m crunched for time.
One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is a salsa chicken. I puree my favorite salsa in the blender with additional garlic and put it in the slow cooker with chicken breasts. And serve it the same way as above. It also makes good filling for enchiladas or burritos. Chop up lean pork chops into one inch cubes, brown, and then cook for six hours in green salsa and you have chile verde to serve with burritos or over rice.
Some of the potency of several of the sauces gets lost after the long cooking time, so I usually punch it up by starting with more of whatever is listed on the ingredients label. Canned tomatoes, garlic, tomatillos, or onions. And liquid smoke. My husband will eat anything as long as I add enough smoke. The scent drives him crazy as he works all day, making him dying to eat it by dinnertime. As the kids come in the door from school, their eyes get big. “What smells so good?” Even if it’s something they don’t think they’ll like, they’ll taste it because the scent was awesome.
Hawaiian food fans? Kahlua pig. One four pound pork butt or shoulder with two tablespoons liquid smoke and one tablespoon of sea salt. No liquids. Cook on low for ten hours. Shred. Serve with steamed rice and pretend you’re on a beach. I’ll warn you, this one doesn’t smell good while cooking, but it tastes incredible. And is less labor intensive than the traditional Hawaiian way in the photo.
Who uses a slow cooker? What’s your favorite recipe? Mine have five ingredients or less!