Yesterday, I bought some boneless ribs at Aldi and wondered what I could do with them. Aha! I’ll put them in the crock pot and dump a bottle of BBQ sauce on top. Simple. Two steps. Put meat in. Pour on sauce. Three hours later, the meat was fork tender and tasty. I had some leftover potatoes and carrots that I mixed in near the end and marveled at the easy and delicious dinner I made with such little effort. That’s when I decided to write a top ten list of reasons why I love my crock pot, as nerdy as that may be.
- You can put practically any cut of meat into a crock pot and it will become tender and juicy. I’ve tossed in the toughest of roast beast, slathered in some kind of savory sauce. It always seems to fall off the bone, melt in your mouth and generally make everyone a little happier.
- You can leave the house while your meal is cooking and not worry that you’re going to burn the house down. Come home from wherever you were and you’ll find the house is not on fire, nobody in it is on fire, and your dinner is ready. That’s a good thing.
- You get to come home from work and have something hot and ready to eat. Who wants to cook after working all day? Sometimes you’re just too tired to even think, let alone gear up for some culinary craftiness.
- The smell. On one super busy day, I totally forgot that I had dumped meat, veggies, seasonings and chicken broth into the crock pot that morning. I was immediately reminded about it five hours later when I opened the front door and whiffed that welcoming aroma. What is that wonderful smell? Oh yeah. That’s the dinner I prepared ahead of time and now I get to eat!
- The whole meal is contained in one pot, so the clean up is super easy. I usually just soak my pot overnight and then wash it out in the morning. Whatever happened to be stuck on the sides or bottom comes off easily. No biggie.
- If you’re lazy or just plain tired because your body is using all of its energy to digest that delicious crock pot goodness, you don’t have to dig for Tupperware to refrigerate the leftovers. Just take the crock pot and put it in the fridge. Easy peasy.
- Lasagna. Best. Lasagna. Ever. I never thought it could be made in the crock pot until I tried it a couple of months ago. I saw it here: https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/videos/1657763017809674/
- In the summertime, you can make a hot meal without heating up the entire kitchen. There’s nothing worse than cooking on a 90 degree day when the air-conditioning is working at its maximum and you make its job even harder by turning on the oven to cook. Soon, the kitchen is 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house and you’re sweaty and exhausted. With the crock pot, nothing’s heating up except your food.
- The crock pot holds A LOT. I have teenagers coming and going all the time in my home, and a lot of them are not mine. I’m worried I might not have enough food to feed them, especially if I don’t know they’re coming for dinner. With the crock pot, you can fill it with several servings of just about anything – chili, stew, casserole, chicken a la king – and you’ll have enough for your family and those unexpected guests. Yeah, you know who you are.
- You can be as creative as you want. I’ve thrown in soup, ketchup, salad dressing, shredded cheese, spinach, croutons, frozen peas, and whatever is left in my pantry. It seems that as long as you follow some kind of recipe – loosely, of course – and your ratios of liquid are correct, you can create just about anything in a crock pot. Some of my favorite crock pot recipes are ones I invented using dumped in leftovers.
The day my husband bought me my crock pot, he said, “You’re going to appreciate having this.” Instead, I was worried about how much he had spent on it, and wondered where I’d find room to store it. Big and bulky as this bad boy may be, it’s totally worth giving it prime real estate in the pantry.