Seriously. I’ve become so good at drying out chicken in the crockpot that the act of eating as shifted from an enjoyable event to a burdensome chore. Fail. (Turns out most dishes shouldn’t be cooked for 10+ hours, even if the crockpot is on low.)
If you were not aware, I’ve been working on a crockpot challenge for the past month, which entailed making three meals in the crockpot each week for 30 days. While some of the dishes turned out great, others…not so much. A common reason for this was the fact that I leave for work at 6:30am, and we aren’t able to eat dinner until around 6pm, which poses some problems. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to make food in the crockpot without overcooking it.
I found this funny/tragic because the crockpot is one of the easiest methods of cooking, in my opinion. You just throw you ingredients in, let time pass, and voila! Dinner is served. Usually, when the food is done cooking, you have around an hour or so of leeway to eat because it cooks so slowly. I, on the other hand, am a master of overcooking crockpot meals. It’s hard NOT to do this, though, because I can’t turn on the crockpot late or be home in time to turn it off.
Although several meals were overcooked (one actually burning…ma bad), I was able to get a few good recipes out of the experience. Throughout the whole challenge, I would recommend the following recipes and will most likely make all of them again:
Here is what the challenge taught me about crockpot cooking:
- If you’re going to be gone for awhile, make sure there is a lot of moisture, such as broth, because overly dry meat = nasty.
- It’s better to start the crockpot after work and have a late dinner than start it in the morning and have it cook for 5 hours longer than instructed.
- Fish is a pain to cook in the crockpot because it’s so easy to overcook–not worth it.
- Cook the base of a dish in the crockpot, and add dairy elements at the last minute, such as milk or cream cheese, because they will buuuuurn.
- Marinara and other thick sauces are not enough to keep the moisture in meat if you’re planning to extend the cooking time.
- Making soup in the crockpot is a good time.
The conclusion I have come to throughout this whole process is…
I need a crockpot with a built-in timer, so I can schedule when it turns on. That way, I can leave for work and not have to start the crockpot right away. Pretty sure that’s the only way I can be gone all day without overcooking the recipe.
I hope you have a swell weekend and do lots of fun things!!
Questions for you:
Do you have any tips for cooking in the crockpot?
For those who work full-time, how do you make meals in the crockpot without overcooking them?
What are you most looking forward to this weekend?