by Margaret Riley
Always wondering what you’re going to have for dinner? Hate staying in the kitchen to take away from your creating time? There is a simple solution….a crock-pot!! It does all the work for you! First a few facts about a crock-pot, some changes, and finally a couple recipes for you!
Rival Manufacturing purchased the design from Irving Naxon in 1970. The name became Crock-Pot in 1971 and achieved popularity during that decade due to many women working outside the home. They could place dinner in the crock-pot before they left, turn it on low, and find a meal ready when they came home.
People complained about cleaning the crock-pot as it wasn’t submersible. Rival listened and introduced the crock-pot with removable stoneware inserts making it much easier to clean. As time progressed, crock-pots appeared in oval shapes, smaller sizes, and multiple crocks in one base. More advanced crock-pots have computerized timing devices that allows you to control the temperature and the time over the standard crock-pot with 3-4 settings and no timer.
Now you know a little about a crock-pot, time to put one to use. You can place a meat into it in the morning and head to your studio. Now that smell might drive you crazy, but you don’t have to go into that kitchen and take away time from your creative time. When it is time for the family to arrive, head to the kitchen and put together a salad plus place a vegetable in the microwave. Wah-la! Dinner is served! And your family will think you slaved in the kitchen…when you know you created all day!
Here’s a couple easy favorite recipes of mine!
1 whole chicken (or you can use only thighs, only legs, or only breast meat)
1 tablespoon each of: rosemary, thyme, parsley flakes, and paprika
1 teaspoon of sea salt (optional)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water
One medium onion in slices
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Rub olive oil over chicken (or chicken pieces). Place in crock-pot. Add water. Sprinkle herbs over chicken. Lay onion on top of chicken.
Turn crock-pot on low keeping covered to cook for 7-8 hours.
Meal idea: Mix up instant mashed potatoes (use broth from chicken for some of the liquid in your mashed potatoes). Open a jar of gravy and heat up. Saute onions in butter and add a can of green beans. Sprinkle real bacon bits on beans. You are ready to serve baked chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans. Total prep time: 30 minutes. Family response: Wow Mom! This is great! You had to work a long time in the kitchen! Your response: Smiling!!
Idea for left over chicken: Debone and shred chicken to use for chicken salad for your lunch tomorrow or to send in packed lunches (be sure to put in a freezer pack to keep chicken salad cold).
CROCK-POT TACO BAKED POTATOES
4-6 potatoes (medium size)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil for each potato
1/4 teaspoon sea salt for each potato
Toppings for evening meal: Grated cheese, chopped chives, chopped onions, Hormel chili with no beans (I like the turkey Hormel chili) warmed in microwave, sour cream or plain yogurt, package of shredded lettuce, and diced tomatoes
Wash potatoes thoroughly and rub each potato with olive oil. Prick with fork in multiple places. Sprinkle with salt. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place in crock-pot on low for 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.
Remove and unwrap potatoes. Split and top with toppings to have a Mexican Taco Meal. Yum! Total prep time: 20 minutes. Family response: Delicious Mom! Your response: Easy-peasey!! Idea for left over chicken: Any left overs can be a taco salad for your lunch the next day.