Wednesday, January 4, 2012

FOOD and my crock pot!

You know what I love about the internet?  Blogs.  Food blogs, to be exact!  There are millions of them.  Do a search for food blogs and you come up with 1,260,000,000 of them!  I like to bake, and I have to eat gluten-free, so before Ms. Hasslebeck on The View had her on GF book and before more stores and restaurants started serving gluten-free food, we had blogs.  Obviously I'm not telling you something that you don't already know.  Just Google your desired dish, or even just the ingredients you have, and boom, thousands of options for your nightly dinner or dessert!

Something I've been talking about getting for a while is a crock pot.  We had one way back when, and never used it.  Now, with the two kids and my hubby and I busy with work, easy meals are far more desirable.  What easier than a crock pot meal??  I do casseroles, rice, pasta, etc. but you can't quite get the same effect as you do with a slow cooker.  A couple of months back I saw one on sale at the grocery store and picked it up!  Total impulse buy ;)

The first thing my husband did when I brought it home was give me an odd look and asked, "Why did you get that?"  "To cook our family fabulous meals!" I said, "Of course!"  Well, I think I've said this before, but my husband is a chef.  Chefs don't slow cook in crock pots.  They spend hours prepping their meals, tasting as they go, cooking on pallet and instinct.  I am not a chef.  It's my little joke.  It's kind of terrible really, but I tell people, "I don't cook, so I married a chef."  Technically he wasn't a chef when I met him, but he was going to culinary school.  What can I say, the way to my heart is through my stomach!


So back to my slow cooker.  The first thing I made was corned beef and cabbage.  It turned out well.  It was an easy first meal to make.  Add meat, add seasoning packet, add water and when you're ready, add carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  Done.  Easy.  So despite my husband joking about the fact that I bought a crock pot, who did I find using it a week later to prepare sausages and cabbage (yeah, okay we eat a lot of cabbage...my kids love it!)?  The guy who laughed at me for buying it!  C'est la vie.  He knows convenience when he sees it.

For my next recipe, I sought out an expert.  Stephanie O'Dea cooked with her slow cooker each day for a whole year, and documented it.  Another fabulous use of the blog.  You can see her list of recipes here.  And to top it all off, she cooks gluten-free!!  I found my inspiration through Pinterest.  It was a picture of Stephanie hugging her crock pot with the most glorious smile on her face.  Sure some of her recipes were flops, but she made it the whole year.  I decided to start trying at least one slow cooker recipe a week (at least my husband can say I'm cooking!).

Tonight's recipe is Enchilada Casserole, slow-cooker style.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see how it went and to get the recipe.  PS I made homemade enchilada sauce, primarily because my hubby laughed at the idea of buying canned sauce and exclaimed how easy it was to make and second because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find gluten-free sauce without having to drive all the way out to Whole Foods.  I based my recipe off of Stephanie's enchilada casserole, but changed a few things.

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