When you’re working or sitting in class all day, the last thing you’ll want to do is cook dinner when you finally trudge home. So why not have dinner ready for you and have your apartment smelling delicious? Well, there is a way that doesn’t involve hiring someone to break into your home and start your evening meal for you: making it a crock pot meal kind of night.
Crock pots are one of those tools are necessary to have in your kitchen. Even though you might not use it very often, when you do need it, you’ll really need it. Fortunately, you can usually find pretty cheap ones, especially around this time of the year. They’re a good investment and, because it’s not used very often, usually withstands the test of time. If the stars aren’t aligning for you to get one right now, you can just borrow one from your favorite kitchen gadget aficionado.
Most crock pots are pretty self-explanatory. With most of them, you just plug it in and push a button and you’re ready to go. But what should you cook with it?
1. Pulled pork sandwiches.
For this recipe, just get a slab of pork shoulder and drop it in. Combine with onions, garlic, barbecue sauce, or anything else that sounds good. Sometimes you can even get pre-seasoned or pre-sauced meat that you just need to unwrap and cook.
Usually this all need to simmer in the slow cooker for eight to nine hours on low, or four to five hours on high, but make sure it’s fully cooked before serving on a toasted bun with some pepper jack cheese. If you can, while it’s cooking, try to break it up with a fork or spatula so the inside cooks faster.
2. Spaghetti sauce.
If you’re serving a crowd, spaghetti is an easy way to go. With the sauce cooking all day, all you’ll need to do is pop the garlic bread in the oven and boil the noodles.
Put the crock pot on low and combine a few cans of tomato paste, chopped onion, garlic, stewed tomatoes and peppers (which can go for a round in the blender or food processor if you please), and any spices you wish (I’ve found that the secret is a little brown sugar).
If you’re adding ground beef or meatballs, brown the meat before putting these in with all the rest of your ingredients. As with the pulled pork, be sure to check if the meat is fully cooked before serving.
Lightly following this recipe, brown the meat in a skillet with some pepper, salt, and cumin. Throw these into the crock pot with some onions, garlic, chopped green or red pepper, various types of drained and rinsed beans (the recipe recommends black and red kidney beans), diced tomatoes, beef broth, and barbecue sauce.
Brown sugar will also complete the taste for this recipe. Cook for six to eight hours on low, stirring every now and then. Serve with cornbread, sour cream, and some cheddar cheese. Some green onions to top it all off might be nice, too.
Crock pots can be an easy way to make a large meal without having to cram all your cooking time into right before everything has be served. Crock pot recipes are everywhere. Just Google whatever you want to make, specify slow cooking, and you’ll have a result. With crock pots it’s easier to just throw all kinds of things in and it usually works. That and there are few things better than coming home after a long day and your apartment smells warm and comforting, especially in this weather.