You guys, I suck at crockpot cooking.
Seriously, HELP, how do you actually make something taste delicious that’s been cooked in the crockpot? What’s the secret?!
My dad, he’s a master crockpot chef. The internet, it makes us horrific crockpot chefs feel unworthy with it’s trendy recipe videos.
When I think of making meals in the crockpot, I think of fall and winter, cold weather and comfort food. But here, we’re still in the throes of summer, and turning on my oven or stove is just about the last thing I want to do when I get home at night to my unairconditioned home. So, I thought to myself, “Self, crockpots don’t require the oven, put out little heat, AND dinner will just be ready for you when you get home. Win/win/WIN!”
I’ve had bad luck in the past, but I thought I’d clear any previous negative thoughts I had about the crockpot out of my brain and start fresh. I thought about the last delicious meal I had from a crockpot and it was when my parents visited in March. My dad made a phenomenal, tender, flavorful pork roast. So, I did what any reasonable 25 year old does, and I called my dad and asked for help.
He gave me the recipe, I wrote down every detail, bought all the necessary ingredients, and combined with my cheery attitude I was ready to go. I even prepped EVERYTHING the night before so all I had to do was plug it in and turn it on in the morning.
I thought about the meal all day at work, I was so excited. It was going to be so delicious, I was going to have such great leftovers for days, even my three year old was going to LOVE it. And then I got home… to a dry, bland, uninspired meal. I was bummed but suffered through three days of leftovers so as to not let it go to waste.
Feeling bummed, I decided to forgo crockpot cooking for awhile and resume the usual recipes. And then just a few nights ago, one of those cute little “Tasty” recipe videos appeared on my Facebook feed for crockpot meatballs. It looked so easy and delicious, the recipe was right there, how could I ignore it?
I headed to the grocery store, I bought all of the ingredients (serious question: does anyone actually ever use an entire container of breadcrumbs before they go bad?!), I prepped everything last night, I turned everything on this morning, I thought about them all day (…anything sounding familiar here?), I got home AAAAAAAAND… some of the meatballs hadn’t cooked all the way through. There was too much grease on the top from the meat I’d used and my dinner that was supposed to be magically ready when I walked in the door now required much more work.
Fortunately, I was actually able to turn the meatballs situation around. I pulled out the frying pan (and my trusty meat thermometer, no thanks food poisoning) and cooked them all up until they were well down on the inside. They didn’t taste half bad. But, I definitely wouldn’t call that a success.
So, please, if you are a magical crockpot chef, TEACH ME THE WAYS. Or, just share your favorite (successful) crockpot recipes below.