Friday, January 28, 2011

The Chronicles of the Crock Pot

OK, so FINALLY, I opened up the daunting crock pot box and gave it a try!

(Disclaimer: If you are used to using a crock pot, [read: apparently the entire world, except me] you will laugh in the face of this depiction, but it was my first time, so leave me alone. Just wait until I use the sewing machine for the first time. It'll go something like....wait. so, ....WHAT do I DO with this thing?!)

I have big plans for using it, but I need a basic lesson first, because, literally, I have never used or seen one. Don't worry - my Mom is still amazing - even if she didn't have a crock pot or sewing machine ;) And I want her to teach me how to sew, but she doesn't live that close, so....maybe when the parents visit!!

So, I literally have never seen one in action, so throughout the day I had visions of my house filling with smoke and burning to the ground, leaving something on and hot like that all day - like 12 hours, all day.
But. Through some great miracle, it worked just fine. (Cue your shocked faces...)
I am gone for so long during the day I have to use the 10 hour (low) setting, and then it automatically switches to the Warmer setting once it is done, so it guessed it. warm, until we get home.

The problem with this is that there are only 2 (sometimes 2 1/2!) of us, so unless I want leftovers for a week, I can barely fill the thing up to the required "Half Full minimum" for proper cooking.
So because of this, the tiny, puny, chicken tenders I used, probably cooked way longer than they needed to, and some of the onions and sauce got a bit too dark (read: burned!).
But, it was a good first try. I give it a B+. (A on taste. Lose points for burning...). It smelled great, the chicken (tiny, wimpy, little pieces that they were) was still tender, juicy, and literally falling apart, more time, all together now, Ladies and Gentlemen...the house did not burn down. Huh! Who Knew?.

I did have to get used to the fact that you need to prep all the ingredients the night before, so that in the morning, when you have NO TIME, you can just dump everything in. But I still had to plan to leave a few extra minutes in the morning to do this. But I get it, yeah, yeah, what is a few minutes, compared to the glory that is: walking in from a long day at work to have dinner completely ready for you? I know, OK? It is cool.

Now, thank you for listening to my wonderful tale. You have now earned a peek at my FIRST EVER CROCK POT RECIPE.

Syke! It isn't even a recipe.  I literally used 3 (OK 5) things. And only used 5 because I felt 3 was just too few, haha.

*We had about 7 leftover raw chicken tenders (the smaller pieces of the breast) that I used.
*About 1-2 cups of BBQ sauce (I poured in a mix of 2 different varieties we had on hand, until the chicken was coated.
*Added about a 1/4 cup of water, because I was afraid the sauce would burn even more without it. But, ideally don't use it, because it didn't evaporate, the sauce stayed watery until I got home. But the chicken still got coated with the sauce, so it was fine.
*1/3 of a white onion, sliced (why not, I figured.)
* a squirt of ketchup (an ingredient in BBQ sauce. I felt I needed more ingredients, haha!)
* a drizzle of soy sauce (why not?.....)

Gave it a quick stir so all the chicken was coated, put the lid on, set it for 10 hours on low, and hoped for the best!

Before Picture:

(oops, forgot to take an After Picture, looked about exactly the same.)

The chicken really was awesomely tender, and really infused with the BBQ sauce flavor. So I guess it was worth doing in a crock pot, instead of just after work on the stove for 10 minutes. (I'm trying, here!!!)
But, next time, I would use much larger pieces of chicken breast, so they don't shrivel up into oblivion.
(Some recipes call for bone-in chicken, which would stay more moist, but I don't do meat with bones or skin, nor dark meat. So. there.

Next, I want to try some soup, and a yummy pesto chicken recipe a friend gave me. And I hear you can bake in these things, too. Oooh, and fondue!!
Don't forget I got a whole Crock Pot recipe book for Christmas, too! So, more to come...hopefully.

Crock Pot 101. So there.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone!

Well, all the peppermint bark was given out and enjoyed! A friend even liked it so much she made some herself! Hooray! Inspiring others to be homemaker-y!

For Christmas I was very lucky and received, a crock pot!!! pots and pans, a new double boiler (hello next year's way easier peppermint bark!), and a sewing machine!!!

I can't wait to get cooking and sewing. So there.

I shall keep you posted with my latest experiments!