Monday, May 12, 2008

Deadline Dinners

This week at the Diner we're going to be sharing our culinary expertise, or lack thereof, in a series of recipes that may involve food and may involve something else entirely! As for myself, I'm choosing the traditional recepe route with my suggestion of a deadline dinner.

When you're a writer under deadline, some days you don't even have time to go to the bathroom, much less cook dinner. Or maybe that's just my poor time management and clingy toddler? Either way, one essential tool to the writer who wants to eat something besides take-out, sandwiches and tv dinners is the crock pot.

Here's my recipe for crock pot chicken, which cooks in 6 hours on low. When you take your noon break to eat lunch (ha!), set this up and dinner will be ready at 6:30.

Step 1: Insert whole chicken in crock pot. Please remember to remove plastic outer wrapping and disgusting inner giblets.

Step 2: Dump about half a bottle of one of those insta-marinades or a can of condensed soup onto chicken.

Step 3: Put lid on crock pot, and be sure to not only plug it in but turn it on. Oh, yeah. It happens.

Step 4: Cook for 6 hours on low.

Yes, I'm serious. That's all there is to it. You can do a beef or pork roast in 8 hours on low using the same expert technique of removing the plastic wrapping and dumping something flavorful on it. If you're feeling adventurous, you can add chopped up vegetables to the roast and you will have a complete single dish in one pot. I haven't tried whole baked potatoes but there's probably a recipe out there for them.

The challenge comes in when you need more than 6 hours betwixt crock prep and eating time, like if you work outside the home at an 8-5. You'd want to find a recipe that takes longer to cook, set it up in the morning, and leave it on all day. Slow cookers are pretty safe home alone, and they don't usually throw parties.

(Note: I don't recommend trying to crock a pot of beans in a workday unless the beans are out of a can. I never can get the timing right on dry beans.)

Here are some links to crock recipes:

http://southernfood.about.com/library/crock/blcpidx.htm

http://familycrockpotrecipes.com/

http://www.cookingcache.com/cat/crockpot_recipes/default.aspx

http://www.recipezaar.com/recipes/crockpot

And my favorite recipe site: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Main-Dish/Slow-Cooker/Main.aspx

Some crocks may be more programmable than others, meaning you could set it on "cook" for 6 hours and then have it switch to "warm" until you get home. Some even hook up in your CAR, yes, your car: http://www.roadtrucker.com/12-volt-cooking/12-volt-portable-slow-cooker-crock-pot.htm

I have a crock with 3 settings -- off, low and high. This type of simple cooker is not only cheap but probably sitting around unused in somebody's attic, so it's not like you'd be out a mint if you end up not enjoying the whole crocky experience.

But I think you will. Happy crocking!

Jody W.
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--Available now from Samhain Publishing
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/

3 comments:

  1. I lurve my slow cooker. The hard part for me is remembering to take something out of the freezer the night before.

    Thanks for the recipe! I look forward to reading more.

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  2. Thanks, I'm always looking for new recipes that are fast!(at least in prep time.)

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  3. What a great idea! I think I have a crock pot, but if I've used it more than once, it's a lot lol

    Since I'm doing Jenny Craig (down 21 pounds yay!)I find it hard and even stressful to have to cook for everyone else ( I always want to taste). This sounds like a great alternative.

    ~Maggie

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