Thursday, February 28, 2013

Do you love your slow cooker?

"I love my Crockpot! My slow cooker saves me sooooo much time! You won't believe this amazing Crockpot recipe I found on Pinterest! I don't know what I'd do without my Crockpot. No, seriously, don't joke about that! Hmmmmm I wonder how I can make this in the Crockpot..."
-Everyone except for Me

Maybe it's the advent of Pinterest giving me a false idea of what people are really into or maybe slow cookers REALLY are the saving grace of busy people but I'm having a hard time believing that my slow cooker exists to save me time.

I'm a busy person. I don't have kids but I work a full time job as well as teach dance part time and I'm involved with a few groups.Crockpotting just isn't my solution to the nights when I have no time to cook. Here's why:
  • I leave for work around 7:40am and I return around 5:20pm. Most crock pot recipes require anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of cooking and no more. I found a few 10 hour recipes. It didn't turn out so great.
  • Chicken and some other meats need to stop cooking right when they're perfectly done. Every type of chicken I've had out of a crockpot has been overcooked and way too dry.
  • Cooked vegetables are most appetizing when they are crisp-tender. Any kind of slow-cooked vegetable is way too soft and robbed of its planty flavor (and probably nutrients) when it has been steeped in hot liquid for hours. 
  • Slow cooker recipes are pretty much the limited to soups, stews, sauces to go over grains (ah yes, you gotta cook that grain and wash another pan), or roasts with mushy veggies.
  • I like food to have a complex blend of textures-- gooey with crunchy, soft with crispy. Crockpot meals often all have the same texture.

Pinterest would like me to believe otherwise. Exhibit A.
Slow Cooker Lasagna. Has anyone ever seen something come out of a slow cooker that was this pretty?

Ok, I won't lie. There are 2 things I  like to make in my (fiance's) Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker: pasta/pizza sauce and chilli because the longer the herbs and spices steep, the deeper and more comples the flavors become. But even then I have to do some sort of extra prep step like sauteeing onions or browning beef. Hey, that's one more pan to wash! If I were simmering these on the stove, I'd only have one pan to wash. Aren't slow cookers meant to save me time?

I'm convinced. Unless it's a Saturday or Sunday, Crockpot cooking is only for people who work from home or full-time moms.

Talk to me- Can anyone prove me wrong?

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