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Slow Cooking is Hot Right Now

Although, the weather is still a bit unpredictable, I’m pretty sure the heat’s coming. As far as cooking goes, that can mean a different take on how you cook your meals. Using a barbecue is a sure bet in the summertime. Using a microwave or toaster oven are, also, great alternatives. Eating salads and stove-top cooked meals are a good alternative to keeping an oven “off” during the hot months.

A meal isn’t something you should just pop in the microwave and get over with – anytime, whether it’s hot outside or you’re busy. Using a crockpot is something to do to alleviate the stress of being tired and having to cook and, also, when it’s hot to not have to heat up the house.  Plus, you get to smell the aroma of food cooking to awaken the senses and get your digestive juices flowing, without having to do too much. Fill it and go, is basically all you need to do.

So, you’ve got meat for the grill. Salad stuff in the frig. And you’re craving a baked potato. Did you know you can cook baked potatoes in your Crockpot?

Wash and dry the amount of potatoes you want.
Prick them with a fork.
Wrap them individually in foil.
Place potatoes in Crockpot on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

That’s right, no water, just put potatoes into a dry Crockpot.

This might come in handy if you’re working all day and have some meat marinading for the grill and want to have everything ready when you get home. Voila!!

Stuffed Spuds are a great quick meal. Easy to take to work – bake them in the Crockpot, then divide and make individual servings for lunches with toppings. Keep in the frig ready to grab and go on your way out the door for work.

Lots of kids around and in and out of the house? Keep a crockpot filled with hot dogs. Fill with just a half a cup of hot water or beer (the alcohol cooks off), a package or two of hot dogs and turn on high. Ready in about 1 hour. Just keep warm for the stragglers. Condiments in the frig and you’re all set. Coleslaw ready to top them, if you’re one of those…

Sometimes a day with the family on the beach or on the water somewhere deserves a Crockpot feast. Just put a roast in the Crockpot before you leave – very simple with salt and pepper and some garlic. Pour a can of diced tomatoes on top. When you come home, all you have to do is shred the meat, mix with the juices from the tomatoes. Have ready buns and prepared barbecue sauce and you’re good to go. After a day of sun, coming home to a hot shower and a house smelling this good is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Did you know that a cast iron Dutch oven is the original slow cooker. A hot Dutch oven that’s been on top of the fire can be filled with meat, beans and spices a potatoes. A hole is dug. Hot coals are placed on the bottom of the hole, the Dutch oven is placed on top. Hot coals are placed around and on top of the oven as snuggly as possible. A board is placed over the top of the hole with a marker of some kind identifying it’s hot. A long day hunting, fishing or exploring country – and back to camp and Voila! Dinner is served, folks! Very cool, just thought I’d share.

Of all the kitchen appliances out there, the Crockpot is the Rock Star!

Here are some inspiring resources for recipes:

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

http://busycooks.about.com/od/favoritecrockpotrecipes/a/favoritecrockpo.htm

http://www.recipe4living.com/articles/the_25_best_crockpot_recipes_countdown.htm

http://www.food.com/recipes/crock-pot-slow-cooker

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/slow-cooker/

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/main-dish/slow-cooker/top.aspx

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