Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Love Your Crockpot!

This isn't an original statement but it bears repeating because the busy person who loves a good meal will fall madly in love with their crock pot. Don't say your mornings are too crazy, prep the night before! Meat and vegetables and some spices thrown in the pot and the pot thrown in the fridge is only going to take a few minutes at night. In the morning, plug it in, put it on low and 9 hours later, voila!

I also do some crock pot meatballs that often get asked about. Here are two simple meatball crock pot recipes that I often serve for potlucks, baby showers and we always make these on Christmas Eve too. If you love them enough to have them as a meal instead of an appetizer, both these variations are great with any steamed veggie plus a healthy heap of rice. The sauce from both of them works great on rice & vegetables!

Swedish Chinese Meatballs (yes, you read that right)
-frozen Swedish meatballs thrown frozen into a crock pot)
-a jar of sweet & sour sauce
-1/2 jar of water (swish the leftover sauce around)
Turn on the crock pot and as Emeril says, let them get happy!

Tangy Meatballs
-2 bottles Kraft Chili Sauce
2/3 of a large jar of Welch's grape jelly
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
-Box of frozen italian meatballs (If you're in Canada either Schneiders or PC Meatballs will do. If you can't get them, any old meatballs will work too!)
Turn on the crock pot and let the happiness begin...

Meatballs are happy in a few hours but can be happy all day long if you want to do this while you go to work as well. These are easy breazy because they are frozen pre-cooked meatballs and vegetarians can use mockballs (lol) and dieters can use extra lean meabatlls too.

I love putting a roast, stew or chili on in the crock pot too. My husband also loves making Boston baked beans that way. There are whole websites dedicated to crock pot recipes and everything that comes from a real crock pot has a special taste that can't be described. Make sure you use one made with crockery to et that flavour! When you use it too, most recipes that aren't designed for the crock pot may need a little less liquid and spice because the lid will be on all day and you won't lose the juices the way you would in an over on on the stovetop.

Most people who claim they don't have time to cook decent meals during the week have one of these babies in the back of the kitchen cupboard. Haul it out and give it another chance!

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