let's get crafty
I’d always avoided the idea of Crock-Pots. To me, all they produced were limp noodle casseroles and mystery dishes I’d steer clear of at potlucks. My co-worker, though, started talking about some of the things she cooked in hers, things like chilis and soups, and I got curious. My work schedule leaves me getting home after six. At that point, cooking dinner means not eating until after seven, when I’m already worn out. Dinner plus dishes, and it’s suddenly time for bed. A slow cooker, though, would allow me the convienence of throwing some things in in the morning and arriving home to a steamy hot dinner–particularly enticing in the midst of a winter that just won’t let up.
So when I saw a combo rice-cooker/steamer/slow cooker for a very affordable price, I couldn’t help but give it a try. My first dish was a Vegetable Curry, seasoned with plenty of cumin and curry powder, thickened with tapioca pearls, and rich in chickpeas and colorful veggies. After that I was hooked. I’ve only had it a month, and already my husband and I have made Pulled Pork, Lime Cilantro Chicken, Beer Stew, Split Pea Soup, and a Corn and Black Bean Soup. Come on, I mean, Pulled Pork?! It’s a favorite of mine to order in restauraunts, but I never dreamed I’d be able to make and eat it in the comfort of my own home. Not only do the dishes seem to come out just right, we end up with leftovers for days.
One caveat to all of this celebrating. A benefit of cooking dinner each night is that, as long as my husband doesn’t have class, we tend to try and eat together, family-style. It’s an important time for us to connect and unwind. With all of these leftovers, and a “Keep Warm” function that allows us to have warm food on hand for hours, it’s much easier to grab food when each of us are hungry, rather than waiting to eat together. We’re still early in this mini-revolution of our cooking habits, so we’ll see how that shift continues to play out. Until then, onto our next dish: Sweet Potato Lentil Soup!