To Crock Pot Or Not To Crock Pot, That Is The Question... - The Cat's Meow Blog at - 242197

The Cat's Meow

To Crock Pot or Not To Crock Pot, That is The Question... 
Jul. 4, 2011 2:07 pm 
Updated: Jul. 20, 2011 10:00 pm
There are so many wonderful Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Recipes out and about and such a shame so many great culinary masterpieces go untried because of the lack of a Slow Cooker/Crock Pot. Oh, Ye of little faith, you might just have a slow cooker/Crock Pot of which you aren't even aware.

Our mothers, grandmothers and even their grandmothers had slow cookers, and where, you might ask, did they plug theirs into the electricity...they didn't. The only difference, they called their slow cooker/Crock Pot their Dutch Oven. If not a Dutch Oven, then any large oven proof pan with a good fitting lid. How about the large roaster you used for your Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey, it would make a wonderful slow cooker/Crock Pot. When you have wished for a second slow cooker for a large dinner; there sits your Dutch oven and, besides, your oven isn't doing anything today.

If you have a large pan with a well fitting lid, such as a Dutch Oven or a large roasting pan you're set to go. The only prerequisite, it must have a good fitting lid which will hold in the moisture during cooking.  If you are concerned about how well the lid fits, you could before putting the lid on the pan, seal the pan with a layer of foil then placing the lid on your pan.

Slow cooker recipes call for a heat setting of low, medium or high. Using your oven, low would be a setting of around 200*, medium would be around 250*, and a high setting would be around 300*. Make sure any handles or lid knobs can withstand the heat. Usually temperatures below 300* are tolerated well by Dutch Oven handles. If you are concerned about the heats effect on the handles and knob, you can wrap the handles with foil to protect them. 
Preparing one of the many recipes for a Breakfast Casserole is simple with your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker. Follow the recipe and in the evening before going to bed, put your Breakfast Casserole into the oven and when you awake, breakfast is ready.

The first thing is to select a recipe for your culinary masterpiece. Follow the direction as if you were filling your Crock Pot. You might preheat the oven if you wish, but it isn't necessary. Place the pan on the oven rack, select your heat setting and close the door and you're on your way.

The first couple of times you use your Dutch Oven and oven for your Crock Pot, you might want to keep an eye on it to make sure you have a good seal and the temperature of your oven setting is true. Many times oven temperatures can be off and you are cooking at a lower or higher temperature than you have set. After using your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker, you find your food is cooking too quickly or not quickly enough, just adjust the temperature of the oven to achieve the proper heat and time setting. If you do not have an adequate seal on the pan, it will cook dry and possibly burn. Once you have learned the little details of how your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker works,  you won't have to watch it quite so closly, but like a standard slow cooker, removing the cover just extends the cooking time.

The Crock Pot/slow cooker has many advantages and one of those is to be able to prepare a nice dinner for your family with out a lot of bother and heating up the kitchen during these very warm months. To avoid heating up the house during the summer days, start your dinner when you go to bed and in the morning your dinner is ready. Allow it to cool slightly then into the fridge for the day and when it's dinner time, reheat your dinner on the stove and in 5 or 10 minutes a wonderful slow cooked meal is set to go and you get to drag your toe in the sand and very shyly say, "Oh, twern't nothin'. I just fix stuff like this when I don't care what's for supper." And accept the kudos and applause politely. 
Jul. 4, 2011 3:17 pm
Great blog, Kitten. Sometimes we get so caught up in the tech stuff we have come to rely on, we forget that once upon a time these things were done in a much simpler way. Makes me think about a whole lot of other things, too. Thanks for keeping us linked to our roots in this blog. Good job!!
Jul. 4, 2011 3:40 pm
You're just a real firecracker today! And the other 364 days of the year, too! Sa-LUTE!
Jul. 4, 2011 4:01 pm
Thank you Chris and MissMarin for you kind words. And I agree, we have become so technologically brain washed we forget how simple things could be. I don't say return to the old days, but do we have to so totally forget them.
Jul. 5, 2011 6:22 am
That's a good reminder! I've got some good chicken recipes. It will be nice not to heat up the kitchen.
Jul. 5, 2011 8:37 am
You know Kitten - I think the taste is better when I use a dutch oven. There is something about it that just tastes great that you don't get with a slow cooker.
Jul. 5, 2011 11:12 am
HI Nan, Yes, I can also taste the added level of flavor from my Dutch Oven and the reason I use my dutch Oven Slow Cooker much more than I use the Crock Pot. I almmost always flour and brown the meat I am adding to the Slow Cooker because it adds so much flavor and with the Dutch Oven it is so much easier.
Jul. 5, 2011 11:13 am
Hi Chef, Yes, cool is always a good thing. Glad you could stop by.
Jul. 5, 2011 12:33 pm
I often do not comment, but just want you to know that I once again loved your Blog!
Jul. 5, 2011 12:54 pm
Great blog Kitten! Very informative. Thank you so much! :)
Jul. 5, 2011 1:52 pm
Awesome, Kitten! Truly something I've never thought about. Not to mention the fact that so many of our slow-cookers cook higher than they are supposed to anyway.
Jul. 5, 2011 2:42 pm
I have an OLD slow cooker that has the nice heavy crock that never gets too hot. The family I nanny for (just a few years married) has a really 'fancy' new one and it boils everything. Ugh! If mine breaks I think I will replace it at a resale store. Would not buy the newer one until they correct this overheating problem among new models.
Jul. 5, 2011 3:04 pm
Hi Maddy's, I, too have an old original Crock Pot by Rival. It is the awful olive green which was so popular during the '70's. And I do love it so. Thank you for stopping by. Hi Sue, K, and Staci and thank you for the kind words. Something which is so commonplace with one could be a wonderful new invention for another and I do enjoy sharing what little bit I do know. Not much, but most times it serves me well, Glad you stopped by.
Jul. 5, 2011 3:18 pm
I felt like you were talking about me. I don't have a slow cooker, so I skip by the recipes for them. I could never understand the idea. Okay, you've explained it to me and I thank you. You have opened my eyes. I am going to peruse the recipes now for slow cookers and crockpots. My Dutch Oven awaits me.Thank you very much.Your ideas rock.
Jul. 5, 2011 4:20 pm
Hi Rosebud, I am so glad you left a message and the blog was of help for you. Thank you so much for your kind words and let me know how your Slow Cooker Dutch Oven dinner comes out.
Jul. 7, 2011 7:08 am
Great Blog! Useful information and you were very witty with your words!
Jul. 7, 2011 6:45 pm
Thank you Argentina, Now, I'm going to be singing Evita all day.
Jul. 20, 2011 10:00 pm
Thanks Kitten- loved your blog.
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About Me
Well, I'm a Boise, Idaho transplanted native originally from California. I grew up in San Jose until the 4th grade then the folks mover to the Turlock/Delhi area; about 80 miles south os Sacramento. I definitely believe there is still a lot of Californai Girl in me, but I do love Idaho. I am the mother of 2 and grandmother of 3. I like to read, Oh, especially old English Poetry. Lordy, I just melt when I read one of Shakespeare's sonnets or John Donne's poetry and Lord Byron. I enjoy sewing, crocheting, and quilting. I think life is taken way too seriously; sure there are serious things in life, but you still need to laugh. I also wish the world could just be one big "Brady Bunch". I am a hopeless optimist and figure things could be worse. And, I think everyday has the ability to be a good day. If you woke up alive and everyone you care about woke up alive then, it's a good day. Geeze, even a broken clock is right twice.
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy cooking challenging things. Not the every day stuff that you can do blindfolded. And I love to make my dishes look good. I'm not sure I have favorites. During the winter I like to make what I call one pan dinners. Stews, soups and things in large bubbly pans.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family doesn't have any long standing traditions but my husbands family does and I have, with the help of my sainted mother-in-law and sweetheart husband, learned to cook some of them. When his family gets together for the holidays, I love to help my sisters-in-law make the dinner. They are all German Mennonite and I love their traditions. They make dished for the holidays that they made before they came to America. That's cool.
My cooking triumphs
Having my mother-in-law ask me to bring a family favorite to a large family Christmas gathering when everyone else was raised in a German Mennonite commuinty and grew up with the food and I didn't.
My cooking tragedies
Somehow, I always seem to set fire to something during the holidays. It's usually the sweet potatoes either before they go into the oven or the marshmellows when I am going to toast them.
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