My wife and I have had a crockpot since the day we were married. In fact, I think we might have been given a couple of them as wedding gifts. The only way we’ve used that crockpot, though, is to make my twice-cooked chili (chili’s best if you cook it once, let it set overnight, and then heat it back up — the flavors have time to blend and settle).
In the past week, that’s all changed.
For I have discovered the miracle that is the crockpot.
As you probably know, I’ve gained all the weight I lost over the summer back, and maybe a wee bit more (so I guess not everything about middle age is wonderful). But while I’m serious about losing the weight I need to have a great racing season, I don’t want to do it by eating nothing but celery.
So, last Monday morning, while puzzling over how to eat right without being miserable, I thought about the crockpot. In the mood to experiment, I got out a half-dozen chicken breasts (uncooked) and put them in the crockpot, dumped in a jar of salsa (mild, because if it worked I wanted my wife to like it too), added a little chicken broth, chopped in an onion and a couple green peppers, and turned the crockpot on to low.
Then I went to work.
When I got home, I found that my wife had had the idea of getting out our rice cooker (I’m a big fan of the Zojirushi) and making a batch of brown rice to go with the experiment.
The chicken shredded on contact, making a gumbo that went over the rice nicely. On top of this I added a little fat-free sour cream (how is this possible?) and a dozen shakes of tobasco (for my bowl only).
It was delicious. I mean, really, really delicious. And as far as I can tell, we were being seriously calorie and fat conscious too.
So I tried another crockpot experiment. This time, I poured ready-made spaghetti sauce over the chicken breasts in the crockpot, chopped in an onion, and threw in a can of sliced olives.
Then we let it cook for eight hours.
Again, delicious (though if I were stack ranking, the salsa-chicken was better).
So I now have this theory that you can throw chicken and pretty much any kind of liquid you like into a crockpot, add an onion and the vegetables you like, leave it alone for the day (or overnight), make some brown rice to go with it (seriously, get a rice cooker to make brown rice; it’s so much easier), and it will come out perfect.
Tonight, we’re grilling teriyaki salmon, but tomorrow I’ve got this notion that I can do a good sloppy-joe-style barbecue chicken in the crockpot: chicken, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, onion, olives, celery, green peppers, liquid smoke, a little bit of honey.
I tell you what: the crockpot may be the best cooking tool a cyclist could ever imagine.
Next up? I’m trying to figure out how I could do a good low/no-fat chicken curry. Or some kind of teriyaki chicken.
Has anyone else discovered the magic of crockpottery? What do you make? (Easy, low-fat recipes only, natch.)