Saturday, September 10, 2011

I declare this...the SEMESTER OF THE CROCK POT!

Now that the school year is off and running, I made a vow to myself to get more organized in the area of dinner planning. My roommate gets home at 3:30, and I don't get home until almost seven two nights a week, and after NINE on two others. It's wrong to make Cyd figure out what's for dinner every day, just because she gets home earlier. So I promised her that I would be better about planning, and about putting together some make-ahead casseroles and crock pot meals. Lots of busy working folks must have been having similar ideas, because right about the time I was thinking about this, the Crock Pot Girls phenomenon EXPLODED on Facebook! Kismet, I say, and I declare this: the SEMESTER OF CROCKING!

The first hurdle was to get my hands on a slow cooker. I have been in the market for a new crock pot (mainly because I can't find mine since the move, plus, it's smallish anyway). I didn't want a new one; they are made differently now--for "safety" reasons--and cook too HOT. I have been looking for "vintage" models on ebay, but the shipping made the cost ridiculous. Just when I was giving up hope, the neighbors kitty-corner from me had a huge, multi-family yard sale last (Labor Day) weekend. And wouldn't you know--they had the EXACT one I wanted (cornflower blue pattern from the 80's--you know it, you love it) for THREE BUCKS!

The story gets better, too! (I know--hard to believe.) So when I was paying for the crock pot, my neighbor's mother (I'm guessing) said she had the exact same one at home, but she forgot to bring it to the sale. I asked if she intended on selling it, and she said yes. So I pre-paid an additional three bucks for a second pot, and now I have a matching set! FOR SIX BUCKS! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! I WIN!

I have been enjoying reading the Crock Pot Girls page (though the fact that the recipes aren't searchable is MADDENING), and I like their weekly "Crock Pot Monday" event. I tried to play along the first Monday they did it, and I made the featured recipe--Teriyaki Chicken--but it was AWFUL! The flavors were okay, but the vegetables had cooked to mush and the chicken breasts were very dry. Though the recipe called for 8-10 hours on low, by eight hours, mine was a big old mess. I advised another friend who was making it later in the week to start checking between 5-6 hours, and she said that six hours was enough.

Nevertheless, it was a disappointing and inauspicious beginning to the SEMESTER OF CROCKING. But in rooting through the Crock Pot Girls' page, I ran across a pork chop recipe that spoke to me. I made a few twists to the original dish, but it turned out great--CROCK POT SUCCESS! This one is going in the rotation this semester. You should try it, too!

Garlicky Pork Chops and Potatoes in Mustard Sauce

6 pork loin chops
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
6 medium potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground celery
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Season the pork chops with a little salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. In a large skillet, brown the pork chops in oil. Drain fat.

In the bottom of at least a five-quart crock pot, place the potatoes and onions (seasoned and mixed with a little salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of minced garlic), then put the browned chops on top of that. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soup, broth, mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic powder, ground celery, and pepper. Pour some of the mustard sauce over both layers of chops. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.


Carroll said...

I haven't had a lot of time to check out the recipes, but I discovered a website devoted to crock pot recipes!

This is also on FaceBook but the recipes seem to all be on the website.

Carroll said...

OOPS, my (spoiled brat) cat leaped on the keyboard and posted the first comment for me (anonymously - Diva didn't want to leave her name). Please feel free to delete it. :)

Just the Right Size said...

Ahem, Miss Thing...I have a hard time finding recipes on your blog too! *wink wink*

I have that exact crock pot too, LURV it! Happy crocking!

JoyBugaloo said...

But there's a search function at least--a crappy one, but still!