rock your crock

I love my crock pot. Like, really, really love it.

Of all my kitchen appliances, it’s my favorite. It’s a lifesaver on busy week days, sparing me a lot of time and effort when I get home from work and am too pooped to make dinner.

 Pictured: Crock Pot Whole Herb Chicken

Pictured: Crock Pot Whole Herb Chicken

While I know I’m not alone in my love for the crock, some people aren’t slow cooker fans. In fact, one of my friends got one as a wedding gift years ago, but has never used it. Whether she’s intimidated by it or ate too many bowls of goulash as a kid, I’m not sure. But she needs to give it a whirl. Stat.

Here are 5 reasons love your slow cooker:

1) Slow food tastes better.

There, I said it. Food that’s cooked for hours and hours just tastes better. Spices and seasonings blend and meld in a way you can’t replicate in 20 minutes on the stove. Meats stay juicy and tender. Slow cooking tastes different (better) than fast-cooked meals. It’s a fact.

2) It’s virtually fool-proof.

Have you ever made risotto or souffle? No? Me neither. Know why? Because they’re putzy and full of drama. Will it turn out? Will it fail? Keep stirring! Adjust the heat! Shhh! No loud noises or it could fall. Any recipe that requires babysitting a saucepan or tiptoeing around the house isn’t practical. Crock pot recipes aren’t fussy. Pop everything in your crock and walk away.

3) Clean up = a breeze.

When my husband cooks (God bless him), he tends to use every pot, pan and utensil. A relatively new cook, he loves the experience of cooking, cranking music, pouring wine and using all available burners on the stove. It’s adorable. But it’s not quite how I operate. Sure, I’ll pour some wine, but I know I’ve got to clean up that mess, so I use as few dishes as possible. Crock pot liners, nonstick sprays and foil-lined pans make cleanup easier.

4) Crock pots are crazy versatile.

No, really. They are! If you only use your crock pot for soups and stews, you’re missing out! I recently began pairing my crock pot with my broiler and have opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Start a slab of baby back ribs, a pork roast or chicken wings in the crock pot, then transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet and pop them under the broiler. Viola! Crisp, charred bbq ribs, pork carnitas and buffalo wings! You can even bake in a slow cooker. It’s life changing. Honest.

5) Easy entertaining.

Using a crock pot for entertaining is pure freedom. You’re free to enjoy your guests and the food is hot and ready as people graze. With a crock pot, you can serve from-scratch cooking without being stuck in the kitchen before, during or after your party. Serve guests buffet style and the possibilities are endless. Some of my faves include: walking taco bars, Italian beef sandwich stations and top-your-own chili bars.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Crock pots rock. Period.

Jess Williamson