Slow Cooker Days

Today, the last day of January, there is a light dusting of snow on the ground. In light of the fact that tomorrow is Groundhog Day, and that a warm spell is predicted, today is a good day to use my slow cooker. I never use it in the warm weather. There is something about the stews, soups, chili and roasts that are so delectable in the winter. It is an unspoken rule: we don’t grill in the winter nor use the crock pot in the summer.

Since September, I have discovered that I really like cooking. Previously, my husband had prepared most of our dinners, often working magic with available ingredients off the top of his head. Now it is almost the other way around. I am making about 70% of our dinners, not including take-out night.

Unlike him, I almost always follow a recipe; however,  I am adventurous about trying new ones. I plan ahead and buy the ingredients so I am not scrambling at dinner time. Lately, I have become more creative at changing things up, making recipe substitutions using products we already have.

Some things don’t come out as well as they looked in the magazine, while others have made their way onto the list of repeats (ones that can be made every month). When I try a new meal, I always make sure I have something that can be used as a backup if my kids are feeling too picky.  Lately they have been much more complimentary of my meals. Maybe they look a little strange, like last night’s Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry; but no one had any left on their plate. There was no need to reheat the retaurant leftovers from the  night before.

Today, I am going to sear my boneless turkey breast, throw it in the crockpot with onions, peppers, sausage and diced tomatoes and let my slow-cooker work it’s tender magic all day. By the evening, our house should be full of the juicy aromas of garlic, oregano and turkey- calling everyone to dinner and some slow-cooked Jambalaya.

The sun is already shining, melting the coating of snow away. It is supposed to be in the 40’s later and up to 50 by Wednesday. I better do this now, before it is time to put the crock pot away for the season.

         

Mmm. I can’t wait `til it’s done!

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