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Sir Sly Ry
06-29-2015, 03:06 PM
So I think I need to start utilizing a slow cooker. Like...a LOT. Cooking and cleanup always seems like an ordeal.

1) Any recommendations on a slow cooker brand? I know Crock Pot is obvious but I'm sure it's not necessary. And how about slow cooker size? I'll be making meals just for myself but I want to have stockpiles of leftovers so I only have to cook two, maybe three times a week max. I hate cooking. How much should I spend on a slow cooker?

2) How much prep time are we talking here? Since I have very little experience, and I'm slooooooowwwwwwwwww at prepping, I want to start simple. Maybe when I get better at cutting food up I can branch out more.

I'm so helpless. But slow cooker seems the way to go for a bachelor that wants to save some cash, and by god, save on cooking/cleanup time. Did I mention I'm awful at multitasking?

Falselogic
06-29-2015, 03:16 PM
moved thread to the food subforum

pointzeroeight
06-29-2015, 04:03 PM
I have a crock pot and it's great. I have a... 6 qt? maybe? and with me and my girlfriend, depending on the dish, we always have at least 2 servings each. For one person that'll be great!

Prep is usually just chop shit up and throw it in. Sometimes you'll want to sautee onions or something before throwing them in, but rarely ever anything more complicated than that.

Sir Sly Ry
06-29-2015, 04:06 PM
I put this in the creating subforum didn't I? Sorry.

Though we are talking about creating dinner....

Anyway, ok! 6 quart makes four servings? That might be nice. Sounds like I have the right idea. What are a couple of your favorite things to make in your crock pot?

pointzeroeight
06-29-2015, 04:10 PM
Stews and chilis are the easiest. Open a bunch of cans (for maximum lazy), dump them all in, come back a few hours later and eat it.

We've been trying to avoid canned beans, so since we don't actually have a pressure cooker, we've been cooking dried beans in the slow cooker. Takes longer, but they still turn out good. Easy to do a large batch and we're set for a while.

I think it's a 6 qt, I could be wrong though. I got it as a gift, and I honestly have no idea how big a quart is. I've also got a smaller one that's good for sauces and single serving meals. That one doesn't see too much use right now.

Kairu
06-29-2015, 04:35 PM
One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is french onion soup.

Get a bunch of onions and slice them (a mandolin helps with this immensely), throw in pot with some salt and a bit olive oil, mix to coat.

Let reduce down to a dark, rich, flavorful almost onion jam like concentrate. I typically let it cook all day, maybe 8 to 12 hours. You could even opt for over night.

Once it's reduced to your liking add beef broth and let simmer for a bit to integrate. I usually opt for the slightly more expensive stuff in the cardboard boxes rather than the canned or bullion cube varieties.

When serving, you can add extras like croutons or bread (I usually get the cheap fresh french bread from the grocery store) to thicken the soup a bit.

If you really want to go all out you can get some cheese slices to melt on top. I opt for provolone, though gruyere is traditional. Simply ladle some soup into a heat proof bowl, and add a cheese slice on top. Set your oven to broil and then set the bowl on the top rack so the cheese melts and gets a bit caramelized. In a pinch I've microwaved the bowl as well until the cheese gets melty, maybe a minute or so.

Any extra soup you have leftover can be refrigerated or frozen, though some of the fat from the beef broth may separate out it should reintegrate when you heat the soup up.

Adam
06-29-2015, 05:16 PM
Slice up onions.

Put a 4-6 pound pork butt on the onions.

Pour on some vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and a bunch of spices (I usually use salt, pepper, coriander, allspice, rosemary, smoked paprika, dried mustard, and garlic salt)

Cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Shred.

Violentvixen
06-29-2015, 07:35 PM
I have a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker thread. (http://www.talking-time.net/showthread.php?t=10351)

Reinforcements
07-17-2015, 12:02 PM
This isn't the simplest thing, but I love this slow-cooker lamb tagine (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=558120) (originally posted by UUDD) to death.

(I mean, it's right there in that slow-cooker thread but it's good enough to be posted here too, dammit.)

McClain
07-17-2015, 12:34 PM
The best way to learn to cook is to try to cook. I know that sounds stupid but I'm serious. Go find something you want to eat, find a recipe, and try to make it. If you see a description of a prep or cooking term you don't know, look that up. There's youtube videos for EVERYTHING cooking related.

Get a rice cooker with a steamer tray on top. Simplest meals in the world are some kind of grilled meat, brown rice, and steamed veggies.

Go watch some old episodes of Good Eats. Alton Brown is great at not just showing you how to cook, but explains why you do things the way you do it.

As for slow cooking, you can do just about anything in one. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/merry-kuchle/cook-more-this-year-28-ea_b_6409454.html)

BŁge
07-17-2015, 02:34 PM
Budget Bytes (http://www.budgetbytes.com) recipes are fairly idiot proof, since they include pictures of each step.

MCBanjoMike
07-17-2015, 06:35 PM
The only slow-cooker recipe I make regularly is Ricardo's bolognese sauce (http://www.ricardocuisine.com/recipes/3623-slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce). It takes me about an hour to put everything together, then it cooks for 8 hours on low (I sometimes run it overnight). It makes enough sauce for about 10 portions, once you've added pasta, or enough to make a full sized lasagna. There are a few steps to preparing it, but none of them are more complicated than "chop this thing" or "brown this meat".

(NOTE: "Deglazing" with wine means that you pour a bit of wine into the skillet after emptying everything into the slow cooker, then after a minute you pour the wine into the cooker too. It absorbs a bit of the leftover flavors and takes them along.)

Beefy Hits
07-18-2015, 11:23 AM
I'm single and end up throwing out leftovers a lot. I also do not enjoy cooking.

Bongo Bill
07-18-2015, 08:39 PM
The best thing to make in a slow cooker is stew. There are infinite variations on the stew concept, and slow cookers make them impossible to fuck up. HOW TO DO IT:

Take some meat. Probably beef. It doesn't need to be tender. Don't waste really prime cuts of meat on this; the slow cooking process will break down the connective tissue in the muscle. Cut it into pieces of the desired size. Put them in a plastic bag with about half a cup of flour and shake it all around so they're coated evenly, then sear them in oil in a skillet until they're browned on all sides. Don't need to cook them all the way through, but some seasonings would be good to add at this stage, as well as every other stage.

Put the beef in the cooker. Then cut a bunch of vegetables up into a good size and put those in too. The only one you strictly need is onions, because onions belong in everything. Potatoes are traditional as well. Carrots and cabbage and even tomatoes will also go very nicely in this. Just go nuts. Some diced tomatoes will add a good robust flavor. Mushrooms are good. You don't need to do anything in particular with carrots. If you like beans in your stew, prefer harder beans like navy beans over softer ones like kidney beans.

Here comes the most important part: add a shitload of spices and seasonings. More than you think you need. Don't worry about making it too salty. Garlic is good. Experiment with anything you might have around, give 'em a whiff and see if it reminds you of meat, but a few common choices are: black pepper, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and caraway seed. Spice blends are often sold, and you can trust these to be suitable for the indicated purpose. Stick a bay leaf or two in there, but don't eat them afterward.

Pour some broth or stock corresponding to your chosen meat over the whole mixture until it's submerged. If you want to get advanced, maybe add a can labeled Cream of Something Soup. If this doesn't fill your slow cooker nearly to the brim, your stew is too small and you need to put more things into it.

Assemble the ingredients at night, put the pot in the fridge. In the morning, pull it out and set it on Low heat. When you come home from work, it'll be just about done. Depending on how thick you sliced the potatoes, it's possible it could be done as quickly as 4 hours, but 8 is a good estimate, and it's not like you can overcook it.

Eat it with a fork. Refrigerate leftovers.

pointzeroeight
07-20-2015, 03:55 PM
I'm single and end up throwing out leftovers a lot. I also do not enjoy cooking.

What? Why would you throw out leftovers? This is not a good thing.

MooMoo
07-20-2015, 04:33 PM
So I think I need to start utilizing a slow cooker. Like...a LOT. Cooking and cleanup always seems like an ordeal.

1) Any recommendations on a slow cooker brand? I know Crock Pot is obvious but I'm sure it's not necessary. And how about slow cooker size? I'll be making meals just for myself but I want to have stockpiles of leftovers so I only have to cook two, maybe three times a week max. I hate cooking. How much should I spend on a slow cooker?

2) How much prep time are we talking here? Since I have very little experience, and I'm slooooooowwwwwwwwww at prepping, I want to start simple. Maybe when I get better at cutting food up I can branch out more.

I'm so helpless. But slow cooker seems the way to go for a bachelor that wants to save some cash, and by god, save on cooking/cleanup time. Did I mention I'm awful at multitasking?

Brand wise, I think there's little that can go wrong. I have a supermarket own brand one which cost something like £15 (I guess like $23 or something), and it's super dooper. I think the size is 1.5L? It feeds a fam of 4 anyway.

As I understand it, slow cooker operation is something like:

1) cut up the things, put in pot
2) add the stock and turn on
3) ????
4) deliciousness.

If it helps, in the UK you can get slow cooker packet mixes to do currys and things. Just in case you'd like something a bit more interesting but still CBA. Things I've slow cookererered include: chicken soup, curry, stoo, rice pudding. I'd love some more recipes myself.