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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » My Crockpot's "First Time" (Page 2)

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Author Topic: My Crockpot's "First Time"
jeniwren
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Uprooted, I'm a wimp about too much spice too, so I use mild Rotel tomatoes and mild salsa. That makes it just spicy enough to be interesting, not bland, but not so much that I can't eat it. This recipe is such a staple in our house that I keep all the ingredients on hand just in case I can't think of anythign else to fix. We have it at least once a month, and it lasts for a couple of nights.

I've cooked a number of potroasts in my crockpot, and it's true, you can't really screw it up. I used to thaw and brown my potroast first (we get our beef on the hoof and freeze it -- lasts us about a year), but now I just peel the wrappings off and throw it in frozen. I line the bottom with peeled and quartered potatoes, chopped carrots and onions, put the potroast on top, and cover it with two cans of cream of mushroom soup and a packet of Lipton onion soup mix. It always comes out fab.

I've made meatloaf in my crockpot a couple of times, but admit that I don't really like it that way. I don't like how it has to sit in the fat that is cooked out. I bake meatloaf on a cooling rack set on top of a baking pan so the fat drips away from the meat. (I got that idea from Alton Brown. Thank you, CT! [Smile] )

I have three cookbooks I use the most -- two of them are crockpot cookbooks. The Fix-it and Forget-it books are packed with recipes, often multiple variations on the same food, and all the recipes I've tried have been pretty good. The Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe above comes from one of the Fix-It and Forget-it cookbooks, though I've altered it a bit to suit my tastes.

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Nato
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Make spicy meatwiches:

*Meat (I usually use a round steak, but you can use whatever crock-friendly meat you want)
*Half an onion, sliced
*Half a jar of pepperoncinis
*1 bullion cube
*beer


Cook all of it together in the crock until the meat is falling apart and then serve on hoagies or "outdoor rolls"

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Alcon
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Totally off topic... but am I the only one who keeps reading this thread title as "My Crackpot's First Time" and getting really confused/doing a double take?
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Tatiana
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LOL! This thread makes me so hungry. It makes me want to cook. That never happens! [Smile]

I totally don't need one of these. It'll just sit unused on my counter. Why are y'all tempting me so much? [Smile]

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Uprooted
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Isn't it obvious, Tatiana? We are just evil! [Evil Laugh]
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Tatiana
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Ah, that explains it. [Smile]
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Wendybird
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I'm not sure what size mine is - I have two [Big Grin] They both are the big size, I cook roasts in them all the time. I love my crockpots. and my crackpots [Wink]
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Jhai
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Does anyone have a suggestion for a relatively cheap crockpot for Abhi & I to buy? Brand, size, etc?

Our apartment's kitchen isn't very big, and there's typically just two of us for a meal, so we don't need a very large pot. But, on the other hand, we're both lazy about cooking, so lots of leftovers are good. I've wanted a crockpot for the past few years - with graduate school starting, being able to cook easy meals that are done when I finally get home is looking like a better and better idea.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
Does anyone have a suggestion for a relatively cheap crockpot for Abhi & I to buy? Brand, size, etc?

Keep an eye on the weekly flier from your local Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc. They have them on sale fairly frequently. IME, brand name makes very little difference with the "plain vanilla" versions, and only matters with the souped up models. [Wink]

The ones smaller than 3.5-4 qt are kinda small -- mostly good for dips or to feed one person. If you really hate leftovers, you can try one of the 1.5-2 qt pots. They generally don't have variable temperature, though. I have this one (although I paid less than that), and it's fine for when I'm just cooking chicken wings, or soup, but not useful for a whole meal.

The 2.5 qt ones might be ok. They are temp-adjustable. But still rather small.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
Does anyone have a suggestion for a relatively cheap crockpot for Abhi & I to buy? Brand, size, etc?

Target was selling Rival crock pots last week for pretty cheap. I got a 5.5 quart for $19.99. I just checked and they're selling 4 quart Rival pots for $19.99 now.
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rivka
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Yeah, but you should be able to get a non-brand 4-qt for $15. And as I said, I've found no difference between Rival and others for the simple models.
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erosomniac
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Meh, I didn't really bother researching. I saw one big enough for my needs for $20 and it was the cheapest at the store I was at, and by that point it would have cost more than $5 in savings for me to spend any more time or gas money looking for something else. [Smile]
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rivka
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The 5.5 qt for $20 was a good deal. The same price for a 4 qt, not so much.

I also understand getting something because you're there. [Smile] But I was primarily trying to answer Jhai, who IS currently during research. Neh?

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Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by brojack17:
eros,

ewwww

Maybe he really meant he had a special spice, you're the one that made it dirty. [Razz]
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erosomniac
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No, I'm pretty sure he got it right.

rivka: word.

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Jhai
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Thanks for the advice, guys. Guess I'll be going for the off-brand pots of about 5-6 quarts next time I'm at a large department-type store. [Smile]
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Squish
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The 5.5 quart crock pot even came with a baby one! It's so cute. Almost decorative-looking....
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rivka
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The bitty one is meant for potpourri, but I found it more useful for dips (back when I had one) or for ingredients only one person wanted to add to the main dish.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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quote:
but I found it more useful for dips (back when I had one)
Question, where did he go? How did you get rid of him?
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rivka
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The big dip got the little dip-maker in the divorce. [Razz]
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Kwea
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I just bought a 6qt one for us this Christmas. Yeah.

It was about $29.99, and the lid is hinged for serving applications, and it locks for travel.

I can't wait to use it tomorrow. [Smile]

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ketchupqueen
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I got another 5.5 qt. recently and it came with a little one but it wasn't marked for potpourri, it said specifically "for dips and sauces." [Smile]
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Kwea
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JCPenney has them for about $19.99 to $39.99, depending on how big you want and what features.
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ketchupqueen
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That's the same price range as Target, although they go on sale there for $5-$10 off occasionally. I like the SmartPot (the one I just got and one of the others I had) but the one I REALLY like best is the SmartPot with Countdown-- you can set it in 1/2 hour increments and it turns itself to warm and beeps when the time is up, so you can set it when you leave and it will surn the heat down to warm and finish cooking/keep the food warm until you get home. Awesome.
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Synesthesia
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I have been making pot roast with mine.
They turned out not so bad.
I also made some sort of beery stew, which was a mistake as I seem to be allergic to beer due to IBS.

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Kwea
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Though I would bump this, as I just moved and plan on cooking a lot of crock-pot meals in the near future.


Anyone have any good ones left?

[ October 11, 2008, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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rivka
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Tried all dozen or so suggestions in this thread already? [Wink]
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sarcasticmuppet
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I love making a good simple chicken soup in my crock pot: I find the cheapest chicken I can find (sometimes it ends up being turkey legs or something) and just throw it in with some big carrot chunks, onion, garlic, a few peppercorns, and just enough water to cover it all up. Set it to low and go to bed. The next morning set it to high and go to work. Come back, drain everything, add new chicken and veggies and noodles. Mmmmm...
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dkw
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I've been working my way through this blog..

She made a new year's resolution to cook something in the crockpot every day in 2008. Pictures and recipes for each day posted. [Smile]

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dkw
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My other latest crockpot use -- I've been buying up chicken when it's on sale and throwing it in the crockpot overnight with some herbs & spices -- no water needed. In the moring I pull the chicken off the bones, dice and freeze it for future use, refrigerate the liquid that's cooked out until the fat hardens, scrape it off and freeze the broth. (Or eat either the chicken or broth or both for lunch that day, of course, but I bought a bunch at once and was cooking them all up to freeze.) My crockpot was going 24 hours/day for awhile, processing chicken overnight and then when I took the chicken out in the morning I'd put in something else for lunch or dinner that day.
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Uprooted
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There's a win a free crockpot contest on the blog site dkw linked to -- post before tomorrow at 5pm Pacific time to enter.
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Kwea
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Not yet, but i have modified a few. What I like about this is it gets me thinking. Even if I don't try exactly what someone recommends, I usually end up trying something similar. [Smile]


I bought a great crock pot, and I used it a few times for stews, and three times for chili. I also made a chicken dish that was great, but I threw it together on the fly and don't remember what was in it. [Frown]

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Katarain
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My crock pot still hasn't been used. *sigh*

We were thinking about making chili in it this weekend, though.

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Noemon
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Every time I see this thread, I think for a second that its title is "Mr. Crockpot's First Time".
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aretee
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I'm trying that Chicken tortilla soup right now. I just found this thread (I lurk every once and a while) and it sounded too good to wait. I don't have any rotel tomatoes, though. I'll have to spice it up some other way. I've figure it out.

Edit: I used a jar of some homemade salsa I made that is too HOT to eat with chips...I used it instead of the rotel. I figure that will add the chiles (I didn't have those either) and I think all soup needs onion and the salsa has onion, too. I added the Black Beans and corn. I'm cooking it on high, instead of low hoping it'll be done by 8pm tonight...in time for my 2nd supper. [Smile]

[ October 12, 2008, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: aretee ]

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Uprooted
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OK, I tried the Fiesta Chicken recipe today. Am I doing something wrong? Here were my results: Flavor was bland (to improve that I'd try chicken broth instead of water), the chicken was dry (maybe boneless thighs instead of or mixed with breast meat) and the rice came out totally mushy on the bottom and still crunchy in the middle part. Don't know what to do about that. Other than not use frozen meat as the recipe says you can, because it was the rice mixed in the meat layer that didn't get done all the way (even though it was covered wih liquid).

I cooked it for 4 hours on low and 2+ hours on high. 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, one 15.5 oz jar mild salsa and 2 jars water, 2 lb. chicken. I used a can of corn added toward the end instead of the frozen corn. Any thoughts? Perhaps I need a newer crockpot that cooks more evenly?

[edited to add link]

[ October 12, 2008, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: Uprooted ]

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aretee
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I was reading through the thread looking for the Fiesta Chicken recipe and I can't find it. Is it page one or two? I'm brain farting today.

Edit: I found it...it was a link to another site.

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rivka
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Fiesta chicken works best with brown rice, although long-grain white works ok. Usually, anyway. I've never had a problem with it not cooking evenly, or with the frozen chicken pieces not cooking through.

Did you use a whole chicken, not a cut up one? And it sounds like you didn't stir in the liquid at all. (Note to self: recipe doesn't suggest that. Maybe edit. Although it's not really a necessary step . . .)

I usually use frozen boneless thighs, but I have used a frozen chicken cut in eighths, and it came out fine. I never used canned vegetables (ugh! +salt -vitamins -flavor), but that shouldn't make much difference.

I suggest stronger salsa (if you found mild too bland), brown rice, cut up chicken, and sticking with a longer time at low, instead of going to high.

Or a better crockpot. [Wink]

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Uprooted
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Thanks, I'd prefer brown rice anyway. I used boneless skinless chicken breast pieces. Nope, I didn't stir, it didn't seem necessary -- the chicken cooked fine, but it was the rice up higher in the crock that didn't cook, so I was thinking that it was at a lower temp for part of the cooking time due to being closer to the frozen chicken. The rice at the bottom of the pot cooked to a solid mush.

I would've preferred the frozen corn too, but there wasn't any in the house, and I did have canned, so I just used that drained.

I'll probably give it another go sometime w/ thighs and brown rice. I imagine that the dark meat would probably make a difference in the blandness as well (it wasn't that I wanted it spicier, mild is fine w/ me, it just lacked something in the flavor dept. It seemed almost watery to me.) Thanks for the tips!

And I still need to try that garbanzo beans/sausage one. Quinoa has become a good friend since I asked about it on the first page!

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scholarette
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Tonight we had pea soup from the crockpot. It was pretty good- carrots, onions, bag of peas, 2 cans of chicken broth, 4 cups water, leftover ham and some spices. I also have a little crockpot but I haven't ever used it. I am not a big dip person.
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ketchupqueen
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My dad is bringing us an eye of round roast (buy one get one free and they only need one.) Yum, that's destined for the crockpot for sure!
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Uprooted:
I used boneless skinless chicken breast pieces.

Ah, that's probably going to be both dry and bland. [Wink]

I've used bone-and-skin-in white meat in that recipe, but never skinless-boneless white meat alone. The recipe has no other fat, so using skinned and deboned white meat all by itself would definitely need SOMETHING else added. And watery would be helped by having brown rice, probably.

And I had quinoa tonight. [Smile] With chicken cooked in the crockpot, actually.

Edit: Ok, comments added to the recipe.

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Tante Shvester
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I bought a little (1.5 qt) crockpot for work. Every night, at the beginning of my shift, I put the stuff in the pot and turn it on. A few hours later, when I'm ready to eat, the food is all ready. Tonight I have brown rice with flax seeds, edamame, mixed vegetables and Chik'n (meatless, pseudo-chicken), spiced up with curry powder, mustard seed, ginger and cayenne.

Sometimes I just toss in a can of diced tomatoes, cut up eggplant, spices and some raw whole grain pasta (to soak up the extra soupiness), and when it is all cooked up, sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese -- Eggplant Parmesan!

When I make rice in the crockpot, it doesn't come out fluffy; it's always sticky or creamy, but since I will only eat rice if it is brown and creamy or sticky, this is not a problem for me. If you are a fan of the fluffy white rice, best to make it separate from whatever you are cooking in the crockpot, and serve the crockpot food alongside of, or on top of, the separately cooked rice.

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Uprooted
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quote:
Originally posted by Tante Shvester:

When I make rice in the crockpot, it doesn't come out fluffy; it's always sticky or creamy, but since I will only eat rice if it is brown and creamy or sticky, this is not a problem for me. If you are a fan of the fluffy white rice, best to make it separate from whatever you are cooking in the crockpot, and serve the crockpot food alongside of, or on top of, the separately cooked rice.

Good to know, thanks. And that eggplant recipe is definitely on the "to try" list -- I love eggplant parmesan but have never felt like trying to make it, I just let the restaurants do that for me. This sounds just low-maintenance enough for me!

And rivka, thanks for the updated notes in recipe and feedback to me. I appreciate it! I'll let you know how we like it with the revisions.

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TomDavidson
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Christy and I made a chicken tortilla soup the other day. It was blissful. *happy sigh*
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Uprooted
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I guess I'm on a crockpot kick recently, so I can't seem to leave this thread alone.

I made this coconut chicken curry yesterday.

Really good. The Year of Crockpotting blog says Rachael Ray developed the recipe for her, and the RR website says "courtesy of Stephanie O'Dea."

Rachael's website says to use mango chutney, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro and green onions as garnish, which wasn't on Stephanie's site. I found that the peanuts and cilantro added a lot of flavor and texture to the dish. And it's better the second day.

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Kwea
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I made a GREAT Italian Pot Roast yesterday, and got the best compliment I my cooking has ever gotten from my wife. My wife is a bit of a picky eater, and her family usually has very plain recipes for main meals. She will spice her cooking up with spices, but there isn't a ton of variety.

My mom always made a large variety of home cooked meals. Not really spicy, but I swear she could cook something different for two weeks straight without breaking a sweat.


I cook well, and my wife bakes well. We can both do both, but there is no doubt that she is far better than me at baking, and I usually have more success with cooking.

So when Jenni said to me after her first bite "Oh my God...this is the best pot roast I have ever head! I wouldn't change a single thing about this dinner!" I was very happy. [Smile]

I started with a 2 1/2 - 3 pound roast...I think I used chuck....and I used some of my special seasoning/rub with it. The rub has kosher salt, crushed black pepper, oregano, basil and rosemary.
(it's called Miracle Blend from Alden Mills in MI, one of my all time favorite blends/rubs) I cut up about 3 lbs of potatoes into pieces about the size of two of my thumbs, leaving the skins on. I used Russets. I took a small package of baby carrots and used the entire package. I cut up about 3 celery hearts and placed them on the bottom of the crock pot first. I would usually have cut up a medium sized onion as well, but I forgot to buy one so I used about a tablespoon of onion powder instead.

I placed the celery down, then the roast with the rub on it. I placed the carrots and potatoes on the side. Then I took a bottle of Italian Salad Dressing and covered just the top of the roast, with one small squirt on the sides as well.

I added some water, probably about half a cup. Then I covered and put the crock pot on high. I cooked it on high for about 6 hours, without ever removing the top.

It fell apart when I picked it up out of the pot, and the carrots in particular picked up so much flavor it was amazing. The potatoes were tender, and offset the flavor of the carrots perfectly.

I will be making this one again fairly soon, and it will probably become a staple at my house.

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TH
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Oh geez, you guys, you're making me hungry.

No kidding. [Roll Eyes]

My mother's crockpot is her best friend... pork roast all the way. A handful of baby onions makes it even more superb.

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dkw
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I made roasted butternut squash coconut curry soup in the crockpot on Thursday.

It was awesome. [Smile]

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Kwea
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I have never tried meatloaf in a crock pot but I might try it later this week. I bought 5 lbs of beef this week to make one, but I don't know if I will do it in the crock pot.
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