As I was browsing the internet a few days ago, I came across a cooking forum where one post had a comment about how this person never used their crock pot because of the dissociation with their food. They "would never put all the ingredients in the crock pot, walk away for 6 hours, and expect it to turn out just the way they wanted it to."
Honestly, at first I was really upset. I was frustrated, perhaps even angry. I love to cook and do not find my slow cooker to be an object of estrangement in my kitchen. My thoughts lashed out – this person must not have any children, they must not work, they must have all the time in the world to spend hours preparing dinner each and every night. Personally, I am so accustomed to creating extremely tasty quick and easy meals, I almost consider myself spoiled; I do not ever spend more than 20 minutes preparing dinner.
Then, I began to let go of my frustrations. Perhaps this person was not enlightened to what a slow cooker could really do, and the amazing benefits it offers. When I was growing up, the only things I remember eating from a crock pot were chili, pot roasts, and pork chops. I was astounded when my aunt at a family reunion put baked potatoes in the slow cooker, unaware at that time of the endless possibilities.
Just recently, I realized how much I dislike preparing dinner. However with my crock pot, there's little to no preparation immediately before eating and that's what I love the most! During the week, we as parents are trying to help kids with homework, occupy toddlers, and feed babies; we do not have the luxury of a lengthy dinner preparation (and those who have deal with hungry cranky kids know what I'm talking about). Even for those childless adults, the last thing you want to do after a long day at work is spend hours creating dinner. Crawl back into the depths of your kitchen cupboard and dust off your crock pot.
Now do not assume that you're going to be eating pork chops and pot roasts every day. How does Italian Chicken Parmesan sound? How about Hungarian Goulash or Burgundy Stew with Dumplings? Or my personal crock pot favorite, lasagna? (I hate all that preparation and then another hour of baking time for traditional lasagna!) Even Mushrooms and Wild Rice or Peanut Butter Fudge Cake! The possibilities are limitless, from Chicken Parisienne, to Beef Roast with Crimini Mushroom Sauce, to Chicken Cordon Bleu.
So ignore those who leave posts criticizing us crock pot chefs. In my opinion, we're enjoying numerous benefits that they will never understand because it is possible to have a healthy, tasty, excellent meal without endless preparation prior to dinnertime. Give me 10-15 minutes each morning, and I'll give you a wonderful meal as soon as you walk through your door. It's almost like having your own personal chef!