Friday, March 4, 2011

The Crock Pot - God's Gift to Mother's Everywhere. Review AND Recipe!

I'm ashamed to admit but I've never owned a Crock Pot. I know, you're probably thinking, "Seriously? What is wrong with you, AP?" But it's true. In my three and a half years of marriage and now motherhood, I've managed to survive sans Crock Pot. Although at times, barely, let's just say it hasn't been easy. Can we still be friends?

When CSNStores contacted me a few weeks ago about doing a product review, I didn't think twice about hopping on that train and ordering up a Crock Pot, mostly because I just love the fine folks there. With a baby that rarely naps, desperate times called for desperate measures. Imagine, yours truly, scrambling every night around 5pm in a wild attempt to have some semblance of dinner cooked and prepared by the time The Husband walked through the door. Not a pretty picture, my friends. Not a pretty picture

CSNStores, I can't thank you enough. I ordered my new best kitchen-friend (move over, Kitchen-Aid!) on Monday at 1pm. By Tuesday, the following day, at 3pm, this beauty was already waiting for me with open arms on my front door. 

The Crock Pot arrived safely packaged and without so much as a scratch. Truth be told, I was so excited about my new addition that I had to call The Husband at work immediately to let him know of it's arrival. Within seconds I had it unpacked and sitting on the counter, ready for action. I already knew that our first Crock Pot meal would be Chicken Salsa. Well, sort of. 

After having used this West Bend Crock Pot for a meal, there are several things that I absolutely love about it. First and foremost? The price. Although I was compensated with a gift card for the review of this product, this Crock Pot is a super affordable $27.71. For a 6-quart crockery? You can't beat that price. Believe me, I did my research!

It has three settings, High - Low - Warm which for this Crock Pot virgin? Seemed absolutely perfect. I guess it's important to note that it also has a 20-hour automatic shut-off. Pretty neat, huh? 

Perhaps the best thing that I love about this Crock Pot is that it's dishwasher safe. Remember, I barely have enough hours in the day to cook a meal, let alone hand wash all of the dishes that it requires. So dishwasher safe? Is a MAJOR plus in my book!

Not to mention the stainless steel shell and stay-cool handles. Keep wowing me, West Bend! I'm hooked!

All in all? I give this Crock Pot five stars! Not to mention the customer service and kind folks at CSNStores. As always, it's been great working with you!

Oh, I'm sure you're wondering how dinner turned out, right? Well, I had all intentions of making a dish called Chicken Salsa that my Sister-in-Law has raved about time and time again. Some chicken? Some salsa? Dumped into a Crock Pot? Stop it. You're kidding right?

Well, if you happen to know me at all, you know I don't like to follow a recipe. Sometimes I like to think I'm Cat Cora in the kitchen and can just throw things together and wha-la! Delicious dinner. Well, that's pretty much what happened. So, what did I make? 

Husband likes to call it "Mexican Pulled Chicken Dinner." Sure, I made most of it up, but it was delicious! And isn't that what truly counts?

What you'll need:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
32 ounces salsa (I used 15 ounces, Medium)
1 bag frozen sweet corn kernels
1 can drained black beans
1 can drained diced tomatoes
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 packet Taco Seasoning
Dash of olive oil

Flour tortillas
Mexican shredded cheese 
Shredded lettuce
Sour Cream 
Hot Sauce

What to do:
Coat the bottom of the crock with a tiny bit of olive oil

Throw in your first seven ingredients. Seriously. Could it be any easier? I threw them into the crock in the order that they are listed. 

The original recipe for Chicken Salsa called for a cook time of 6 hours on LOW. Since I started this dish at 2pm in the afternoon (no judgies!), I checked with my Twitter Friends if it was alright to cook on HIGH for 3 hours. After a resounding yes, that's just what I set out to do. 

I ended up cooking on HIGH for 4 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, I pulled the chicken from the pot, shredded it and then added it back to the pot. Despite draining a lot of the excess liquid in the ingredients, it was a bit soupy for my taste, so I threw in a dash of flour.

When The Husband phoned from the car to let me know he'd be home in 30, I turned the Crock Pot to "WARM" and let it work it's Crock Pottery magic. Seriously, this was basically the easiest dinner I've ever cooked in  my entire life. 

If only The Husband wouldn't mind Crock Pot Dinners every night of the week!  

So, how did I serve this "Mexican Pulled Chicken Dinner?" On Tortillas of course! I guess it was kind of like a Chicken Burrito, only better. Throw in a little cheese, some shredded lettuce, a heaping spoonful of sour cream and hot sauce to your liking! Perfection.

So, Meal Number Uno in the Crock Pot? A raging success! 

So, what are your favorite Crock Pot Meals? I'd LOVE to expand my Crock Pot repertoire! 

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  1. IF you love the crockpot now, you will really love it when you add in crockpot bags. They are plastic bags (they are on the same aisle of the grocery store as trash bags and ziploc bags)--called Crockpot Bags. You put them in your crockpot and then dump in all your ingredients. Cook as usual, and then when it is done, you pull the bag out and throw it away=NO CLEAN UP! :)

  2. I have an obsession with my crockpot!

  3. Nice Mexi meal - thanks for sharing :-) I have a couple of great crock pot recipes to share...

    1st is my award winning winter crock pot bread pudding (yes, bread pudding - as in, amazing dessert):

    And next, a super-yummy BBQ beef brisket (we like it served over baked potatoes):

    Mmm... making me too hungry for it to be morning, ha!

    Enjoy the recipes & your new crockpot!!!

  4. I made Thai Chicken in the crockpot last night! Love that thing. I get it going before I leave for work in the morning and amazingly have dinner when I get home!

    Here is the recipe:
    2-2.5lb Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 C. salsa
    1/4 C. peanut butter
    2 tbs lime juice
    1 tbs soy sauce
    1 tsp minced ginger
    cilantro and peanuts for garnish

    Place chicken in crock pot. Mix salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and ginger together and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or low for 4-5 hours. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts, serve over rice.

  5. So I've never had good luck with the crock pot. I think I just pick the wrong recipes for it, but the one you just shared sounds wonderful. I'll have to try it! Dinner and cooking in general is a major challenge right now.

  6. Girl I cook everything in the crock pot.. I put it all together the night before in the pot then put it in the fridge the next morning I just throw it in turn it on low and by dindin itas all ready to go

    did you know you can even throw frozen things like pork chops in there and by din they are cooked... whooo hoooo

  7. I LOVE this recipe...

    1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
    1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
    1 cup water
    3/4 cup red wine
    3 tablespoons minced garlic
    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Throw all into crock pot except garlic and pepper. Spread garlic on the top of the pork. Sprinkle with pepper and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours (I cooked on high for 2.5). This turns out tender, juicy, and DELISH and is seriously so easy. I served with a pasta and beans (an italian dish - pasta fagioli). Yum yum yummm

  8. Now that you are a crock pot expert we'll have to swap recipes! That one sounds FAB

  9. So, my mom used the crock pot ALL THE TIME when I was a kid and we got one when we got married, but, I was scared of it and didn't use it for THREE YEARS!! I know, totally sad. But. I have changed my ways and now it gets used at least weekly. My go to is pot roast for sure or any type of soup. My favorite thing is that it makes a lot so we have leftover for a few days!

  10. Funny you chose that Crock Pot.. I HATED that one! I sold it at a garage sale and got a new one. For some reason it cooked so HOT, even on low. I would have meals done in 3 hours on low. crazy. Maybe I just got a dud? I talked about pulled pork. Also, we do Italian Beef in the crock pot. My favorite! We do pot roast with veggies, too. You need to get the cookbook, Fix It and Forget It. All crock pot recipes!

  11. We've had a crock pot forever. And by we, I mean hubs. I pulled it out for the first time the other day and it was amazing. My kind of cooking. In fact, I'll be using it today so I can sit on the couch for a while. Shh...

  12. i cant believe youve never owned a crocpot/slow cooker before! honestly, i own 7. yes, 7! i love them. use them every week. i have the 'everyday slowcooker', the 'big mama jama for guests', the '3 server mini pots for parties'.

    have fun with dinners!!

  13. I'm trying to get more use out of our crock pot. I made echilada's out of a similar recipe. Salsa and chicken in the crock pot. Shred chicken, add a little fresh salsa spoon into tortillas with some cheese and lay into a baking pan coated with 1/3 can of enchillada sauce. Pour rest of enchillada sauce on top once they are all in the pan, add cheese and bake 15 minutes. I served with sour cream.

    I love that my crock pot is digital, because I can se the cook time then it will clock down to the warm setting, so it really doesn't matter how long I'm out of the house.

  14. Oh, and the easiest recipe EVER for pulled pork? Throw a pork tenderloin in the crock pot and dump in a 20 oz bottle of root beer. Leave on high for 7 hours. Take pork out, shred and dump out root beer. Put shredded pork and jar of your favorite BBQ suace in the crock pot and put back at high for 30 minutes. SO yummy!

  15. i totally just zoomed in on your picture... are those garlic cloves hanging from your cupboards? is this some trick that i need to know about???

    and not for a selfish plug for my blog but this is the only thing i make in the crockpot b/c putting raw meat into it has a tendency to freak me out a bit... but this soup is delish!

  16. I have been thinking about a crock pot....maybe we need to invest in one. Hmmm. Would you feel safe leaving it on if you were not home?

  17. I have that same crockpot!

    I made a beer-braised beef recipe last week that is posted on my most recent Menu Monday that my husband declared was "freaking awesome." Its served over mashed potatoes!

  18. Uhhh, YUM! Cracked a grin at your revised version of the recipe, that sounds like exactly what I do to (once simple) recipes! I'll definitely try your version this week.

    My favorite CP recipe isn't very specific because I'm an improv artist in the kitchen like you, BUT-- I doubt this will bother you since you'll change it up anyway : )

    • 2 lbs beef stew chunks
    • 4 cups or so of beef stew
    • soy sauce
    • a spoonful or two of tomato paste
    • a sprinkling of dried chipotle flakes & plenty of black pepper, too
    • small red potatoes, halved or quartered
    • a chopped onion
    • about 4 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
    • celery, if you have any
    • a couple handfuls of baby spinach, added in the last ten minutes

    I think my crockpot runs kind of cold, because I have to cook this all day on high for the beef to bet tender. But it sure is awesome once it's done!

  19. crock dinners are the best- throw everything in and simply walk away- who could ask for more? I used to follow a blog called 365 crock pot or something? I obviously havent looked at it in forever, but it was great- also I have a cookbook thats all crockpot recipes- AMAZING when Im in a hurry.

  20. I have a great recipe for chai tea. I'll have to e-mail it to you!

  21. That recipe sounds delicious - will have to try it! My husband had an ancient crockput from before we met that I never used. I'm the world's worst cook (the sign in my kitchen says 'I'm making dinner as fast as i can dial' and when the bambino arrived, it only got worse. But I asked and got a new crockpot for Christmas, which I have used a few times, but none of the recipes knocked my socks off. I definitely want to try your recipe - someone told me I'd be better off trying recipes that people have used as opposed to the cookbook!

  22. LOVE my crockpot. I use it all the time... My favorite recipe is SO super easy. Pork loin, 1 cup Mojo, 1 cup water, garlic to taste, and chopped onion to taste. SO yummy. I serve it with black beans and rice, with a side of plantains. Mmmmm... Tried this recipe you posted last night. I was really bummed that I forgot to add the taco seasoning, and I chose not to mix sour cream into it, just added it later. Also, I threw some fast cook rice in at the last minute and it did a good job soakin' up all the moisture. It was really yummy though!!!!


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