Sunday, January 15, 2012

Foray into slow cooking

I love to cook. I’m the kind of person that gets inspired and will spend hours in the kitchen creating meals. Usually my meals come out pretty good and my family is happy. But Pinterest has changed all that. Thanks to Pinterest and my foray into slow cooking, not very many good meals have been coming out of my kitchen lately.

Pinterest has been my latest obsession. I joined after my friend told me about it and didn’t think I would love it as much as I do.

So many recipes, craft ideas, home décor pictures and makeup tutorials to keep me busy for ages!

I stumbled upon a popular pin with a link to a blog that talked all about make ahead crockpot meals. Meaning, I could put everything raw into a bag and then into my freezer and then into my crockpot and be done. So easy! Between school, an almost 4y/o Snuggle Bug and my 18 week pregnant belly, easy sounded good!

So I went to the store and got everything needed to make six meals, three kinds. Beef stew, Italian Beef and BBQ Chicken. After lots of veggie cutting, meat cutting, seasoning and bagging I was ready to go…….six cheap meals in my deep freeze ready to go into the crock pot first thing in the morning.

I should have thought about this a bit more as I was following the recipes. No blanching of any veggies? Potatoes going in with meat to cook the entire 8 hours? “They’ll be fine” I thought. Not so much.

Night one, a few weeks ago, and I pull out my beef stew. Actually not bad. Soggy mushy potatoes and it needed a bit more meat and seasoning but overall decent. But still not as good as the one I can simmer on the stove that I’ve been making for years. We all ate it, the hubby actually seemed to enjoy it and only remarked that it needed a bit more beef. But it’s generally not hard to please his Army man palette after the years he’s spent eating MREs and DFAC cuisine.

Night two, the next week, BBQ chicken. “Is this supposed to be a soup?” I thought to myself as I looked into the simmering crock pot. I supposed this wouldn’t be going on the buns as I had originally planned. Taste tests showed that I needed to add a few more things to this meal to give it some flavor and those zucchini’s I had put in the bag were nowhere to be found in the crock pot.

Then we make it to tonight, Italian Beef. Toss it in and add the beef broth. Once again I come back and ask myself, “Is this a soup?” Once again, serving over bread may not be an option. So, with the help of a can of tomato sauce, bell peppers, carrots, celery, fresh garlic and seasoning, I turn this base into what eventually became a decent mock ragu. But it was still lacking something.

I couldn’t even finish it. Snuggle Bug took a few bites and wanted no part of it but she did enjoy the crusty Italian bread I served with it. The hubby, well he ate it.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Other reviewers raved about these meals and I was so looking forward to them being as good as people said. I don’t know what’s wrong but I’m thinking it may be time to give the slow cooker a rest for a while and pull out Mastering the Art of French Cooking again. Julia Child and I seem to be a better fit together than the crock pot and I.

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