The Little Cooker That Could (aka The Little Pot that Could)

For years now I have heard from both moms who work out of the home and those who don’t that slow cookers, or Crock Pots, are da-bomb. But I resisted getting one. I would not be assimilated. My thinking being that I have no room for one of those monstrosities. I already have a pot and a stove, thank you. I don’t usually like boiled chicken, etc. And I like my veg cooked with a bit of firmness left. Call me picky.

Necessity broke me down. Working full-time out of the home (and in) plus having an active kiddo meant we sometimes ate dinner at ridiculous o’clock. We’d be one lesson or meeting away from dinner that was practically bedtime. I hate to have fast food all the time, so I started asking more questions about people’s experience with slow cookers. I looked up a few recipes online and tried them in a pot on the stove instead of a cooker, etc. Not too bad. Maybe worth trying if just for the sake of eating earlier.

I checked out the local thrift store, but for USED Crock Pots that might not even work, their prices are nuts! $20 for USED? I could get a new one for that. I purchased a pair of jeans instead. But when I saw the wee 2-Quart Rival Slow Cooker for about $10 at a local Wally World, I decided it was time to give it a try. Small enough to stow easily in a cabinet and actually fits enough protein for a good dinner plus a small amount of left overs for my little family.

I could not be happier with this little pot.

I worried a lot about burnt, over-cooked food with such a small pot, or any slow cooker for that matter, but on the low setting this little critter does an excellent job cooking meat or veg all day long. Meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. Veggies aren’t cooked to mush! This part amazed me. Even the lowest flame on my stove would render veg into mush within a few hours. This little pot was really SLOW cooking. It even made yummy broth for soup later. I have been adding at least some water or similar liquid when I leave it all day. It might still burn a dish that is just meat and no liquid or something with a really thick sauce. I’ll have to test those on a weekend.

Result. I am a convert.

We’ve now had Cornish Hen, chicken tacos, pulled BBQ, soup, baked chicken, veg stew, and more!

This morning’s yumminess was steel-cut Irish oats with brown sugar, cinnamon, and gobs of fresh chopped apples. My skinny kiddo is not much of an oatmeal eater, so I had to keep my fingers crossed. But she had three servings. Smallish servings, but this is something! Recipe below.

    Slow Cooker Apples & Oats That My Daughter LIKES

3/4 C. steel-cut Irish oats
2 apples (cored and chopped, peel if you like, I peeled one of ’em)
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 T. coconut oil
1-1/2 C. water
1/2 C. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Spray inside of crock with non-stick cooking spray. Put in apples, dry ingredients, then liquid ingredients. Stir a bit. Turn cooker on Low and cook for 4 to 7 hours. At 4 hours the oats are edible but still quite chewy and the apples are cooked but firm. It’s all a lot more tender at about 7 hours. Stir before serving. This recipe makes fairly thick oats (which didn’t burn, but eventually got a brown crust at the edges). If you like your oats thinner, add more liquid.

We topped with a little extra cinnamon, brown sugar, and a thin pat of butter. Some of us poured milk over the oats too. It was all yummy! I was expecting leftovers, but we had none.