I like to make soup on Wednesdays. I think I have a tendency in general to make my meals too involved, and it's good to know that I don't have to come up with meat/2 side dishes/starch/bread one day a week (other than Fridays, also simple with homemade pizza).
Also, it's good, isn't it, to try to show that we can discipline ourselves to sit back from the plenty we enjoy pretty effortlessly.
I have thought that the slow cooker could really help me keep things simple, but I've found that I don't really know how to use it. At intervals I borrow a stack of cookbooks from the library to help, but I confess that I am skeptical that these recipes would be really as tasty as their conventional counterparts.
Also, I try hard to keep prepared foods out of our daily lives. I'm not a fan of cans of mushroom soup, packets of beef onion flavoring, and jars of instant bouillon. Most contain soy and its derivatives -- plenty of MSG, even if not labeled as such. They are tasty in a fake way, and I don't think they are good for you.
But if I eliminate the recipes calling for those ingredients, I'm down to... not much in the way of slow cooker repertoire.
I'm on the hunt for some really good ideas for my slow cooker, so if you have any that you really love, please share!
In the interest of keeping it simple, yesterday I made split pea soup in my slow cooker. This is one recipe I think is truly convertible to this appliance. I have a 6 quart cooker, so I double the recipe.
Put your smoked ham hocks or ham bone in with a chopped onion, two chopped carrots, and two stalks of chopped celery. You need two bay leaves. Bay leaves are essential! Don't leave them out!
Rinse and pick over 2 packages of split peas (green or yellow, doesn't matter) and throw them in. The recipe on the package says 2 quarts of water per package of peas, but I only put in 3 1/2 quarts. There isn't the evaporation in the slow cooker that you get on the stove top -- but then, there isn't the scorched bottom either!
My cooker can be put on "auto", which is two hours of high and then down to low. I read in one of the cookbooks I borrowed that starting at a higher heat makes for better flavor, and I think that might be true. But I confess that my problem with the slow cooker is that it's... too slow.
Anyway, put in some salt and pepper (yes, you will need salt even with the ham) and let cook all day. You can stir every 5 hours.
Remove the ham bones to a cutting board and chop up the meat, discarding the bones and fat. Put the meat back in, stir, and it's ready to go!
Serve with cornbread or cornmeal yeast bread. My kids always say, "it doesn't look that good but it tastes good!"
Share your tried and true recipes!