Country Kitchen: Discover The Ease of Crockpot Cooking

Country Kitchen: Discover The Ease of Crockpot Cooking

By Mary Emma Allen

With our increasingly busy lives, we search for ways to take the effort out of cooking and meal preparation. As we try different methods for making meals easy, yet tasty, we discover the crockpot.

This electric powered slow cooking pot reminds me of the black iron pot Mother and my grandmother used for preparing meals on the kitchen wood stove of my childhood. It set into the hole formed when a round lid was removed from the fire box.

Foods would simmer here throughout the day. From the black pot came soups, stews, pot roast, chicken and dumplings, pork and beans, ham and cabbage, and even desserts such as apple and peach dumplings. This utensil was indispensable to cooks of my mother and grandmotherÂ’s eras.

Modern Iron Kettle

The crockpot has evolved as a modern "iron kettle" in which you can cook a great variety of foods. The cookbooks that accompany the crockpot give you many ways to use it. Some crockpots even have a special bread and cake bake accessory for making these foods.

TodayÂ’s crockpot for slow cooking becomes handy for the homemaker who doesn't want to fuss with meals. Simply place them into the crockpot and let them simmer much of the day.

The variety is almost endless for your crockpot dishes - meats, casseroles, vegetables, beans, soups. rice and cereals, fruits and desserts. Simply follow the instructions and recipes that accompany your crockpot. There also are recipe books that specialize in crock pot recipes.

Online Crock Pot Recipes

The Lazy Gourmets Recipe site also has a section for crockpot cooking, as well as a free newsletter. Here you'll find recipes as well as crockpot cooking hints. Visit the site at

As Kellie and Loretta mention, each crockpot varies slightly depending on the shape and size of the pot. Thus cooking time will vary. You should learn about your crockpot so you can adapt recipes to it.

APPLE RECIPES: Making applesauce and baked apples can be achieved in the crockpot.

BAKED APPLES - Mix together 2 tablespoons raisins or currants and 1/4 cup sugar. Fill 6 medium, unpeeled, cored baking apples with this mixture. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Place in crockpot, stacking to fit, if necessary. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until tender. You may find you need more or less cooking, depending on your crockpot.

APPLESAUCE - Cut into chunks or slices, 8 to 10 large, peeled and cored cooking apples. Put into crockpot with 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 to 1 cup sugar, depending on desired sweetness. (You also can add more sugar and spices after applesauce is cooked.) Cover and cook on low about 8 hours. Serve warm or cold with whipped topping.

(C) 2002 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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