I made a rock star crock-pot meal for the family last night. Hubby asked for seconds and kids asked for THIRDS!!! The keys for success in my family is not saucing it and only cooking the meat in the crock-pot;) Veggies and rice were steamed. My many crock-pot victories recently inspired me to re-post this great story about turning my hubby from a hater to a lover of my crock-pot meals;) Enjoy (now with link optimization per the Louise Edington SNCC strategy)
My hubby is always nice and eats what I make for dinner. (yes he cooks occasionally as well) But he always told me that my crock-pot meals were not his favorite. Being a HUGE fan of the crock-pot (I think it is the most genius piece of cooking equipment since fire!) this was not making me happy. So I investigated further — over several years;) His issues with my crock pot meals were:
1. The texture of the meat
2. Everything tasted the same
Well I was stumped for a few years. I’d make him suffer through a crock-pot meal every month or so since they are so easy and I LOVE them. I tried a few new recipes, added seasoning, but still got the same “It was OK” response. At the time I was home with a preschooler and a new baby — dinner time was NOT a time for elaborate concoctions! And then I found this freezer meal workshop online, went and created 10 meals in 2 hours and brought home cooking instructions. One of them was a crock-pot recipe — OY! Well I was super excited about it. The recipe asked me to brown the meat before placing it in the crock-pot. I NEVER did this before and always thought it was a waste of time and clean pots! But this time I followed the instructions and browned the pre-seasoned meat on all sides, put it and the other items in the crock-pot and went about my day. Served dinner and got “that was really good” after dinner — REALLY??? I mean I thought it was fantastic AND easy (which means it was a 10 for me), but never thought Hubby would agree. So I experimented with a few old recipes. I seasoned and browned the meat before putting it in the crock-pot — JACK POT every time!! He liked them all!!!
I’m not a scientist, I’m not sure what browning the meat does to change the texture but it does work. I do think that seasoning the meat before browning allows that spice to penetrate the meat and give it a different more abundant flavor than when it is all seasoned together.
I also find he is happier if I use a different seasoning on the meat than what is called for in the crock-pot recipe. I think it adds more depth for him. And now we are all living a happily ever after crock-pot life!!!! WHEW!;)