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Up until this winter, my crock pot had primarily been used to make chicken chili. That’s not to say I haven’t tried other things, it’s just that I’ve had my share of Pinterest fails.

But all of Pinterest can’t be wrong. So I’ve persisted this winter. In my effort to embrace the dark afternoons, the rain, the coziness/cabin-fever of it all, I’ve branched out and given my crock pot a work out that has truly paid off.

Naturally, I’m sharing the results from this strenuous fact-finding mission with you. You can thank me later {in case I’ve never stated it before, I love dark chocolate.}.

1. Chicken Stock

Ever since I gained confidence from learning how to roast a chicken {thanks, Amy Pennington!}, it’s been a staple in the dinner department at our house. But what to do with that carcass? It’s so gross. Picking a carcass is not on my list of fun.

So I discovered making stock on the stove and freezing it. Also not really fun. Something about having to stand-by, as the stove top was on for hours.

But stock in the crock pot? Oui, oui! There’s no way you can say no to that. Clementine asked me yesterday why we make it ourselves, and it was a great lesson in thrift, using all of an animal, and in environmental awareness {we’re bringing less packaging into the house by making it ourselves! Holla!}.

So next time you find yourself with a chicken carcass, put it in a Ziplock bag, toss it in the freezer, and get it back out when you’re ready. Here’s the recipe:

Crock Pot Chicken Stock
If you can pour water and push a button, you can do this!
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Cook Time
24 hr
Cook Time
24 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken carcass, frozen or not
  2. water
  3. salt
Instructions
  1. 1. Put your chicken carcass into the crock pot. If you've got the neck or anything else that was inside the chicken when you first got it, throw that in, too.
  2. 2. Fill the crock pot up with water.
  3. 3. Sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of salt (or not).
  4. 4. Turn the crock pot to it's longest, lowest setting.
  5. 5. When it's done, run it through another cycle to get the most flavor out of your carcass.
  6. 6. Strain out the liquid, put into freezable containers in portions that make sense for how you cook, and freeze.
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/
2. Brisket

Oh, man. I don’t think I’d ever eaten brisket, aside from corned beef. It just sounded weird and bad. But GP always goes on and on about it, so at Hanukkah this year I decided I’d go for it and serve one alongside my latkes and applesauce. My friend Kathy also raved about cooking one in the crock pot, which gave me hope.

Let me just say that this was fantastic! So flavorful, totally falling apart, melt-in-your-mouth amazing that I’d wished I’d bought a bigger brisket. Seriously.

The recipe is right here.

3. White Bean Soup

This soup just tastes like Germany in a bowl. It’s practically perfect in every way. I love everything about it.

White Bean Soup
Serves 6
If Germany were to turn into a soup, it would be this.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. dried white beans {or 1 can!}
  2. 1/2 lb. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise. Many kinds of sausage will do.
  3. 1 onion, chopped
  4. 2 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise and chopped
  5. 4 sprigs of thyme
  6. 8 cups of chicken broth
  7. 1 bunch of baby kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces, stems removed
  8. 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  9. salt and pepper
  10. Quality sauerkraut, like those made by Oly Kraut
Instructions
  1. 1. Combine the following in the crock pot: sausage, onion, celery, thyme, and broth. If you're using dried beans, this is the time to toss them in, too, after rinsing and sorting out the yucky bits.
  2. 2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until the beans are tender. Don't try rushing this and turning it up on high for a shorter time. You'll then have crunchy vegetables.
  3. 3. 30 minutes before the 8 hours are up, fish out the thyme stems and put them into the compost. Add the kale and beans if you're using canned beans {rinse them first}.
  4. 4. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  5. 5. To serve, top each bowl with a hearty portion of sauerkraut. It really sends this soup soaring. Be sure to buy a crunchy kind - no slimy stuff. Eww.
Adapted from Real Simple
Adapted from Real Simple
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/
4. Crock Pot Ham with Pineapple

If you can dump pineapple out of a can, you can make this ham. OMG. So good. And so impressive.

5. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This is mac and cheese the way I love it – custardy and crisp at the edges. It’s Southern style, so don’t go thinking it’s light on the fat and good stuff. Just eat it. My kids love it. It comes together pretty quickly, too.

6. You can bake your potatoes in the crock pot! What?! It’s amazing. I do this every time. And I don’t wrap them in foil.

7. Tapioca Pudding

And what are all these savory recipes here for if not to get you to dessert? Right?

If you don’t like tapioca, just stop reading right here.

Because I love tapioca.

My mom used to make the instant kind in the microwave. It was one of the many things from childhood that I craved during my pregnancies {Doritos, Cheetos, orange mac and cheese, fish sticks, Velveeta, Ramen…ugh}.

But have you ever made tapioca pudding from scratch? It sucks. Like, you’re just stirring and stirring and stirring at the stove for what seems like seven hours.

Ain’t no one got time for that!

Enter a nice German lady who pinned a crock pot tapioca recipe on Pinterest. Lady, you have made a difference in my life!

Click here for the recipe. It is seriously so easy. It sets up nicely in the fridge after it cooks. I like to put it into 1/2 pint Mason jars. They’re like homemade pudding cups, and I really miss pudding cups, so…

Get out that crock pot so you can get other stuff done!

And do tell me if there’s something I’m missing here on this list in the comments below! I’d love more crock pot success stories!

Happy Week,

mrs. fresh scratch xoxoxo

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4 Comments on put that crock pot to work.

  1. Crock pot. You speaketh my language, Kelli! Thanks for all these recipes – can’t wait to try them out – hope you have a great week!

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