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Newly single chow-dude and his crockpot

OK, gang.

It's been awhile since I was singularly responsible for every evening meal. I'm a little rusty.

Just ordered a programable crockpot and am looking for chow-worthy recipes.

I will admit that I have NOT searched for old strings on this subject.

So, what is your go-to slow cooker recipe for a mid-week dinner after a long day at work?

Extra credit for something that turns into great lunches the next day(s).

DOUBLE extra credit for great cookbooks in this genre...that will serve my tummy AND my addiction to cook book collecting.

Happy chowing and thanks in advance.

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    1. re: carolinadawg

      I'm going to second that website. Its great just for inspiration if nothing else.

      1. re: foxspirit

        Nice! I have already archived that blog address.

        Looks like some good "clean-hound" tips for the newly single, also!

        1. re: Monch

          The Taco Soup recipe on her blog is a family fave. My kids crush tortilla chips in a bowl and ladle the taco soup on top... then add avocado or sour cream. Huge hit.

      2. re: carolinadawg

        I have her first book, and I use it frequently.

        To my surprise, the Buffalo Chicken Soup is a great favorite of my wife.

      3. any inexpensive, well marbled (read: fatty) cut of meat. My go tos are: pork shoulder, boneless/skinless chix thighs. 6-8 hours on low, they both create their own juices. pour off the juice and freeze it for an hour, this congeals the fat which you can then skim and discard, use the rest to make any sauce you like.I will make bbq, carnitas, Asian style, curry style...whatever mood you are in. I love having these yummy cooked meats around and find myself throwing them into everything, quesadillas, sandwiches, you name it.

        1. A few months back we started a Slow Cooker Sunday series. A few of my favorites are:

          Breakfast Casserole (it's hearty enough for dinner and lunch leftovers) http://www.chow.com/food-news/153609/...

          BBQ Beef Sandwiches: http://www.chow.com/food-news/151290/...

          and, Red Pepper Butternut Squash Soup: http://www.chow.com/food-news/150910/...

          We have some great recipes going live over the weekend - so keep your eye out for them. Happy crock pot cooking!

          1. America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution. Fun stuff like ribs, lasagna, etc. Not just soups and stews (though there's plenty of that too.)

            1. Welcome to my life, I use my Slow Cooker very often

              fatty cheap cuts of meat are your fried - bone in will add more flavor

              beef shanks can go many ways - just red wine and herbs - over rice + leftovers for sammies. Tomato sauce for a quick and dirty meat sauce, you can take it Mexican for taco/burrito filling

              Fatty cheaper cuts of lamb do well too

              Chicken thighs - over a "bed" of potatoes and carrots - with wine or beer in the bottom

              chili is always good, pulled pork, ribs

              soups are easy - broth+ can of tomatoes + beans and veggies = tomato vegetable soup - add pasta or rice and leafy greens at the end

              if you have time brown mear in a skillet fist, deglaze and add that liquid - will help with flavor and texture

              potatoes & carrots and the like tend to hold up well but all softer veggies and greens should be added at the end or you get mush - same with pasta and rice

              get a rice cooker if you don't have one - slow cooked meat and veg ready when you get home + fresh quick rice = Dinner

              Dried beans can take forever - soaking AND parboiling is helpful- crunchy beans are gross ;)

              keep it simple and don't expect miracles and the slow cooker is a very useful tool made much more useful by a ric cooker/steamer for the parts of the meal that don't want low and slow. If you just dump everything in there you get muck.