When I was growing up I had really no idea what a crock pot was and it wasn't until I got to college that I realized the culinary wonders of this particular appliance. So, if you don't know what a crock pot is, what you use it for, or what you cook in it, keep reading and get some great information and tips regarding the most wondrous crock pot!
A crock pot is basically just a slow cooker. You put a combination of food into it and then turn it on and let it cook all day. It's like magic—midday you start smelling the goodness of whatever is cooking in the crock pot and by dinner time you're ready to go with a fantastic meal. What could be more magic than that? You can find crock pots almost anywhere including Bed Bath and Beyond, Linens 'n' Things, Target, and probably even Wal-Mart. You can buy high-quality ones or ones that will just get the job done.
You can cook quite the myriad of things inside the crock pot: stew, soup, chicken, and even pot roast if you're feeling daring. If you're a crock pot novice, I'd suggest trying out a crock pot cookbook and see what treasures those hold and going around seeing if any of your friends or family have any great crock pot recipes.
The thing to be careful about with the crock pot (especially with meats) is that you don't overcook your meal. I've had great chicken from a crock pot and really dry, rubbery chicken, so you need to either change the temperature on the crock pot, change the time you start cooking it, or just find a different recipe.
Also, with many crock pot recipes, you need to combine a bunch of things inside the crock pot and assume they'll melt into one another; make sure this actually happens. Stir around the ingredients a bit as they start to combine and evenly distribute the seasonings throughout the crock pot and over the food. While crock pot cooking is easy, you still want to use a little cooker's discretion and use some technique.
The crock pot is a most amazing invention that saves you time and can often produce quite tasty meals. It's okay if you don't have time to cook a full meal each night, but that endeavor is certainly made easier with the crock pot. Remember those few tips and you'll be off to a great start to your crock pot cooking!