In trying to make the most of what I have, I am wanting to use my crockpot more. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with it. I do love the ease of the crockpot but find everything I cook in it has the same texture. Stews do not have the crisp edges and deep, rich sauces like when I braise them in the oven, I find chicken can be gummy, plus so many recipes depend on canned soups and such. Still it is a useful tool, so I have been pressing forward and experimenting. I start thinking more than just a main course, there is dessert, breakfast, I have written about make chicken broth, also side dishes, etc.
Two side dishes I have found that work really well is roasted baby potatoes and polenta. They are simple recipes, rely on pantry, are cheap.I actually perfect this method of coking polenta, to the stovetop method. It makes the creamiest (not mushy) polenta. If your family is not use to eatting polenta, try adding some good, grated cheese at the end. I add a cup or so :- 0 It gives it flavor and richness. It is sort of like the brown rice thing, the more you eat it, the more use to get to the flavor and the less you need to bling it up xoxox
6 cups broth or water
2 cups polenta
2 tsp salt
½ stick of butter cup into cubes
Coat the inside liner of your crockpot with a non-stick cooking spray or oil. Add all ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on high 1 ½ -2 hours, until polenta is smooth and creamy.
You can add cheese or fresh herbs at this point if you like. I love chopped rosemary and smoked provolone!!
Crockpot Roasted Baby Potatoes
About 20 or so small potatoes, enough to cover the bottom. I love fingerlings for this.
½ cup olive oil
1 TBL salt, or to your taste
1 tsp pepper, or to your taste
5 garlic cloves finely chopped or sliced
(you can also add some chopped fresh herbs)
Pour all ingredients in a crockpot and stir. Turn crockpot high. Cook four hours, stirring each hour, until potatoes are soft and crisp on the outside!!