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Bat Dog 2.0 (and some no good very bad news)

8 Hours of Cooking in 2 Minutes or Less

Tracking PixelThis post is sponsored by The Crock-Pot® Brand.

I received my very first Crock-Pot® slow cooker at my bridal shower. We didn't register for anything and really didn't want a ton of stuff, but a slow cooker was one of the few items I requested my mother and future MIL suggest if anyone asked for a specific idea.

(Being completely broke college students with loans and rent and two big do-it-ourselves moves scheduled within our first six months of married life, we admittedly hoped the lack of registry would signal that HEY CASH WOULD BE GREAT to our friends and family.)

(Most people got the hint. Everybody else bought us the exact same set of casserole dishes.)

Today, we own three different slow cookers: small, medium, and large. Clearly, we have truly arrived. 

When I was little, my mom would make these beef-and-vegetable stews in her slow cooker that even I, a horribly awful no-good picky eater, would devour. I think because the way the house would slowly start to smell all savory and delicious throughout the afternoon, and my stomach and taste buds would involuntarily start to crave whatever I was smelling. 

When I was working outside the home, I made slow cooker dinners at least twice a week, half out of convenience and half because of the pure sensory pleasure I'd get from walking in the door after a long day like yasssssss my whole house smells like deliciousness.

Now that I work from home, the slow cooker still gets a TON of use, but is also kind of a torture device, as I'm now routinely craving whatever is simmering inside by 11 a.m. and there's still like six hours to go. We use it for everything from chili to briskets to jerk chicken to ribs to Indian food to soups to party dips to "I don't know what to make so let's throw some stuff in and see what happens."

But here's the Idiot Moment that I've never been able to get fully away from, no matter what my working arrangement: The Let's Make Dinner In The Slow Cooker Tonight But Oh Crap I Forgot To Prep Everything The Night Before Ok Never Mind Remind Me To Prep Tonight.

(Or that Idiot Moment's idiot inbred cousin of Oh Crap I Remembered To Prep But Forgot To Turn The Dang Thing On In The Morning.)

BUT NOW THERE IS THIS!

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Wait. Whaaaat?

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Shut. Up. 

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No. Yes. This is happening. Crock-Pot Cuisine is here to blow your mind and also make you dinner. 

I ordered a fully-prepped, ready-to-cook meal from the Crock-Pot® brand's website -- I chose the Rustic Beef Stew since that, to me, pretty much represents the Ultimate Slow Cooker Comfort Food dish -- and it arrived frozen and packed in dry ice a few days later (in a compact Styrofoam cooler, in case it ends up sitting outside for awhile). I stashed it in my freezer until we were ready to make it. 

And (sad trombone/bummer alert), we decided we were ready the day before our Goodbye to Ceiba Day. Cooking was...soooooo not going to happen, nor was eating out because that would have required me to be more than five inches away from my dog and that was also...sooooooooooooooo not going to happen. 

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This, however, I could handle.

By 9 a.m. dinner was solidly taken care of. (Although I was grateful to see a 4-hour OH CRAP I FORGOT TO TURN THE SLOW COOKER ON fast-track option).

This was all the cleanup I had to bother with, too: 

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OH LIFE WHY YOU SO HARD FOR MEEEEEE.

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In almost no time at all my house smelled exactly like my childhood. 

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(FYI I used a 4-quart slow cooker, and the boxed meal states it contains six servings.)

The five of us had zero leftovers, however, possibly because 1) I gave Ceiba some beef and carrots, and 2) OMG IKE ATE HIS ENTIRE DINNER WHAT WHAT WHAAAAT.

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I paired it with some rustic red wine in a rustic juice glass because I am an adult who owns multiple-sized slow cookers and just obviously has her life together. 

Thanks to the Crock-Pot® brand for sponsoring this post. Click here to check out Crock-Pot Cuisine. First 100 readers will receive $10 off when you buy two meals! (Discount will be automatically applied when you click the link.)

Comments

MaryC

As a fellow work at home type person, here's my tip to avoid the hunger pang insanity: put the crockpot in the garage! This way the smell is much fainter and I don't scarf down junk food while waiting. At the end, very very carefully transfer the whole thing into the kitchen and enjoy!

Erin

I literally - LITERALLY - do not know what I would do without you to tell me about these awesome things that will make my life better/easier.

There is not one iota of sarcasm here, to be clear. I heart this SO SO MUCH.

Maggie

I love the concept of this, but am I the only one wondering how they can charge $24.99 per meal PLUS $9.99 for shipping? Blue Apron and other ingredient + recipe services are charging $9.99-$12.99 per meal. I realize you are getting the convenience of just throwing everything in the crockpot here without the hassle of prepping, but I just can't see how it's worth it :(

Kristen

One of the reasons I like crockpot meals is that they are so affordable! It's an fun idea, but I couldn't justify the cost.

Olivia

Maggie, that is hella expensive. One of the benefits of cooking in a crock pot is usually saving money. Prepping most slow cooker meals is pretty minimal, but sometimes I by sauce pouches that I just pour over the meat and veggies to save some work. They only cost $3-$4.

B

Agree with the other posters, the cost here is ridiculous. And I thought Blue Apron was overpriced!

Styrofoam packaging also sounds extremely wasteful.

Evathedefiler

Aaaaaannnnnnnddd I'm reminded to go throw my own beans in a pot for dinner. :)

Lauren

I love the concept, but don't love the styrofoam or the expense -- and something like beef stew is so quick to chop and dump if you use pre-cut stew meat and baby carrots. I can't pay this much more just to save 13 minutes.

Caroline

I realize you're promoting buying the crockpot meals here, but if you feel like posting some of your other recipes sometime please do! You're way more creative with the slow cooker than I am

Jennifer

Sorry Amy but this is going to have to be a no from me. I Have to agree with Maggie and Lauren this just seems crazy expensive and wasteful.

Arnebya

Our oven broke last year and because Sears hates black people and taxed but not represented DC residents, the part seemed nonexistent. So we were reliant on the Crock Pot for nearly 5 months. We are just now slooooooooowly returning to occasional use of it because at the slightest hint the kids revolt from memories including all crock pot everything.

Cheryl S.

Great Idea, but $25 =$10 shipping for stuff to throw in a crock? That's just WAY too expensive.

beekeebear

OMGGGG BUY ALL THE MEALLLLLZZZZZ!!!!

Cristin

Would love to try but the price is outrageous!

Rebecca

The meals looks great, but WHOA I'm never paying 25 bucks plus 10 bucks for shipping for one meal! My average crock pot meal cost for a family of four is probably around 15 bucks total. I would love to hear about some of your recipes though!

Mara

Amy, would you consider sharing some of your family's favorite slow cooker recipes? I always mean to use mine more, but don't have a bunch of recipes in my go-to list of dinner options. When I look online I'm frequently underwhelmed as slow cooker recipes so rarely lend themselves to appetizing photos, so I skim a few hundred recipes and go 'huh' and then repeat the process again in a few months. As a fair trade, this is my current favorite recipe, though I doctor the heck out of it http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-slow-cooker-chicken-enchilada-soup-193675

Olivia

Also, I've seen prepackaged roast dinners a the grocery store in the meat section. Meat and veg ready to go. Just add seasoning.

Hez

Agree with previous posters! I was super excited. Had three meals in my cart. $25 seems a bit high, but CONVENIENCE! The extra shipping fee is what did it for me. There's a huge banner saying "free shipping" for orders over $49. Online chat lady said, "Oh, sorry"...not applicable to meals. Argh!!! Not doing it...agree...would love some fabulous Amy Crock Pot recipes!

Heidi

I have to agree with previous posters, no way could I justify spending this much to save a few minutes.

Lisa

I'm here to tell you all to ditch your crock pot in lieu of an Instapot pressure cooker (which has a slow cooker function). Who needs 8 hrs when you can get it done in 30-40 mins?! Seriously, life saving (and not as scary as they used to me!)

Judy

Sounds delicious and easy, but like everyone else, I find the cost prohibitive. At $25 for one meal, plus $10 for shipping -- well, we can eat out for that. To me the big advantage to a crock pot is that you can use the very cheap cuts of meat. This is not cheap. I won't be trying it.

cellilo

So you put everything in still frozen? Even the meat? All kinds of really trustworthy food-safety sources say it's really chancy to that, due to the risk of foodborne illness!

It looks from the picture like the meat is in small pieces instead of a full roast, so maybe that helps it reach a safe temperature fast enough?

For any other food safety bugs out there!:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/safe-meals/slow-cooker-safety

Kate

Umm there are a ton of pre-made crock pot sauces for a couple bucks at any grocery store that you can just throw in with a huge (fresh!) pork loin or any roast that would feed more ppl for 1/2 the cost of these frozen prepackaged meals. What is happening?

Beth Rich

If I had four mouths to feed every night (only one, and he's old enough to choose to cook for himself in the microwave) I could justify that. Or maybe if I worked in an office and could make four or five lunches. Although it seems pricey, TBH I spend extra money on convenience items all the time, especially in the produce section. Above mentioned adult-sized child considers those extra 10-15 minutes to be too much to bear.

Nancy

This may be odd to put on a sponsored post, but I work from home and have been 100% converted to the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Food is just as tender and much less likely to dry out, and all those tempting smells are kept inside until you release the pressure. Don't make the mistake of trying to make your slow-cooker meals at pressure right off the bat (you'll get there eventually). To start, try out the recipes at hippressurecooking.com or join the Instant Pot Community on Facebook. Also, don't read a recipe that says "10 minutes at pressure" and think you'll be eating in 10 minutes - pressure has to both build and release. It's probably going to be 30 lovely unattended minutes during which you can set the table, make a salad, and relax with a glass of wine.

Lis

Well, I am giving it a shot.

Vi

I have a 24hr timer plug, I get my dinner (or breakfast porridge - which I think you Americans call oatmeal!) in my slow cooker when I've prepped tomorrow's dinner then plug the slow cooker into the 24 hr plug so it switches it on 8hr before supper - yes I've overlooked the beat in a slow cooker more than once.

Lori

God bless you and the Crock Pot people. We are moving from Japan to DC just in time to hopefully buy or rent a place before our first baby arrives. I hope to have time to make and freeze some food, but who knows if I'll have a kitchen and/or my kitchen stuff (and all my other possessions) in time. I will, however, have my medium size slow cooker, which is also a rice maker and steamer and best wedding present EVAR and as such was the very first item I put on my Things to Go in the Express Shipment List.

-k-

Dear Crock Pot Registered Trademark people: You guys are beyond corny for making people write it that way. Stodgy as all get-out. Free yourselves, free your writers, join us in here in the future. Also, despite Amy's ample skill and wit, I don't think anything could make this concept appetizing. Yikes.

Sharon

Crazy expensive. Could never justify spending 24.99 PLUS shipping for 4 servings of food!

Lala

Ridiculously pricey, full of sodium, a waste of packaging, overall condescending to one's common sense. Sign me up.

Thanks for yet another sponsored post. At one point, you promoted yourselves as "foodies," no?

Mia

Well, it's probably not an every week thing but I'd give it a shot. Thanks for sharing, Amy.
And to some folks...whatever happened to "if ya don't have something nice to say..."

Monica

I think some of the grubbing might be due to the fact that these sponsored posts seem to be coming from everywhere! The very next blog on my reader was also a sponsored CrockPot post. This seems to happen a lot with Blue Apron as well. If I only saw one Blue Apron Post, it would be fine, but I have seen dozens from other bloggers often all on the same day! It makes me wonder how this sponsored post thing works and I would actually be interested in hearing about the details (for instance- when I see two or more blogs post for the same product on the same day is that random, or do the sponsors ask for posts to be published on a specific day?)

Rachael

While some of those meals sound yummy, the price was shocking. Plus, they are not allergy friendly, so my poor husband wouldn't be able to eat them. 😔 I'll just stick to what we've been doing- most of our favorite recipes come from http://www.slowcookeradventures.com/p/recipe-index.html?m=1

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