This 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!
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.
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:
OH LIFE WHY YOU SO HARD FOR MEEEEEE.
In almost no time at all my house smelled exactly like my childhood.
(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.
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.)