I love my crock pot.
Except I can only use it on the weekends, which is also the best time for me to cook a “regular” meal, so the crock pot doesn’t get used as much as I’d like. See, the whole point of a crock pot is that it’s a slow-cooker, so you can put in your food and let it do its thing while you slave away at the office, coming home to the tempting aroma of a hot dinner that’s ready to serve.
One problem: most recipes take 4-8 hours to cook. A little bit of simple math will show you that if you leave the house at 7 a.m., have an hour commute to the office, work a standard 9-hour day (including the time you are there for lunch), and then commute an hour home — you don’t get home until 6 p.m. (assuming there isn’t additional traffic / rain / football games, and that you actually get to walk out the office door at 5 pm sharp). Take a few minutes to hang up your coat, go through the mail, ask the kids about homework, and it’s pushing 7 p.m. before you can even think about eating dinner.
I have yet to find a recipe that will survive 12 hours in a crock pot without turning to mushy paste, so crock pot meals during the week are unfortunately not an option. Which really bums me out at this time of year, because what says “autumn” better than a crock pot full of beef stew? Except maybe chili. Or chicken & dumplings.