Cutting Corners

    In this week's "Cutting Corners," we'll be talking about how to make a ton of food at one time that will feed your family for about a week (thus saving money on your grocery bill!), with minimal effort on your part, because I am all about being lazy. In other words, we're talking crockpot cooking. Because who gets home after a long day at work and actually wants to whip up a gourmet meal? No one. So we heat up microwave dinners or order pizza or grab fast food. And while it's understandable, that doesn't make it good, either for your family's bodies or your family budget!
    It has come to my attention that crockpots are probably one of mankind's greatest inventions. You mean I dump all the ingredients in, turn it on Low, and walk away for a few hours while it makes magical feasts that will feed me for days? Sign me up!
    Here are a few recipes to get you started:
    • Pulled pork—This is the easiest and tastiest pulled pork I've ever had. Put a boneless pork tenderloin in the crockpot and pour a can of root beer (I use Barq's) over it. Leave it on low for eight hours (or a day at work). Shred it with a fork, pour out the root beer, and apply barbecue sauce to taste. Super difficult, right?
    • Other meat dishes—Slow cookers are actually a spectacular way to get really tender, juicy meat. A lot of recipes will have you just pour some kind of liquid over the chicken or steak or whatever and then leave it on low for like...a day. And then it'll be fantastic, and you'll have to pretend that you worked really hard so that people appreciate you.
    • Side dishes—Mainly warm side dishes, but I hear there are fancy side dishes that have to be warm while you make them and then chilled or something. Anyway, I bet you can make those in the crockpot. It's awesome for meatballs, those little barbecue cocktail weinies, cheesy potatoes, baked beans...the list continues.
    • Soup/chili—Fun fact about crockpots; their recipes are almost always super simple. These you might want to throw together on your lunch break. Obviously you can find actual recipes, but I've been known to throw broth, rice (um...cook this first. Just take my word for it), frozen veggies, herbs, and chopped up chicken (or other meat) into the cooker, leave it on low for four or five hours, et voila! Magic, delicious soup with minimal effort. Or just use your chili ingredients.
    • Dessert—Lets be honest, this is the most important part. There are tons of desserts that you just mix up and put in a crockpot. Like chocolate pudding-cake. And fruit cobblers.
    • Just...everything, actually—For real. You can find recipes for the slow-cooker version of basically anything. So why are you still sitting there? You should be assembling a fantastic crockpot meal. Go! Cook! Be free!