When I was growing up, the only time I ever recall anyone using a slow cooker was during fall and winter. There weren’t a zillion slow-cooker recipes floating around and the only “web” anyone knew of was that of a spider. Or that rather famous saying from Marmion by Walter Scott. My mother used to quote it often. “[Oh,] what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” Remember that? She added the “oh”, I suppose, for dramatic effect.
Anyway, when spring rolled around, the slow cooker went away like holiday decorations, to somewhere out of the way, until it was needed again.
I was the same for many years, maybe because all that I saw cooked in a slow cooker (which everyone called a Crock Pot back then) was chili or green beans or a hearty stew. Oh, and Aunt Suzie made a canned Hostess ham in hers every Christmas. (I’ll be right back, I need to go throw up.)
But somewhere along the way, undoubtedly about the same time I realized that pink blob in the Hostess can had nothing to do with real ham, I discovered I could use my slow cooker for so many things! When our oldest daughter was a baby, that’s where I made mega-batches of homemade baby food, homemade applesauce and even homemade soap (dedicated slow cooker for that one). I found I could make dry beans, cook large quantities of food at once for taking to pot luck dinners, family gatherings and for just cooking meals ahead to freeze when I was busy in graduate school (and balancing life with 2 kiddos!). And now, working on recipe development for you and all the other jobs that fall under the Gluten Free Gigi umbrella, time is shorter than ever, so I use my slow cooker at least twice each week. It’s no wonder more slow cooker recipes are one of the top requests I receive from readers! We’re all busy and we need nutritious meals that come together easily.
In fact, when I can make an entire meal in my slow cooker, well, I feel kinda like awesome times a million. That’s exactly how I felt when I made this Irish-American dish of corned beef with cabbage, fennel and potatoes. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, but really, when is corned beef a bad idea?
So, tell me, do you use your slow cooker year round like I do? What’s your favorite slow cooker dish to make? Mine may be this corned beef. Or this Chocolate Cake with Fudge Sauce.
Slow Cooker Corned Beef with Cabbage, Fennel and Potatoes
- 4 pound corned beef brisket
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 small head of green cabbage, cut into wedges (about 8 pieces)
- 2 cups sodium-free chicken stock (or water)
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried chopped chives
- Place brisket, onions and cabbage in slow cooker in that order.
- Pour stock over top, sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and cover.
- Cook on high 6-8 hours.
Looking for St. Patrick’s Day ideas? Try my 17 Gluten-Free Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.