Posted by: cordy74 | July 2, 2009

Engineering & Crockpots

In an effort to eat a little better as well as save some money we have been trying to use our crockpot more lately.  Meals made in the crockpot typically cost a little less, go a little further and, if done correctly, are pretty darn good.  The only downside to cooking in the crockpot (or even cooking in general) for me is that I have to adopt a split personality when doing it.

One of the recipes we made recently was crockpot lasagna.  I can’t take credit for the recipe.  I found it at the blog A Year of Crockpotting.  The woman who is writing this blog made a pact with herself to use her crockpot every day of 2008.  That’s one hell of a feat, if you ask me.  Anyway, back to our topic.

During the day, as an engineer, my life is supposed to revolve around precision and accuracy.  If I design an assembly and the dimensions for the individual parts are not specified properly nothing will fit together correctly.  At least that’s how it works before anyone in management gets involved.  Then I become more a cost cutting machine than an engineer.  It’s not like we actually check any of the parts we bring into the plant anyway.  Sorry, off topic again.

Even though accuracy and precision have been drilled into me since college (since high school, even) most of the recipes I have seen on the internet do not necessarily subscribe to these to notions.  There is an awful lot of a “dash of this” and a “pinch of that”.  In order to deal with these recipes I have to bring out my alter ego which doesn’t seem to care if recipes are spelled out precisely or not.  Sometimes I fear that our management at work is causing this other personality to do some of the tasks my engineer side should be performing.

Oddly enough, one aspect of cooking that I have never batted an eye at is checking to make sure that what I am cooking is at the correct temperature for the recommended amount of time.  Let this be a warning to you if you ever eat pork chops at my house.  If I cut into it and it no longer looks pink, it’s done.

From what I understand this is a big problem for a lot of people who use crockpots.  I don’t see it, personally.  If I let whatever I throw in that pot cook on low for six or eight hours I’m pretty sure it’s done.  I mean, come on!  I’ve never given myself food poisoning yet and I’ve been cooking for myself for better than fifteen years.  If you figure an average of two meals a day that’s a total of….uhhh…probably more than fifty meals.  Something like that, anyway.  I like those odds.

I do not own a meat thermometer and I refuse to ever use one.  When I cook anything on the grill it ends up one way: DONE!  There’s no medium-rare or wll-done.  It’s just done.  I am way off topic again.  Let’s wrap this monkey up, shall we?

The crockpot lasagna turned out GREAT! We opted not to put in some of the ingredients she suggested such as the mushrooms, peppers or onions.  Instead we layered a little spinach in with each layer of cheese.  It did take a little time to prep everything and layer it in the crockpot but once that’s done you turn it on and walk away.  Like the lady says in her blog, you could do it all the night before and stick it in your fridge.  The next morning just add the ¼ cup of water and turn it on (after taking it out of the fridge, of course).

I would recommend roaming around the A Year of Crockpotting blog.  There is a lot of good stuff in there.  If something sounds mostly good but you don’t like some of the ingredients just bust a move and make it your own.  Happy crocking!

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Responses

  1. Way to go, Cordy. Now I feel guilty for never cooking dinner and I’m going to have to go check out this crock pot site. Then I’ll have to actually make the crock pot lasagna, and before you know it, my kids will be expecting food when they get home! They thought Italian food came from the Little Caesar’s $5 pickup box.

    • Sorry to have blown your cover with your kids on the whole Italian food origin. It has never been my intent to rat anyone out on their cooking fables.

  2. What a crock!

    • Dear Xenu: Intergalactic Walrus of the Church of Scientology,

      You are the only true crock around here. Keep your spacefaring views and opinions to yourself. Find real religion for yourself…like the Mormon Church or one of those snake handling Baptist churches.


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