Why Crockpots are a Girls Best Friend

So first of all….apologies for not having a picture of tonight’s awesome meal. The family tore into it before I could snap pics!

It’s been a rough day. R woke up with a fever today, so I stayed home with her. I’m used to waking up sneezing each morning lately, but today turned into something extra for me. By 9 am, I was so stuffy and drippy that I considered buying stock in Kleenex. I didn’t know so much snot could come from one body in such a short amount of time.

This led me to a newfound appreciation for crockpots. Now, I LOVE my crocks. I’ll often have many going at the same time, and for a busy person, its a life saver. In fact, I’m a pretty die hard kitchen appliance junkie, and even considered doing all countertop appliance cooking as a theme for MoFo! As it happens, today’s meal was already planned to be a crockpot meal and I had everything in the cooker before I started feeling like death warmed over.

As I lay down on the couch watching the Penguins of Madagascar with my little own, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that…for all intensive purposes…dinner was ‘done’ at 7am!

So what was tonight’s marvelous meal? One of D’s big favorites….red beans and rice! And it couldn’t be simpler, really.

Crissie’s Crocking Red Beans

1 bag red beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne
4 cups veggie broth or water
2 bay leaves
1 package vegan sausages (optional)
1 tsp salt
Dash of liquid smoke (optional)

Put your soaked beans into the crock insert. I use it to soak the beans in order to reduce dirty dishes. Be sure to drain and rinse well.
Add the onion, garlic, fennel, pepper, bay leaves, and liquid smoke to the crock. Cook on low for 8 hrs.
In the last half hour before serving, add sliced sausage and salt. Serve over rice, and with cornbread (which I did NOT make tonight, so no recipe). The rice I made in my rice cooker. No fuss. D dished it up to everyone while I cuddled my Kleenex box.

On a personal note…I don’t usually use any sausages. Just the beans and rice are great, but since falling in love with Tofurkey kielbasa over the weekend, I thought it would be fun. The fennel adds that smokey ‘sausagy’ flavor I remember from New Orleans version.

You may be tempted to add more water….don’t. Otherwise you get a soupy base rather than a gravy base. If you feel it needs more liquid, do it towards the end to not water it down. If you DO end up with it too soupy, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 3 tbsp water and add when you add the sausage and salt.

As a general rule…always add the salt at the end. Cooking raw beans with salt often makes the beans tough.

This meal keeps brilliantly in the freezer for the next time your nose is falling off and the idea of cooking is at the bottom of your list.

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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

10 thoughts on “Why Crockpots are a Girls Best Friend

  1. I, too, am a fan of the crock pot! I use it a lot in the fall and winter for chilis and soups but now that I use the pressure cooker for beans I may branch out … and try seitan in my crock pot! (eep!)

  2. I love smoky flavors and my slow cooker (also rice maker) has only been utilized as such once. Can’t wait to try this, thanks for the tips!

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