So about a month ago I decided to buy a crockpot. I was thinking how nice it would be to just toss some stuff in there in the morning and come home to a ready to eat meal at the end of the day, and just to make food in bulk to have over the course of a few days or perhaps in the freezer or whatever other possibilities come from having a crockpot.
But it’s pretty much sat on my table unused (except for cheese fondue, which I love, but isn’t quite the reason I got it) since I got it. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me to just dive into it. I guess for one thing, the sheer amount of recipes online is overwhelming, and for another, though I’ve been living in Germany for a few years now, I still hesitate when I read too many ingredients that I’m just unsure of where to get here or if they’re even available. Sure laziness plays a role.
Anyway, I just want to go simple right now. So I’m figuring chile con carne for my first real attempt. It seems to me the type of food most perfectly suited to the crockpot and it should be simple enough. Question: I’ve seen recipes online that call for browning the chopped meat in a pan first. Cannot I not cook the raw meat directly in the crock pot? Because this is a minor step back away from the blissful laziness I was hoping to support by having a crockpot in the first place.
Does this apply to meat in general? Because I also bought a big hunk of the cheapest steak I could find in the store. I plan to use that for my 2nd attempt.
Ok, back to the chile. So lets say I want to add some veggies. I currently have in the house onions, red bell peppers, and white mushrooms I think. Do I just toss those in at the same time? What about the hot sauce? I’ve got canned red kidney beans (that’s sadly the extent of the beans I can get at my typical market here). Oh, got cans of corn too.
So basically, help me get started. What common food items can I toss in when?
Oh, and do I need cooking spray first? Other general tips?