Me vs. the slow cooker

In my house, I do all the cooking. Well, 98.7% of it. My husband can do pasta, or chicken fingers, but if it’s anything from scratch – I’m your girl.

And I’m okay with this.

You see, my darling husband does all the laundry. I’m talking collecting, washing, drying, folding and putting it all away. He even changes the sheets.

So pass the pots and pans anytime!

But this past August, I started a new job. A job that took me back downtown, or is it uptown? Either way, I’m not home until about 6:30 most evenings. (Can’t wait to see what the winter weather brings to that commute timing)

That means I search my numerous cookbooks and scour the World Wide Web for quick and easy, and healthy recipes that the whole family will love. This is not an easy task as the Little Bird prefers meatless dishes and the Little Mouse would rather eat pizza or pasta every day.

So while perusing Pinterest I came across all these freezer meals and crock pot dishes. So I started to try them. I mean, if they work for so many other families, they are sure to work for mine, right?

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I’ve made pork chops with mushrooms and gravy, beef stroganoff, beef stew, chicken chili, beef and bell pepper, and pulled pork. Just to name a few.

Each and every time (with the exception of the pulled pork) each dish is over-cooked, dry and burnt. Do you know how hard it is to pretend that bone-dry, leather-like pork chops are DE-LICIOUS, so your 5 year old will eat it?!

I figured out that because I leave the house too early (most days at 7 am) and don’t get home until 6:30 pm, that it’s just too long for anything to cook and come out looking – let alone tasting – good.

So, I scrapped that idea and tried the freezer meals, and only tried them on days when I knew somebody could start the slow cooker at a later time, such as school PA Days, or on the weekend. Which doesn’t really help me in my struggle for the weekday meal, but I had to try.

I actually liked preparing these meals, as it took a couple of hours one weekend and I had 3 meals prepped and ready to go. For this experiment, I made creamy Italian chicken, teriyaki chicken, sausage with peppers and onions.

While each of these meals cooked for the proper time (between 4-7 hours), they still didn’t go over well. The teriyaki chicken was too sweet, as it’s not a flavor I usually cook with and all three critics at the table didn’t like it. I personally liked the creamy Italian chicken, but the kids weren’t crazy about it. And while my husband’s favourite was the sausage with peppers and onions, the kids hated the peppers.

So, I am literally throwing my hands up. I give up.

The slow cooker takes the win, the title and bragging rights.

I have since put it away, and will save it for the days when I want to make pulled pork, as that is always a favourite, and what I originally used the contraption for in the first place.

So you must be wondering what I’m feeding my family. No, they are not starving and we are not eating out every night. I have found a selection of dishes that I can prep in the morning for my husband to throw into the oven. Other meals are ones I know that I can put together in about a half hour. My family has come to terms with eating at a later time, and that’s just our new reality.

Yes, this later time, is the reason for many meltdowns while we’re doing homework, or waiting for things to be ready, but I have to say they are getting used to it.

We all are.

And I also know some of you are thinking that my husband could learn to cook a few more things than chicken fingers and French fries, however I really don’t mind. If I’m tired and feel like making pancakes for breakfast, he doesn’t complain. If I want to make frozen fish and frozen vegetables on a night when we have to run out to swimming, he doesn’t say a peep. He eats what I make and does the laundry.

Did I mention that I don’t even know how to use our machines? We got new ones a year ago and I have never run them. Ever.

So again, I’ll take this nice arrangement we have and keep searching for quick and easy recipes that my family will enjoy.

Do you have some go-to family recipes? Please help a mamma out and share them below.

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