I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m always looking for a way to get a healthy, homemade dinner on the table without a lot of fuss. I really don’t like to take a lot of time to make dinner, so I am always looking for fast and easy recipes that will work for us. Crock pot recipes can be really helpful especially on days when I have to work late. As a result, I’m always cruising the internet looking for a new recipes to try. While I was researching the pizza pull apart bread, I noticed a link on the bottom of the page at StockpilingMoms.com. The link advertised a complete pork chop dinner in a crock pot. The accompanying photo showed a pork chop some potatoes and a vegetable plated and ready to eat. It looked delicious. How could I resist? I had to give it a try.
Here’s what I did.
Then I placed them in the bottom of the crock pot and added 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. (My photography skills still stink, and I realize that I need to learn food styling techniques, too. I’ll have to add “Learn Food Styling Techniques” to my list of things to do.)
The recipe called for red or white potatoes, but I had sweet potatoes that I needed to use. I peeled the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. I arranged them on a foil sheet, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and dropped on some butter. I folded them up in the foil, making a pouch, like I would if I was cooking in a camp fire.
The crock pot was turned on to low, and the contents were allowed to cook for 8 hours. Usually, if I am cooking something that I’m not sure will tolerate a longer cooking time, such as this recipe, I assemble the ingredients in the removable crock, I leave this in the refrigerator, and when it’s about 8 hours before I will come home, Baker’s Man puts it into the crock pot and turns it on.
That was what we did in this case. When I came home, a delicious aroma greeted me. I went into the kitchen and removed the foil pouches from the crock pot. This was not as easy as it sounds because they were very hot, and they had steam building up inside of them so they were a bit swollen. I ended up using kitchen tongs to remove them, but I split open the sweet potatoes’ pouch in the struggle, so I lost quite a bit of the butter into the bottom of the crock pot.
What did we think? I knew the minute that I opened the brussels sprouts that they were seriously over cooked. They had that overly dark appearance. I will confess that I used frozen brussels sprouts and their pouch was stored in the freezer until it was time to turn on the crock pot. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that they turned to mush when we applied only the pressure of our tongues. We ate them, but as Sue Chef says, “It made my mouth sad.” As a consolation, I made some blanched broccoli which met with everyone’s approval. I may have had better success if I had started with fresh, raw brussels sprouts instead of frozen. Next time, I may try fresh ones.
The sweet potatoes were perfectly cooked. We didn’t even miss the buttery liquid that spilled into the bottom of the crock pot. I will definitely explore potatoes in the crock pot in the future.
The pork chops were tender. They were sitting in a huge puddle of liquid in the bottom of the crock pot, and this seemed to dilute the flavor of all the seasoning. I would have expected them to be moist, but they were a bit dry. I read this complaint in the comment section of a similar recipe. Unfortunately, I can’t find the site again. When I do, I will link to it. One site, suggests that perhaps I overcooked the pork chops and that’s why they were dry, or maybe I used too tender a cut of meat. Whatever the reason, We added extra barbecue sauce to both moisten the meat and add back some of the flavor lost during cooking.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad meal, but if I make it again, I may just use a pork roast instead of the chops. A larger piece of meat can’t be overcooked so quickly, and I’ve had good results cooking roasts in my crock pot. I really like the idea of cooking an entire meal in the crock pot without it being all mixed together. When I do this again, I will cook the potatoes in the same way, but I think that if I add vegetables, it will probably only be for the last hour or two. That way, they won’t become over cooked and mushy. Hopefully, my next attempt will be better and Sue Chef’s mouth will be happy instead of sad.
As we progress toward warmer weather and I won’t want to be using my oven so much, I intend to explore more crock pot recipes. One thing that I know I will definitely be researching is how to bake potatoes in a crock pot. We love baked potatoes, but rarely have them during warm weather because I don’t want to turn on the oven. If they come out well in the crock pot, it will open up many new dinner options during the summer. I’ll let you know how it works out.
Thanks for stopping by Patty Cake’s Pantry.