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Photo courtesy of John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net,

Photo courtesy of John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net,

The crock pot is not really a bread baking tool.  Most of the time, anyway.  I hear bread can be baked in the crock pot, but I’ve never tried it.

I actually refer to the crock pot as my kitchen minion; it goes beyond being a mere tool.  I just mix stuff up and throw in and it cooks and mixes the flavors, and I’m off doing other things (like baking!).  I don’t even have to stir.

There are some recipes for the crock pot that involve stirring, or extensive preparation of ingredients.  To me, that defeats the purpose of even using the crock pot, and so I don’t make them.

When I think of all the junk I ate in college when I had my first apartment (to the point I felt the effects on my health), the endless pasta and microwave burritos,  both because they were cheap and because I was too tired most nights after classes to bother cooking much, I shudder.  If I had only thought of using a crock pot.  But I had the idea that it was something that only people my mother’s age used.

I didn’t discover crock pot cooking until after I got married.  Not only did we get two crock pots as wedding gifts, there was a cookbook as well.  I love them for making roasts, but I also make lasagna, Mexican dishes, and stews a lot. I plan to give the bread thing a try soon, just out of curiosity.

Here’s a great recipe my friend Emily passed on to me several years ago.  It’s my favorite kind of crock pot recipe – simple ingredient list and simple preparation, with delicious results.

Chicken Lime Tacos

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
3 Tb. lime juice
1 Tb. chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup chunky salsa
12 tortillas or taco shells

Place chicken in slow cooker.  Combine lime juice and chili powder and pour over chicken.  cover and cook on low 5-6 hours (or on high 2 1/2 to 3 hours) or until chicken is done and tender.

Remove chicken; cool slightly.  Use two forks to shred the chicken, and return it to the cooker.  Stir in corn and salsa.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes (high, 15 minutes) or until heated through.  Serve in tortillas with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.