Parenthackers are the best (as if that weren't already obvious). In response to my plea for Crock Pot help, so many of you offered advice, book suggestions, recipes…wonderful! Let me share the highlights:
Check your crock pot's temperature. Apparently many of them cook too hot, leading to that bland, boiled taste. epeepunk even included a link to directions for testing your crock pot's temp. Both epeepunk and hedra recommended the All-Clad Slow Cooker as a well-calibrated alternative.
Most slow cooker cookbooks are junk. But not these books! These got good reviews in the comments.
- Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker by Beth Hensperger (she also has slow cooker books geared toward meals for two and entertaining)
- Slow Cooker Ready and Waiting by Rick Rodgers
- The Gourmet Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley (she also has a book on slow-cooked comfort food)
Lots of links to favorite recipes! Check 'em out:
- /tinyurl.com/3gcj77 (link to Martha Stewart's Beef Stew)
Some folks typed their favorite straight into the comments (and the Carnitas have already gotten a good review from another reader).
Thanks again, everyone!
Feel free to add comments to the original post if you have more to say.