As the title would indicate, I got a job! I love it – it’s a job that’s tailor-made (pun intended) for my skills and my circumstances, and I adore both the work and the people. I am now, according to the web, a PTWOHM, a Part-Time Work Outside the Home Mom.
I started to write a post about bringing my lunch to work, and what I do to keep it from being boring, then I realized I already wrote it, last year. Short-term memory? Not so much. What’s new this year, though, is my newly-rekindled love for my small crockpot. I have a huge six quart one for making broth, chili, whole chickens, and giant vats of spaghetti sauce, of course, but the diminutive six cup one was consistently relegated to party-related tasks like keeping dip warm. Poor thing.
Three things happened to make me rediscover my mini-crockpot; I got exasperated with the price of (and ingredients in) lunch meat, whole pork loins went on sale, and I had a craving for a good cubano sandwich.
If you’ve never wrangled a whole pork loin before… it’s big. Even with my amateurish butchering technique, I usually get a dozen pork chops and two decent sized roasts out of the deal. This time, I split one of the roasts in half to fit my small slow cooker, rubbed it with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and set the cooker on low. After about six hours, I had super tender, flavorful pork that required almost no time in the kitchen. I sliced it thin, poured about half of the juices from the crock pot over the top, and we dined like sandwich kings all week.
Emboldened, I started making a different sandwich filler every week. Small batches and the minimal attention required gave me freedom to experiment, and soon the Husband was chiming in with ideas as well. Here are a few favorites so far -
- Pork loin with equal parts mustard, garlic, and olive oil, a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary or sage, and a half-teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
- Pork, beef (I use bottom round roast), or boneless skinless chicken breasts, rubbed with mustard and then coated in barbecue spice rub
- Beef or pork roast rubbed with taco seasoning
- Chicken thighs or drumsticks in barbecue sauce, pulled off the bone after cooking and chopped, then put back in the sauce
- pork loin rubbed with hoisin or teriyaki sauce, with a splash or orange juice
My newfound love of the slow cooker for lunches has led to the rediscovery of other lunch meat alternatives – egg salad, meatloaf, meatball subs, and chicken parmesan are all great leftovers-turned-lunches. (Incidentally, I’ve found that all of those taste best when the bread is packed separately so that the sandwich filling can be heated at the last minute.)
Now – can someone invent a slow cooker that also does my laundry?