Jul 152010

I live in the South. In case you didn’t know, it gets hot here. Hot and humid. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. But I have 20lbs of potatoes from Costco that I need to use up. (I made Shepherd’s Pie and Potato Soup for a friend last week, and bought more potatoes than I needed.) So I thought, “baked potatoes sound good. But I don’t want to heat up the house. I wonder if they’d cook in a slow cooker?”

A quick search on Google later and I was armed with a recipe (method, really) for cooking potatoes in a slow cooker or crock pot.

It couldn’t have been easier – poke the potatoes with a fork (I used a knife – just be careful!), wrap in foil, and place in slow cooker.

The foil-wrapped potatoes inside the slow cooker

The foil wrapped potatoes in the slow cooker. The hole in the foil is where I checked for doneness.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Or, if you’re like me and forget to put them in the crock pot until early afternoon, cook them on high for 3-4 hours. (These were really big potatoes, so I cooked them about 5 hours, but I think they were done before that.)

A slow cooker-baked potato

Doesn't it look fluffy and light?

Talk about delicious, fluffy, wonderful potatoes! Light as air, cooked all the way through even though these were monster spuds. My husband and I were both amazed. And the kitchen stayed cool! (Well, cool-er. I still turn the air up during the day so it was 78 degrees, but dinner didn’t make it worse.) I bet I could’ve turned the crock pot to warm and held them for hours, too.

Stagg Steakhouse Chili and Bush's Red Beans

Stagg Steakhouse Chili and Bush's Red Beans

We ate them with cheese, sour cream, and a can of Stagg Steakhouse Chili that I stretched with a can of beans. (The chili has real ingredients on the label for the most part and tastes really good out of the can. I buy at Costco.) The chili’s a little high in fat, so adding the beans cuts the fat in each serving. And it’s a little spicy for my husband, so the beans mellow that as well. I would have preferred kidneys to red beans, I think, but didn’t have any on hand. (Added to grocery list, rest assured.)

Chili-topped slow cooker baked potato

Doesn't that look yummy?

So a fluffy potato with the sharpness of aged cheddar cheese (we like Cabot Extra Sharp – the 2lb blocks are crumblier and tastier) combined with the spiciness and extra protein of the chili, slightly tamed with the coolness of the sour cream. We also had a salad on the side to up the health factor and add a green veg. Talk about a great, quick, and cool dinner! And dinner tomorrow night! And whatever potatoes are left after that, I’ll slice and cook as home fries with dinner the day after that. Easy and I’ve done most of my dinner cooking for the next three days. Or rather, the slow cooker did most of my cooking!

I see a Game Night with a baked potato bar in my future very soon!