Queen of the crockpot

Wednesday, October 29th 2008, 12:07 pm
By: News 9

By Darren Brown, News9.com INsite Team

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco, California is home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the famous Pier 39. Fresh seafood is plentiful here, but just outside the city, there's a woman who provides her own catch of the day, with a crockpot.

"I'm a lazy cook. I don't like stirring, or standing over the stove, or checking on things in the oven," Stephanie O'Dea said. "My goal usually is to be out of the kitchen by noon every day."

Watch O'Dea's tip on what size crockpots to buy, depending on the size of your family. 

O'Dea admits she's not the world's greatest cook. She's fine with that, but she definitely knows her way around a crockpot. She has been cooking with one for years.

"I started reading a bunch of food blogs for blog-her, and realized there wasn't one on crockpot cooking, and that was the only way I know how to cook," O'Dea said. "I joked around with Adam (her husband) that I would start one and he didn't laugh. And he got out the camera and the crockpot and we took some pictures."

In January, Stephanie O'Dea became the ‘Crockpot Queen' and her daily blog was born to share her crockpot passion with the rest of the world.

"Within a few days, I was featured on a pretty popular blog called ‘Today's Creative Blog,' and I went from getting three visits a day, two of which were me, to 400 in a few hours," O'Dea said.

Stephanie's daily blog visits are up to around 15,000, and while the blog takes up quite a bit of her time, it doesn't take away from her daily crockpot adventures.

Watch O'Dea's tip on how to make quick easy meals in a crockpot.

"I'm going to have a whole chicken and I'm going to put a quartered onion inside the cavity with four cloves of garlic. It's like Thanksgiving. I'm actually looking forward to doing a whole Thanksgiving dinner in the crockpot. I have six right now, so I figure I can just kind of line them up on the counter and have all the different side dishes," O'Dea said.

Of course with 365 recipes comes the possibility of 365 crash and burns. O'Dea claims she's had her share.

"You cannot make bacon-wrapped scallops in the crockpot. It doesn't work and it's gross. And you've wasted $65 on fresh scallops," O'Dea said.

She's also had recipes emailed to her that don't turn out as tasty as she'd hoped.

"I posted a recipe today that quite a few people emailed me to test out, and it's pumpkin black bean soup. It was gross. It was absolutely disgusting," O'Dea said.

Many readers thank her for her honesty though and willingness to test out recipes so they don't have to.

Watch and learn how to make cheesecake in a crockpot, which is one of O'Dea's favorites.

But Stephanie's success is measured not by the number of visits to her blog, recipes failures or recipe successes,  it's measured by the amount of time she saves. All the extra time goes toward her family.

"I will not do this every day for a year again. I've promised my husband I will not. I've promised the children I will not, but the blog won't die and I'll probably add every week or so," O'Dea said.

Her crockpot tips have also saved her family, and many others plenty of money. From cooking extra food for leftover lunches to making homemade broths, the ways to save are endless.

Watch O'Dea's tip on how to save money and eat healthier.

"Most of the recipes I get, I get from reading cookbooks or food blogs. And they're tried and true recipes from the stovetop or oven, and I just find a way to make them in the crockpot," O'Dea said.

To try out some crockpot recipes, click on Stephanie O'Dea's favorite recipes, or visit her daily blog 'A Year of CrockPotting.'