Of course, the easiest way out would be to get someone else to do it or have it catered or just take everybody out to eat, but since I usually can't do any of those things, the next best solution that I have found is the slow cooker.
The crock pot is a great invention for people who really don't have much time to cook, those who are working full-time, maybe raising a family, and commuting to and from work, as well as ferrying kids to their various activities. Been there, done that, and have the wrinkles to prove it.
Now, I have the time to cook, but I really prefer to spend that time doing other things that I enjoy more, so the crock pot is still one of my best friends in the kitchen, right up there with my ancient KitchenAid stand mixer and my food processor. One-pot meals are my favorite way to go and it's really hard to mess up such a recipe. You just kind of toss everything into the crock pot and let it do the work for you.
One way you can mess it up is with the seasonings. Too much or too little of a good thing makes a really big difference in the way the food tastes. That's why I was interested when I ran across this blog post today (one day too late!) which had a helpful hint about seasoning food in the slow cooker.
Hold back on the seasoning when you prepare your meal, then reinforce it at the end. Fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of hot sauce also go a long way."Well, big duh!," you might be saying, but, as I said at the beginning, I am not a great cook and it's something that I just hadn't really thought about. I tend to season my food as I put it in the pot and sometimes it winds up over- or under-seasoned. I'm going to try to remember this tip for the future though, and who knows? Maybe it will make a better cook of me. I may never achieve greatness, but maybe I can at least achieve...mediocrity.