03 February 2011

Surprising uses for the Crock-Pot Little Dipper

At Amazon: Crock-Pot Little Dipper
At Amazon: Crock-Pot Little Dipper

The single-use appliance. No self-respecing Parenthacker would own one, right? Well, I do: the Crock-Pot Little Dipper (it's a slow cooker that holds 1.5 cups of food).

I got it as a gift several years ago and haven't been able to bring myself to give it away despite never using it. I'm just not a hot dip kind of gal.

But I am a hot oatmeal kind of gal! The Little Dipper is the perfect tool for a single serving of overnight oatmeal!

My interest piqued, I asked the Twitter-Facebook-iverse for other uses for the Little Dipper, and many came back I've never considered.

  • Server for chocolate fondue
  • Diffuser for essential oils
  • Method for taking sauces to parties
  • Water warmer for a sitz bath (no, you don't sit on the Little Dipper)

On Twitter, @cpellgr passed along this tiny recipe for chicken taco filling she makes in the Little Dipper: 2-3 chicken breasts, 1 cup of water, and 1 packet of taco seasoning (she uses Penzeys Taco Seasoning). [Edited to note that she uses a regular 1.5 quart slow cooker for this recipe. See her comment below. - Ed.]

On the Parent Hacks Facebook page, Teri suggested steeping orange slices with mulling spices to make the house smell good. Jody uses hers to keep melted wax hot for batik. Another PHer pointed to the fabulous site A Year of Slow Cooking for more Little Dipper recipes (there are a bunch).

Do you have a surprising use (or favorite recipe) for the Little Dipper?

Related: Help me -- I want to love my Crock Pot! Talk amongst yourselves.

More: Tons of mealtime tips, hacks and recipes in the Mealtime archive

Your comments

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My hubby is a carpenter, and on some job sites there is no microwave to reheat leftovers (plus he refuses to eat them cold). So this winter, he brought it along, put in his food an hour or two before lunch, and he said it was perfect!

Oh, whoops! I didn't realize the Little Dipper was quite THAT little. The recipe for chicken taco filling fits in a 1.5-QUART slow-cooker, not a 1.5-CUP cooker. My apologies!

Not a problem, Catherine. Let's just say it's a recipe for very tiny chickens!

I haven't tried, but I wonder if you could use it as a bottle warmer? (Or, by extension, as a way to scald breastmilk if you have excess lipase? Yes, I know this is probably useful to only a small segment of the population. But still...)

(More info on excess lipase: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/lipase-expressedmilk.html and using a bottle warmer to scald milk: http://simplyrebekah.com/2010/05/03/excess-lipase-scalding-breast-milk/)

I used it for a hot breakfast of apple cinnamon barley.


@Jona - they use one as a bottle warmer at my daycare. It just stays on all day and they pop the bottles in as needed.

Well, I AM a hot dip kind of guy! :) In fact, the only thing I've ever used my little dipper for (and have used it a LOT for this) is to serve up a buffalo chicken dip that I stumbled on years ago here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Buffalo-Chicken-Dip/Detail.aspx

(I usually halve it since it makes so much)

After every event where I've brought this, folks demand the recipe...and for me to bring it the next time!

Well there you go, a Hot Dip Advocate! I may have to give it a shot some day. The fact is, where there's warm artichoke dip available, I partake. A lot.

I use this all the time for single servings of whole grains. I plug it in to one of those timers you use for lamps when you're out of town to turn them on and off--I put in 1/4 to 1/2 cups rice, barley, wheat berries, amaranth, quinoa, or kamut, etc., approximately 1 cup water, and set the timer to cook it for 2-3 hours before lunch. It's ready for lunch and fantastic. You can put in nuts (walnuts are particularly good), canned beans (they will split), use broth, or other stuff. Just drain off extra liquid (makes a nice tea).

Anyone know how hot this crock pot gets? I'm hoping to use it to make herb infused oils.

I'm trying to find the right proportions for steel-cut oatmeal in the Little Dipper. Are they posted anywhere? Is anyone willing to share? Please? Oatmeal weather is waning out here in the desert....

Hi Laura: ballpark (I seem to recall): 1 part oatmeal to 4 parts liquid. So not much in the Little Dipper!

The crock-pot little dipper only reaches the warm setting, which is between 165-175. Regular crock pots reach a Max temp of about 215.

I use it to keep almond bark smooth and melted while dipping pretzels (or anything you want chocolate covered). Lay them on wax paper and let them set. So easy and always a hit!

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