CRESTVIEW — Trying quickly to prepare one of her husband’s favorite meals has won a local woman free groceries for a year, $500 in Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes and bragging rights for when her friends pop over to sample her culinary creations.
Sherri Williams decided to modify her recipe for the braised short ribs her husband, Roy, enjoys. Since she was using one of the Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes in a slow cooker, she entered the company’s cooking contest.
“I had a basic recipe in mind, but I used their Crock-Pot seasoning and it actually came out better than mine,” she said
She entered the Crockin’ in the USA Contest — which she learned about on Facebook — and won.
“Sherri was one of hundreds of entrants who took up the challenge to create a delicious, easy meal for her family with one of the new Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes,” Crock-Pot spokesperson Megan Carroll stated in an email. “Sherri’s recipe … had the judges asking for seconds!”
‘I love cooking’
“The funny thing about it is I didn’t start cooking in the Crock-Pot until about two years ago, though I’ve been cooking since I was 12,” Williams said. “I use it a few times a month now.”
She enjoys using her slow cooker so much that she bought three more.
“I have actually used at least three of them at one time before,” Williams said.
After a hard day’s work as a Destin condominium complex’s manager, Williams finds solace in her Crestview kitchen.
“Cooking is very therapeutic to me,” she said. “I can work all day and then go home and spend eight hours in the kitchen. I know it sounds crazy, but I love cooking.”
Convenience with slow cooking
Williams likes to try out new recipes for her friends and family, and her slow cookers figure prominently.
“Anything you can use in a Dutch oven you can put in a Crock-Pot. Just adjust the temperature,” Williams said. “They have one Crock-Pot you can actually program. I don’t have that fancy one yet. The ones I have now are doing just fine.”
The ease of cooking in a slow cooker is attractive for someone with a full-time job, Williams said.
“I like that I can prep everything the night before and put it on in the morning, and when I get home, all I have to do is finish it up and dinner’s ready in no time,” she said. “It’s also easy clean-up, too. Nobody likes to do the dishes.”
Williams said she often uses Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes in her recipes because “you don’t have to use them for what they’re made for.”
“I’ve used those seasonings in quite a few things. I did soups, and I did some pinto beans with a ham hock and I used their barbecue seasoning,” she said. “I’ve actually mixed the packet with extra virgin olive oil and made a marinade. I like trying new recipes and I’m trying different things all the time.”
‘Superstar’ in the kitchen
Williams has entered — and won — several regional and national cooking contests. Her ribs won a grilling contest that sent her to the World Food Championship in Las Vegas, where she mingled with cooking pros from around the world.
“My ribs got me there and I got to meet a lot of my foodie friends,” she said.
Williams’ love of culinary arts began in childhood in her grandmother’s little kitchen.
“My Grandma Logan was my inspiration,” she said. “She had the smallest kitchen I think (I’ve) ever seen, but the creations that came out of it were unbelievable.
“The funny thing is my mom doesn’t really like cooking. We had three (square meals), but it didn’t go much beyond salt and pepper.”
Williams’ flair in the kitchen contrasted with the simplicity of her mother’s cooking, she said.
“I have two brothers and two sisters, but I tell you what, they think I’m a superstar.”
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.