Cooking gadgets are some of my favorite gifts. When I was in college, I got my first crock pot for my 20th birthday. I was VERY excited (and my roommate thought I was crazy -- love you A!). Not only are crock pots great for bringing food somewhere and serving it hot (like to Fat Friday at my old work), they're also awesome for entirely stress-free meals.
Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff
This morning, before leaving for work, I put 2 lbs of thinly sliced beef (cut into strips), 1 lb of sliced crimini mushrooms, 2 medium sliced white onions, 1 can of beef broth, 3/4 C sherry, and some spices (approx 1/2 tsp thyme, 1-1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder) in my crock pot (low heat, 8 hours). I came home to a wonderful smelling apartment (which I could smell from the hallway) and a crock pot full of (almost) Beef Stroganoff!
Forty minutes later, after stirring in (whisked together) sour cream (1-1/2 cups) and flour (1/2 cup), and cooking some egg noodles and peas, Joe and I had a dinner that tasted like I had been home slaving over the stove all day. I love crock pots!