Jenna Marwitz never uses her oven anymore.
All of her family's meals are prepared in a Crock-Pot.
Marwitz is half the duo known as The Crockin' Girls, business partners from Brownwood who have created an international online following of their recipes and how-to videos for slow cookers.
"We're bringing our generation to this style of cooking," said Marwitz, 26, a mother of two. "If I know at 10 a.m. that dinner is ready, then I can relax. So we've turned crock from a noun to an action verb. We are crockin'."
Now, Marwitz and best friend Nicole Sparks, 32, are working to showcase recipes and slow-cooker techniques in a cookbook slated for publication in time for Mother's Day.
To help decide which recipes will make the cut, they staged a three-day crock-a-thon this week in Southlake to prepare, taste-test and photograph about 160 recipes, mainly submitted by their online community.
An army of professionals and amateur cooks gathered at a commercial kitchen off Texas 114, where 34 slow cookers of various sizes and brands bubbled away.
A professional chef did the prep work, chopping vegetables and browning meat. Then, more than a dozen women were recruited to follow the recipes, choosing ingredients from a pile of pantry staples such as canned golden mushroom soup and diced tomatoes.
A food stylist determined how to present the dishes, arranging pineapples with a baked ham and cutting zucchini bread into uniform slices. Another stylist arranged the food before it was photographed. Several graphic designers huddled at laptops putting together the initial design and format for the cookbook.
Kristi Herrold, a Keller mother of three, was one of the "crockers" hired to test the recipes, spending Wednesday making cobbler, tapioca pudding and nachos. "I learned a lot about food. I'd never cooked anything other than main dishes in my Crock-Pot. Now I'm thinking, for a Super Bowl party, of making a dessert," Herrold said.
Leftovers were packed up in smaller portions, and on Thursday, 110 plastic containers were delivered to the GRACE charity to be distributed to senior citizens next week.
The road to Internet notoriety began when Marwitz started helping Sparks with child care and they made slow-cooker meals to save time. She posted recipes on her own Facebook page, and in August, Marwitz, Sparks and another friend launched a public Facebook page to swap recipes with other moms.
In two weeks, their Crock Pot Girls page swelled to 1 million fans, they said. They eventually changed their name to Crockin' Girls because Crock-Pot is a trademark.
Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326