- corned beef (and cabbage, but I have to microwave the veggies when I get home)
A suggestion for this, instead of using the microwave . . . Put the cabbage into the crock-pot (on medium) and stir it up/under the meat. Take half of the liquid out of the crock-pot and use it to boil the potatoes. This brings the flavor of the corned beef into the potatoes. If there isn't enough liquid add a bottle of beer, beef broth or water. I use halved baby red potatoes, which cook up in about 1/2 hour. The cabbage should be al-dente when the potatoes are done.
Chili is an excellent thought. It seems like the more it simmers together the better it is.
Try a nice big chuck roast. Season it with: cumin, garlic, onion, or whatever, cooking it with enough liquid of your choice to cover the meat. Add poblano peppers (or your choice of spicy hot) when you get home and turn the crock pot on high. The beef should be tender-fork-pull apart like your pork is. Serve with soft flour tortillas and enchilada sauce . . . your taste may vary.
If you're a Stroganoff type person? season the chuck steak in that way.
I don't like mushy veggies. So for the storgnoff example I'd add the mushrooms and gravy base when I got home.
Most of my recipes are for 8 or 9 hours.
12 hours is a long time so you need a strong meat base with a lot of liquid.
Outdoor Girl gave an excellent suggestion with the start/stop timer.[/list]