Crock pot lessons:
-Just because it's done doesn't mean it's seasoned. People who serve bland, tasteless crockpot meals tend to have just scooped it straight from the pot to the plate, and in the long cooking process anything potent or strong tasting has had the living hell cooked out of it. You season, and re season, and for the love of god add a freaking acid component. Stews and soups, and anything of the like need a splash of vinegar or citrus as the last step. I used to work in a kitchen, and I forgot to add an acid component to one of the beef stews, and I thought my boss was going to kick me to the curb he hated it so much. It cuts a rich dish and makes everything pop. Some spices/aromatics that are good for a long cook: 1 whole head of garlic, the flesh of a lemon (NOT the rind or the pith, pith will make it bitter and rind will taste nasty especially for limes unless they are added immediately before serving), a whack of lemon grass, a big chunk of fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, roasted cumin seeds (all roasted WHOLE spices will cook out wonderfully, then add more ground components when done), dried mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, dried teas, dried flowers,etc.
-It is a means to an end, but not the very end. The crockpot is a lifesaver if you know how to use it properly, but it is not the final dish. At least in my opinion. I personally never ever put any vegetable other than onions/carrots/celery for french stews, but then I strain those veggies out and throw them out because they are bland and useless after cooking for so long. Stew your meat- get it fabulously tender sitting in loads of it's own fat. Now use it for something. Make some pulled pork. Shred up that chicken and throw it in coconut milk and have yourself a curry. Put that beef in a demi-glaze from the juices, then die and go to heaven. Add some fresh, crunchy veg and turn the heat up to steam it for 15 minutes, then serve right away. Pour whatever meaty stew-ish concoction you have over raw julienned vegetable. Don't skip the browning step. If you are too lazy to break out your cast iron, roast your bones and meat and bits in a very hot oven until seared.
-Use fat. Lots of it. It should be a fatty cut, or your should be breaking out your needles and sewing in some fat. For best texture, your crockpot concoction should take place over 2 days. One day, cooking the whole day, then chill it over night. Skim off the excessive fat and scum. The next day, throw it through a strainer, heat it up in a pot to reduce, then put the meat back in and stir to heat and coat.
Crock pots can produce fabulous meals if you just take a "this isn't done" approach. That makes it sound like maybe crock pots aren't that useful if they are still work- but at the end of the day, it's very little effort. Plus, the best meals I have ever had, at the hands of line cooks from my high end restaurant, have been slow cooked, crock pot, fabulous meals. Short ribs to die for, beef cheek that makes you cry, and some wonderful roasts shredded and filled with succulent reduced broth and seasoning.