If the mention of a slow cooker brings to mind heavy handed stews or chicken and roasts smothered in thick, canned soup, it’s time to take a new look at slow cooking. Whether you are flying solo or have an entire flock to feed, you should definitely consider slow cooked meals as an option. Although the basic design is much the same, today’s models also feature programmable timers complete with auto-off and keep warm settings. They range in price from under $20 to $50 and up, and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
Using a slow cooker is a snap once you get the hang of it. A little advance planning goes a long way and it’s possible to use your slow cooker for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to saving time, this type of cooking is also money saving because it can make great use of economical root vegetables and tenderize less expensive cuts of meat.
For healthy hot cereals like steel cut oats and multi grain blends, simply follow the recipes and turn it on before bedtime. Viola! A steaming bowl of cinnamon laced oatmeal is a sure crowd pleaser. If you have two crock-pots, you can also make a batch of homemade applesauce to go with it!
Hearty soups and one-pot meals like chili or beef stew are great for lunch or dinner. Did you know that you can prepare a beef roast, baking hen, or turkey breast while you’re at the office or out Christmas shopping? There are even appetizers, breads, cakes, and side dishes that work beautifully in a slow cooker. For some wonderful recipe ideas, including low-fat and vegetarian meals, check out one of these:
Slow Cooker Recipes from Martha Stewart (she’s even got one for brownies!)
You also might want to check out the internet sensation Crockin’ Girls on Facebook. Click on the page’s Forum tab for about a bazillion slow cooker recipes.
Here a recipe for cooking a turkey in a crockpot from Rocky Barragan: