Advantages to using a slow cooker
Best Kitchen Invention?
Slow cookers, in my opinion, are the best kitchen invention since the coffee maker. All you have to do is toss in the ingredients, set the temperature and timer (on some models) and walk away. You do not have to hover over a slow cooker to make sure it won't boil over. No stirring or turning is required and you don't have to keep checking to make sure the food isn't burning.
Another huge benefit of a slow cooker is the versatility. Anything from appetizers to desserts can be made in a slow cooker. Recipe modifications may be necessary, but that is easy enough with a quick internet search.
It is time to dive just a bit deeper into the wonderful world of slow cookers and the many benefits they offer.
By using a slow cooker, you can eliminate a lot of those pesky pots and pans that have to be washed later. Many people enjoy a home cooked meal, but do not enjoy the clean up that waits for them in the kitchen. This is one of the main things that discourage some people from wanting to cook at home. After spending hours preparing and cooking the food, then you get to spend a couple of hours cleaning up the mess? Not with a slow cooker!
One pot cooking at its finest is what a slow cooker can offer you. You may have to wash cutting boards, knives and things like that, but no more dirty stoves and stacks of pots and pans. You don't even have to worry about washing the crock right away. The leftovers can be kept in the crock and stored in the fridge for the next day.
The best thing about cooking with a slow cooker is the various recipes you can use. You can cook desserts, soups, pork chops and just about anything else you can think of in a slow cooker. No worries about dry meats or burned edges on your favorite recipes.
Another way a slow cooker is versatile is that You can store the leftovers in the crock itself. Once the crock has cooled, just put the lid on and put it in the fridge. Most people would not store leftovers in a pot or pan which means finding a storage container and then washing the pan.
A great thing about a slow cooker being a self contained cooking unit, is that it can go with you. Simply secure the lid and you are ready to hit the road. Many box stores carry insulated bags made just for slow cookers. The whole unit can go, including the base. It can be plugged in to keep the food warm (the "warm" setting is not available on all slow cooker models), as long as there is an electrical outlet.
Slow cookers can be used when camping or spending the day/weekend at a lake. Anywhere you have access to electrical outlets/power supply, a slow cooked meal can be waiting for you after a day of fun. There are adapters available for some slow cooker models that even allow to cook while driving in an RV!
Oh the aroma!
The smell of delicious food simmering can make even the dreariest winter day seem more pleasant. There is just something special about cold days and slow cooked meals. After a long day of work or play, a hearty home cooked meal just hits the spot. Those winter days are perfect for a slow simmered chili or stew or maybe a pot roast with all the veggies.
Never fear, slow cookers are great during the warmer months as well. In fact, a slow cooker can be a life saver during the heat of the summer when cooking and baking sound just awful. Not too many people like the thought of standing over a hot stove to prepare a meal. The slow cooker barely radiates any heat at all and requires no effort during the cooking process. So even in the hottest part of the summer, you can revel in that fabulous aroma.
Slow cooker tips
Tips for using a slow cooker
There can be some confusion when it comes to times and temperatures when using a slow cooker for the first few times. It pays to either look up slow cooker versions of your favorite recipes or invest in a slow cooker cookbook. Once you get the hang of using your slow cooker, it becomes a valuable asset in the kitchen.
- One thing to remember is that slow cookers generate steam, which turns into condensation. It is for this reason that you want to add less liquids when cooking.
- Never open the lid during cook time. Lifting the lid will allow steam and heat to escape. This can compromise cooking as well as invite bacteria into the cooker.
- Browning meat before placing in slow cooker is not necessary. However, it can add a nice flavor to certain dishes.
Budget friendly choices
Slow cookers are available in a wide variety of colors, styles and sizes. You can find one to meet your cooking requirements. From single serve to family size, one dish to buffet and the choices don't stop there. If you want to color coordinate your kitchen, slow cookers come in all kinds of different colors. Maybe you want to have a rooster themed kitchen, there are slow cookers that come in that design!
It is not too difficult to find a slow cooker that will fit your budget. Some cookers have extra features which makes those a little more expensive. However, you can get a fairly nice cooker for around $20 at most box stores.
Ease and convenience
Slow cookers are great for days when you just don't want to babysit the stove or oven. In fact, a slow cooker is perfect for just about any day. With less mess to clean up and being self-sufficient, you can't go wrong.
Slow cookers are available in wide variety of styles, sizes and colors. You are guaranteed to find one (or two) that will fit your needs as well as your budget. The crocks are easily washed by hand and some are even dishwasher safe.
© 2014 Tammy Cramblett