7 Benefits of Slow Cooker Recipes
What's in your slow cooker today?
Although you can use your slow cooker any time of year, many people associate them with the warm, rich foods of autumn and winter. Today is cold -11C (or 12F) but I know for some it’s too cold – tobogganing had to be postponed because it was -18F (or -27C).
It’s true that slow cookers are ideal for meaty stews and other hearty winter dishes. They are also economical. Regardless of what style or size of slow cooker you have, there are other benefits to using a slow cooker as well. Here are 7 reasons to consider pulling it out from the back of the cupboard.
1. 9-5er’s Friend
The slow cooker can be your best friend on work day, especially if you are going to be gone all day. While quick-cooking foods can be convenient, a slow cooker allows you to be gone all day while dinner cooks. There are some breakfast foods you can allow to cook all night, too, so that you can awake to a hot breakfast or have a meal ready to take to a morning or afternoon potluck.
2. Extra for the Freezer
One of the great advantages of the slow cooker is that you can cook extra food for the freezer. You can have a slow cooker going any day of the week, including days when you are cooking stovetop meals.
For example, I make a double batch of Steve’s favourite chili and then cool and freeze half the meal when it’s done. I can defrost the freezer container in the fridge during the day and reheat in a pot on the stove. We top it with fresh salsa.
3. Cheaper Meat
Slow cookers allow you to get away with cheaper cuts of meat. The moisture contained in a slow cooker combined with a low temperature will tenderize tough meats and connective tissue. One of our occasional treats is a slow cooker pork shoulder roast. Also, you can make a very tasty stock using cheap cuts of meat and bones. I save bones, skin and fats from the prep work (not from someone’s plate) in the freezer and when the bag is mostly full, make a batch of broth.
4. Low Energy Use
A slow cooker on your counter uses a lot less energy than a conventional oven. Even though it’s on for hours, the slow cooker uses low temperatures and contained heat, so there’s less energy output needed to keep it hot.
You’d be amazed at what you can make with your slow cooker. Most people associate them with roasts and stews, and slow cookers are great for that. However, I have also made jams, sauces, and desserts. I’ve even read that you can make bread in your slow cooker, or yogurt with the right recipe.
6. Easy Clean-Up
While you can’t submerge the metal heating unit that surrounds the crock, you can submerge the crock. It’s usually very easy to clean, as most crocks are glazed ceramic. Also, with many recipes, you have a complete meal in one pot, so you don’t have lots of saucepans and bowls to wash.
I use a mild detergent with baking soda and hot water to get it clean. It’s easier than metal pots but be sure not to use metal utensils that might scratch the finish inside the crock.
7. Low Temperatures
Have you ever been frustrated by burned, scorched, or stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pan foods? One of the things that a slow cooker can help avoid is burned food. The low temperatures mean you won’t have to deal with those high-heat or burning problems.
Ready to get started with slow cooker recipes? Try one of these tested and delicious recipes »