Looking back on your life in the last decade, you would almost certainly come to the conclusion that life has become much more fast-paced with time. But innovative technologies and new businesses such as food delivery apps have come to compensate for our lack of time.
But sometimes, don’t you just crave the pleasures of slow-braised, slow-cooked, and hearty home-cooked meals?
If you do, a slow cooker will be your best friend. It is the only thing that can save you if don’t have hours to tend to a slow roast in the oven but still need that fix.
Here are ten reasons why slow cookers make the perfect kitchen appliance.
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As much as we would love to spend a day reading a book and tending to a roast in the oven for over 6 to 8 hours, our days off don’t seem to give us enough time. Time just seems to fly.
This is where slow cookers can come to our rescue. They make slow braising and other recipes incredibly convenient. All you need to do is sear the meat on all sides, and add the root veggies, herbs, and spices. Then let the liquid set in and forget about the whole thing for a while.
You can set the time to cook by following the recipe instructions and starting the slow cooker in the morning as you make breakfast. Then by dinner time, you will have a perfectly juicy braised roast ready for dinner.
The slow cooking process helps tenderize the meat and develop all the flavors we crave in slow-cooked food.
The convenience of slow cookers truly makes them a perfect fit for those struggling to make time for home-cooked meals at home.
Many appliances in the marketplace require a lot of finesse and a learning curve to master the device. As a result, many new or less-experienced home cooks may feel a little apprehensive about using many kitchen appliances.
However, newbies have all the reasons in the world to embrace slow cookers. These appliances (also known as crockpots) are virtually “fool-proof”. That means you can easily use them no matter what your level of cooking proficiency happens to be.
You just have to throw in the ingredients, spices, and liquids and just turn it on. There is a high and low setting with most slow cookers, and that’s all.
There is no risk of burning the food (provided you have enough liquid as the recipe recommends). Turning it on and leaving home for school or work is also very safe.
Slow cookers are perfect for those looking to save on food expenses. With inflation skyrocketing these days, it is only natural that we pay a little extra attention to what we buy and how much we spend at the grocery store.
Slow cookers allow you to cook tough cuts of meat, many of which are relatively less expensive. These cuts come from the animal parts with many connective tissues attached to the muscle fiber. These cuts require a long slow cooking process to tenderize the connective tissues. Think briskets, shoulders, stewing cuts, and shanks.
Here is a recipe for a cheaper cut of beef steak – the flank steak:
Slow Cooker Beef Flank Steak For Fajitas
- 3 multicolored bell peppers sliced and diced.
- 1 large yellow onion diced (or two onions).
- 1.5 lbs of flank steak.
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder.
- 1 teaspoon of paprika.
- 1.5 teaspoon of cumin powder.
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
- 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes (if you want it a little spicy).
- ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 can of diced tomatoes.
- Juice from 1 whole lime.
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed.
- Add the spice blend, veggies, flank steak, garlic, tomatoes, lime juice, and a cup of water into the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low (set it up the night before).
Take it out and slice up the steak and mix it with the liquids and enjoy over tacos, rice, or with a salad.
These meats are incredibly flavorful when cooked right – and the only way to do it is through slow cooking.
This is why slow cookers can save you a ton of food costs. Many budget-friendly recipes online will feed the entire family for just a few cents to a dollar per portion.
From stews, curries, and chillis, there are plenty of hearty meals you can make for the family on a budget. The other beautiful thing is that you will have leftovers that can continue to feed your family lunch and even dinner for days.
Pretty much all dishes made with a slow cooker can be stored well for days and can be kept frozen for weeks.
Our hectic busy schedules leave us little energy or time to make dinner from scratch every night of the week. However, ordering takeout or eating out is neither healthy nor cheap.
So, many experts recommend adopting batch cooking into your life to make meals for the entire week on one or two days of the week.
This is where slow cookers can play an invaluable role! Generally, a family-sized slow cooker can make a huge batch of a dish that can feed your family for several days at a stretch.
In other words, slow cookers make batch cooking a breeze! You can make a batch of beef stew, butter chicken, or shredded pork for the week and plan two to three meals with it.
Not only is batch cooking economical, but they are a huge time saver. You will be satisfactorily able to feed your family home-cooked meals almost every day by working hard only one or two days every week.
So far, we have been talking about making main dishes for dinner with your slow cookers. However, did you know that you can make breakfast, desserts, snacks, and favorite party dishes such as ground beef nachos with it too?
This easy, versatile appliance lets you experiment with thousands of recipes online. The best part is that, with a slow cooker by your side, you will find it very hard to screw up.
So, you can easily count on a slow cooker for any occasion. That makes this appliance worth every dime! The versatility alone is a great reason to own one of these beauties.
For breakfast dishes, you can set up your slow cooker overnight to cook some amazing dishes.
Here are some examples to get you inspired.
Breakfast casseroles are perfect brunch dishes. They are perfect for many occasions as well. For example, you can bring them to a potluck.
As for the recipe, this dish involves putting in eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, and veggies with some milk and cheese. You can simply put them in a slow cooker and wait for the machine to do its magic.
This is another simple yet delicious breakfast idea for weekday mornings. Overnight Oats are healthy, hearty, and really good for you.
Just add some steel-cut oats, your favorite nuts, nut milk (or dairy), frozen fruits, and let the slow cooker do all the work while you get your 8 hours of solid sleep at night.
Wake up in the morning to a divinely smelling oatmeal that will get you off to a great start even on the busiest of days.
The slow cookers are so great that once you get through your first few recipes of main dishes, you will probably wish you had a second one to make some desserts too. Given the relatively inexpensive price point (compared to other fancier gadgets), investing in a second slow cooker for desserts could be a good option for you!
If you are worried about storage, you can always turn your energy-guzzling oven into your storage spot – because you may just stop using it altogether.
Jokes aside. Of course, we don’t recommend you use your oven as storage space – no matter how much the slow cookers might make the oven redundant.
Here are some slow cooker dessert ideas:
Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake
The beauty about making chocolate cake in the slow cooker is that you can serve it up warm and gooey with warm caramel keeping the cake moist and juicy. You can also make the chocolate lava cake in the slow cooker too.
Here is a quick recipe for a chocolate cake in a 4-quart slow cooker:
Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake Batter:
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour (or baking flour).
- 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- 12 tablespoons of cane sugar.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
- ½ cup of whole milk (3%).
- 6 tablespoons of butter.
Ingredients for the Chocolate Sauce (that will be warm ganache topping):
- ½ cup of cane sugar.
- ½ cup of brown sugar.
- 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- 1.5 cups of hot water.
Step 1: Coat the slow cooker pan with some oil.
Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients for the batter.
Step 3: Make a well in the middle of the mixed dried ingredients.
Step 4: Add the wet ingredients and mix.
Step 5: Fold the batter mix until well mixed.
Step 6: Pour the batter into the slow cooker pan.
Step 7: Mix the dry ingredients of the chocolate sauce and sprinkle it evenly on the batter you just poured.
Step 8: Add in hot water but DO NOT stir.
Step 9: Set the slow cooker on high for 2 hours (or low for 4 hours).
Step 10: Stick a toothpick in the middle, and once the toothpick comes out almost clear with some gooeyness and chocolate crumbs attached to it, you know it is done.
Serve it hot with your favorite whip cream or frozen yogurt or ice cream or some fresh fruit that goes well with chocolate – my favorite, in this case, is strawberries.
Slow Cooker Cobbler
Another great dessert you can make in the slow cooker is the famous cobbler. You can use peach or blackberries, or strawberries to make a beautiful cobbler which is perfect for the summer barbeque season.
Heating up the oven to make a small batch of desserts is quite wasteful. So, try out the slow cooker and make desserts in an energy-efficient and relatively fail-proof method every time.
Ever been invited to a potluck party only to be told to make something for 20 people? Stressful, isn’t it? How do you even go about scaling up your recipe for your favorite finger food?
Well, this is where the slow cooker comes in handy. If you get a larger crockpot, you will be able to make a recipe that will easily serve 10-20 people at a party.
Some slow cooker party dishes include:
Slow Cooker Meatballs
These amazing morsels of meat are perfect for the slow cooker. You can go the cheat’s route and get them frozen or make them fresh and just add it to the slow cooker with your favorite tomato sauce (mine is Arabiatta!). Feel free to add some Italian herbs and garlic to spice things up a bit more too.
Here is a quick recipe for slow cooker meatballs:
- 2 pounds of ground beef (or ground turkey).
- 1.25 cups of bread crumbs (unseasoned).
- ¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese.
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
- 1 tablespoon of dried parsley.
- 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes.
- 1 bay leaf.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 of your favorite jars (24 oz. each) of pasta sauce.
- 1 small can of tomato puree.
- ½ teaspoon of oregano.
- Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, grated parmesan, minced garlic, dried parsley, and salt and pepper, and form small bite-sized meatballs.
- Lightly grease a baking pan and place the meatballs and broil them in the oven for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can lightly brown them in a pan for 5 minutes (2-3 minutes on each side).
- Then put the meatballs in the slow cooker pan and add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, rest of the chili flakes, and salt and pepper and let it cook on low for 4 hours (or high for 2 hours)
Serve it up hot with some grated parmesan for your guests to devour!
Slow Cooker Dips
From bean dips to artichoke dips and even a seven-layer nacho dip, you can make them all in a slow cooker. Whatever dip you make, just a word of caution to make more than what you were planning because it will be inhaled within minutes!
This is likely the only appliance that you should feel comfortable leaving on all night while it cooks something for you to wake up to. Similarly, this is an appliance you can leave on while you leave for work or other chores for the day.
This is a perfect way to utilize your time away from home. Leave the slow cooker on and go about your business. You can be sure that delicious dishes will be ready for you when you wake up or get back home.
We all live hectic lifestyles, and to have this going on in your life is truly a game-changer.
If all the talk about delicious party foods, desserts, and roasts has you thinking that slow cookers might not be particularly helpful for those on a diet, then you are truly mistaken.
Quick and fast dishes usually require a process that develops flavor quickly into the ingredients. This often means using hot oil to add some flavor – whether it is sauteing or frying, or even drizzling.
Alternatively, you may also need to use heavy creamy liquids to build in the flavor – like calorie-dense coconut cream for savory curries. Then there is the addition of cheese as a form of flavor.
Well, slow cookers can actually make dishes that are super healthy, low in oil, and do not require calorie-dense dairy or cream to add flavor.
For example, when you use the whole chicken to make a shredded chicken curry, you don’t even have to add any oil at all to the dish. Just add tomato sauce, curry spices, and the chicken and let the fat on the chicken skin develop the flavor in the slow cooking process.
You can also add a ton of veggies in there to make the dish even healthier.
Times are tough these days. Now is a perfect time to invest in a good slow cooker to save you countless hours and thousands of dollars on food costs for the family.
Slow cookers are easy to use (and clean), versatile, and perfect for cooks of all skill levels and experiences. Thousands of recipes online will keep you experimenting with the slow cooker for a very long time.
These are all the reasons why slow cookers make the perfect kitchen appliance. Bon Appetit!