Slow-Cooking Love

Warning: The attached article contains material that may be inappropriate for those who actually like to labor over a hot stove after getting the kids off to school, putting in an eight-hour day at the office, and shuttling the kids to various after-school activities, while squeezing in doing the laundry, cleaning the house, taking care of an aging car, trying not to look like an utter frump and still feel at least a little teeny bit sexy.

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I fell in love this summer. Seriously. It was unexpected and has changed my world. I thank my friend, Elaine, for introducing me to my new love: My amazing, high-end, shiny, brand new slow cooker. I’d always had slow-cooker fantasies. You know, coming home to mouth-watering wafts of rosemary, garlic, yummy stews after a long day at work. But I’d never gotten around to buying a slow cooker, and the fantasy was set on a dusty shelf in the deep recesses of my mind.

But when I was given a slow cooker as a housewarming gift by my friend, coinciding with my need to figure out how to have delicious, nutritious meals ready within an hour of my coming home with my children, the stars were indeed aligned, and it was time to turn fantasy into reality.

What I didn’t know about slow cookers is that cooking this way still requires some prep. Meats often need to be browned on the stove top, veggies need to be washed, chopped, and diced. But beyond that, once everything is in the cooker and the timer and temp are appropriately set, it does the rest. You are free, free, free to go to work, the gym, hike, nap, whatever. Five, six, eight, 10 hours later, you will return home to a cooked meal.

Related: 2 Gourmet Slow Cooker Recipes

But wait. This is what sealed the deal for me: When I made my first slow-cooked meal, not only was the dish done cooking when I trudged home, but the cooker had shifted to “warm” mode when the cooking was finished so that the meal was absolutely ready to be eaten the second we walk into the door. Now do you understand??? These are the benefits of slow-cooking:

Nutritious, Delicious Meals
Mainly fresh ingredients, cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time are used in slow-cooking. Consequently, nutrition-rich, natural juices from vegetables and meats are retained.

You’re not slaving over a pot for hours. All that’s required is the initial prep. Your slow-cooker is doing the work while you are doing whatever else you want or need to be doing.

Useful Year-Round
Though we might associate warm, hot meals with wintertime, the beauty of slow-cookers is that you can use them any time of year. The perk of using one in the summer is that it eliminates the need to use the oven, eliminating the discomfort of making an already hot home hotter.

Reduced Energy Usage
Slow-cookers use substantially less energy than a conventional electric oven.

Easy Clean-Up
Except for a cutting board, cutting utensils, maybe one pan for browning, you’ll be cleaning up one pot. Nice.

A slow-cooked meal is easily transported. Just let cool and keep covered.

When shopping for a slow-cooker (commonly referred to as a Crock-Pot, which is a brand name), factor in how many people you cook for. Slow, medium and large slow-cookers are available. Many slow-cookers have a ceramic interior. My high-end love has a cast-iron pot, which means I can brown meats, veggies, etc., in that pot and just insert it into the cooker, making it truly a one-pot cooking experience. Need I say any more?

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H M8 months ago

Now that the weather is actually turning more like autumn around here, I think I'll search for our crock pot and our slow cooker.

Sachin S.
Sachin S.9 months ago

I am a healthy cook and in my opinion, conventional slow cookers are not at all healthy -- thanks to metal/ceramic pot that leaches toxins (I tried the alkaline baking soda test to check ofr leaching) and it's harsh heat damages nutrients in food. I came across this really informative article about an alternative healthy way of cooking slow cooker recipes, let me post a link here with your permission: conventional slow-cooker/ I hope it helps you make the right choice.

Emily B.
Emily B7 years ago

I love the slow cooker and use it often, about 3 times a week. I found a brownie recipe using it online and tried them. They were great.

Julia Perry
Julia Perry7 years ago

Thanks, I agree slow cookers are great, another great kitchen gadget is a bread maker would not be without mine

Lynde Toom
Lynde T7 years ago

I have a smaller slow cooker. My husband and I bought it in a after Christmas sale a few years ago. My husband is a huge stew and chilli fan and it's wonderfully handy. Every Sunday I use it to make some sort of stew or soup for my husband's lunches for the week. He loves it! He gets a wonderful home-cooked meal at work and it's better for him and our pocket book then him getting takeout or fast-food everyday!

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener7 years ago

Taste more delicious!

Girl U.
.7 years ago

Thank you!

Louise F.
Louise Fernandes7 years ago

I had heard of slow cookers, but did not think it would suit me. After getting one though, I find myself loving my crock, I love experimenting with new ways of cooking.

Ann S.
Ann Sasko7 years ago

Thank you

Jennifer Martin
Jennifer M7 years ago

Love my Crock!