Using Slow Cooker Recipes is a Matter of Health!
In 2014 there was a food preparation study published by Monsivais et al.¹ that concluded individuals that spent less time in the kitchen preparing and cooking their meals prioritized their work and food convenience above their health.
With this data, it can be easy to assume that people feel like they don’t have time to cook dinner for themselves or their family. Truthfully, it isn’t as simple as that.
Take a moment to consider the preparation, cooking and cleaning involved in cooking. Creating a healthy meal from scratch can take anywhere from 30 minutes all the way to 2 hours. When you add it all up, you’re looking at 3.5 to 14 hours spent in the kitchen every week. That’s a lot of time that could be spent on other projects, errands or family time.
The people aren’t actively seeking convenience over health – they aren’t being lazy. It’s a matter of perception. An hour or so cooking dinner in the kitchen means an hour away from what you love to do the most.
Whether it’s spending time with your children or playing your favorite sport, you’ll see more value in that activity than you would in cooking a healthy dinner from scratch.
But all is not lost; what if you could have your time back and still create delicious healthy meals?
All you need are a few slow cooker recipes and a few minutes (yes, minutes) to cut vegetables and possibly meat. This could also be done in the morning or the day before!
Enter: Your Savior in the Kitchen!
Just to be clear: Slow cooker recipes are your savior in this situation.
Let’s cut to the chase: a slow cooker is not going to magically improve the nutrition of the ingredients you’re working with, but it does make it a bit easier to cook healthy meals. Many people wind up grabbing processed or prepared food on their way home from work. It’s much easier to reheat something or do a meal in a box, after all.
But using a slow cooker and a few convenient slow cooker recipes means you can do a bit of prep the night before. In the morning you toss ingredients in before you head off to work, and come home to a meal that just needs plating up.
The key health benefit offered by this handy machine? It saves you time! Just plan ahead, and you’ll be able to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals with minimal effort. Plus, slow cookers use far less oil for cooking, and lean meats become even more tender as they gently cook over time.
Slow cookers, or crock pots, are appliances that can cook your meals over an extended period of time. Even more wonderful are the updated ones that offer a digital timer and even a “warm” setting that will keep your food at a ready-to-eat temperature when you come back to it.
When you first get your slow cooker you’ll most likely avoid complex recipes. Don’t worry though, that won’t last! You’ll very quickly start rushing through recipe after recipe, trying all the meals that catch your eye.
Multi-task While Cooking!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a competent chef, you can make some of the most delicious meals you or your family have ever tasted!
It’s simply a matter of cutting up a few vegetables. Maybe some meat with some herbs and/or spices, too. Then throw them in the dish with some kind of sauce or broth and turn the slow cooker on. That’s it.
So, if you want to go ahead and complete a project or tackle some errands while your food is being cooked – you can.
Slow cooker recipes, like pulled pork and chili are the most popular, but they are also just the tip of what’s achievable with the help of a crock pot.
If you love pot roasts, stews, ziti, beef stroganoff, casserole, soup, meatballs or even crock pot gumbo – you can make it in a slow cooker.
Some of the most popular crock pot recipes we feature can be found here.
Is Leaving a Slow Cooker On Safe?
Slow cookers usually run at a very low wattage. Some devices can be programmed to cook over 8 to 10 hours. Even after that, it will either switch off or it can switch to the warm setting mentioned above.
A representative of the brand Crock-Pot says this about their products²:
It is safe to leave your Crock-Pot® slow cooker on while you are out of the house.
No matter what slow cooker recipe you have cooking, always make sure you follow these safety tips:
- Make sure the power cord is not touching any of the heated components.
- Make sure the power cord isn’t in a place where it could be accidentally removed from the socket.
- Place the slow cooker on a countertop or surface that is made of a heat-resistant material such as granite.
- If it’s your first time using that specific slow cooker, try your first recipe while you’re still available to operate it. Just to ensure it isn’t defective or hasn’t been calibrated correctly.
- Make sure the hole for steam to escape is not directed at a wall, but rather into the center of the kitchen.
How Does a Slow Cooker Work?
While slow cookers are not always crock pots, please note that almost any recipe can be cooked in either.
There are two types of slow cookers. One was made famous by the Crock-Pot brand and is the most popular because it has heating elements surrounding the food. The other version of a slow cooker is the one that heats only from the underneath of the dish.
One distinct difference you’ll find between a traditional crock pot and a slow cookers is that one usually comes with a stoneware dish while the other with come with a metal one.
Now you know how it cooks food, let’s go through how to use one.
On the appliance, there will be a panel of buttons, switches and/or dials that offer several options.
The first step, which can be done in advance, is to prepare your ingredients. That means getting your meat and vegetables cut up.
Once you’ve got those key elements to your first (of many) slow cooker recipe, you can begin adding the liquid or sauce as well as the herbs or spices you need to flavor the meal.
Then you turn the dial or press the button to whichever setting that the recipe requires.
The time you set will vary from dish to dish. You could end up cooking some for just 3 hours and then others take upwards of 6 to 8. Recipes that ask for longer periods of cooking time will generally be more flavorful. Of course, this all depends on the individual’s taste buds and preferred flavors!
Lucky for you, there are hundreds of slow cooker recipes to try. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try one out.