During the Busy Holidays, A Slow Cooker Saves the Day
During the holidays my slow cooker is a lifesaver and timesaver. Like most people, I am swamped with too many things to do. From holiday parties to shopping, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Fortunately, when it comes to cooking, my slow cooker jumps in and saves the day.
In the morning, I fill it with the ingredients for a stew or soup and turn it on. When I get home early in the evening, I find a hot meal ready to ladle into soup bowls and savor. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll complete the meal with a tossed green salad and fresh bread.
On cold, wintry days, it’s comforting to open the front door and smell dinner, cooked and ready to eat. For a simple pot roast, fill your slow cooker with a 3 to 5-pound roast, a bag of frozen stew vegetables, a packet of dry onion soup mix and a cup of water. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. As a bonus, you can use leftovers the next day to make a simple beef vegetable soup.
My slow cooker also comes in handy when I’m entertaining. While I’m busy cooking the main course and decorating the house, my slow cooker is making cheese fondue or bite-sized meatballs for appetizers. As every host knows, appetizers set the mood for the rest of the evening and, thanks to my slow cooker, I’m ready to impress my guests.
Holiday meals for my family are easier to prepare when I use my slow cooker. I use it to cook side dishes like sweet potato casserole and stuffing. I also make a melt-in-your-mouth turkey breast in my slow cooker. The recipe is easy. Place the turkey breast, a tablespoon of poultry seasoning and a stick of butter into the slow cooker and set it on high. About 5 hours later, you’ll be serving a perfectly seasoned, fork tender turkey breast.
Tips on How to Convert Recipes to Slow Cooker Recipes
You can make your favorite stovetop or oven-cooked recipes like stew, soup, chili, brisket and pot roast in your slow cooker. Here are tips on how to convert conventional recipes to slow cooker recipes.
- Choose recipes that have longer roasting, simmering or braising times like pot roast, corned beef, pulled pork, stews and soups.
- Add less liquid – about one-third to one-half the amount called for in the recipe. Slow cookers retain liquid and moisture and do not allow for much evaporation. You can always add more liquid during the last hour of cooking, if needed.
- At the start of cooking, add half the amount of salt, pepper, dried herbs and seasonings. During last hour of cooking, taste and, if needed, add salt, pepper or other seasonings. When using fresh herbs, add them during the last hour of cooking for best flavor.
- Cooking Times: The following conversions are estimates. For most slow cookers, the low setting is around 200 degrees F and the high setting is around 300 degrees F.
— One hour of simmering on the stovetop = 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high
— One hour of cooking in the oven (325 degrees F) in a covered Dutch oven = 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high
Slow Cooker Recipes at CHEFS Mix
Retrieve your idle slow cooker from the pantry or basement and try one of these tempting slow cooker recipes from the CHEFS Mix archives. The link takes you to the recipe and a printable version.
Heirloom Seven Bean Soup Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Slow-Cooked Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Stew Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Beef Chili with Butternut Squash Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Beef Bourguignon Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Sunday Pot Roast Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Cook’s Country Slow Cooker Beef Brisket and Onions Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Cook’s Country Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Cook’s Country Slow Cooker Pork Pot Roast Recipe recipe and printer-friendly recipe
Cook’s Country Slow Cooked Smothered Pork Chops recipe and printer-friendly recipe