As the leaves change color and the first day of fall looms on our calendars, our thoughts of food turn to dishes more suited to colder temperatures. One kitchen gadget that comes in handy during this time of year is the slow cooker. Knock yourself out with these fine, easy slow cooker recipes and a few additional favorites.
Easy Slow Cooker Recipes and More:
Slow Cooker Potato Soup
Roast Tomato-Basil Soup
Easy Chicken Stew
Simple Tater Tot Casserole
Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe With Tater Tots
Classic Rice Pudding
Creamy Rice Pudding Recipe
Baked Rice Pudding Recipe
In my kitchen cabinets you can find two slow cookers – a 31⁄2-quart and a 7-quart model – and I find myself constantly buying those small slow-cooker cookbooks you see while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store.
What’s the allure of a slow cooker? Raw food is placed, seemingly at random, in the crock – although with some dishes that order is key to proper cooking – and all that’s left to do is place the lid on top, turn it on and walk away. I know, it’s not really that simple, but it sure feels like it is.
My favorite reason for using a slow cooker is that, after a long day at work, supper’s waiting when I get home.
Here are a few tips from the folks at Crock-Pot, the original slow cooker:
- If the crock and ingredients are placed in the refrigerator overnight, you’ll need to add cook time to ensure that the food reaches a safe temperature and is completely cooked.
- Fill your slow cooker half to three-quarters full for best results.
- Little evaporation takes place in a slow cooker, so if you use a stove-top recipe for soup, stew or sauce, reduce the amount of liquid. If it results in a thick product, liquid can be added later.
- No need to stir the food in a slow cooker unless the recipe specifically directs you to do so. Taking off the lid causes the slow cooker to lose heat, requiring additional cooking time.
- Don’t reheat food in a slow cooker. The crocks of most slow cookers are microwave and ovenproof.
- Pre-browning the meat is up to you. Browning or searing meat in a skillet can add flavor and melt off excess fat that can be drained before the meat is placed in the slow cooker. It does, however, add another step – and dirties more dishes – in the process.
- Above all, enjoy the freedom your slow cooker offers. It’s a wonderful way to lessen the work and increase the enjoyment of your next meal.
Senior Associate Editor Jean Teller also appreciates the fact that using a slow cooker doesn’t require a lot of cleanup effort.