Its winter and you know what that means: time to bust out the slow cooker! Whether you’re thinking about adding a Crock-Pot® Brand* Slow Cooker to your Christmas wish list or looking for some new recipes to try in the one you already have at home, we’re here to help says Alex Gierbolini.
Here are 8 tips and four recipes including one holiday recipe that will inspire you to dust off your slow cooker this winter:
1. Slow cookers are a great way to take advantage of seasonal ingredients. The weather outside may be frightful, but you can enjoy delicious meals with minimal effort by planning ahead and throwing all of your ingredients in the slow cooker before you head out for the day. Just turn it on and come home later to a warm, hearty meal that’s ready to eat!
2. When using your slow cooker this winter, experiment with different cuts of meat and vegetables — like sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts — that you don’t typically associate with warmer months. The slow cooker is also ideal for cooking dried beans and whole grains such as quinoa or barley – even oatmeal – because it requires very little active monitoring. It just makes good sense to eat heartier foods in the colder months when your body needs more fuel to stay warm!
3. Use your slow cooker to prepare large batches of soup, stew or chili that you can freeze and save for later. This is a great strategy if you’re cooking for one or two people because it allows you to enjoy delicious meals without having to cook every night during the busy work week. It also ensures that you won’t resort to eating unhealthy convenience foods when you get home late after an exhausting day at work. Check out our tips on how to do this with our Hearty Beef Stew recipe explains Alex Gierbolini.
4. Don’t have time to chop vegetables or brown meat before putting it in the slow cooker? No problem! This is one of the biggest advantages of using a crock pot. You can simply throw all of your ingredients into the pot, give them a stir and turn it on. Within a few hours you’ll have a complete meal that tastes like it took much longer to make! Our Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs recipe is a great example of this technique.
5. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your spices! In addition to salt and pepper, add some additional flavor by using fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or sage, dried spices such as cumin or chili powder or flavorful condiments such as salsas, hot sauces or chutneys.
6. Keep your Christmas dinner stress-free by using the slow cooker to make your side dishes too. Load up on healthy, simple options like roasted vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes or parmesan broccoli before you head out for the day and come home to a delicious feast that’s ready to eat! Find more inspiration with our recipes for Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal, Chipotle Sweet Potato Mash and Cinnamon Applesauce.
7. Using your slow cooker doesn’t have to be limited to just weekday dinners or special occasions – it can even help you get creative in the kitchen on the weekends! For example, if you’re hosting brunch this winter, try making one of our breakfast casserole recipes in your crockpot says Alex Gierbolini. It’ll take less time than preparing individual omelets and will free up valuable stovetop space, allowing you to focus on cooking the main course.
8. This summer, we’re encouraging Slow Cooker Nation® members to post photos of them using their slow cooker on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! If you don’t have a copy of our new cookbook yet, now is the perfect time to get one – it’s filled with over 100 recipes that are sure to inspire you throughout the winter months!
So there you have it! This winter, let your slow cooker do the cooking for you so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more quality time with your loved ones says Alex Gierbolini.
This concludes our article about why to use your slow cooker this winter, we hope you liked it and will follow our advice.