“How do I love thee, let me count the ways…” Elizabeth Barrett Browning was talking about her husband, not a kitchen appliance, but if she had had a slow cooker she may have said the same to it. I love my slow cooker. I’ve never even looked at an instant pot, and while I may have flirted with the air fryer, my slow cooker is my one true kitchen love. (okay, not one, I actually own four). Why? Because they make my life easier.
Top Chef dreams, Mom Chef Schedule.
Recently, we decided to try one of those home delivery meal kit boxes. There are so many now, and it was hard to choose, so we went with a popular one that was offering a discount. You get all of the ingredients and the recipe card. It took the thinking out of meal planning and introduced some variety into our dinners. It was great…in theory.
I liked the variety, but I did not like the time it took to prepare the meals. Even the “lightning prep” options were taking me much longer than stated. A 40-minute prep and cook time was taking 80 minutes. I’m not a cooking novice, I enjoy cooking; I understand how to zest and dice and julienne, and yet, it took forever. While my husband was getting toddler time, I was stuck cooking. (Cooking is my job in the home. We have a deal: I cook he cleans the kitchen/dishes. I love this deal.)
We took a break from the meal kits, and I turned to my trusty slow cooker. It was like returning to an old friend. I threw everything in the night before (2 pounds of chicken, a 16oz jar of salsa, one cup of chicken stock, and a packet of taco seasoning) and stored the crock in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, on the way out of the door, I put it in the base, programmed the cooker (6 hours on low), and left. Such ease! When I got home all I had to do was shred the chicken and boom- meals for the next couple of days. Tacos, nachos, bowls, quesadillas, whatever, all from 4 ingredients and my favorite kitchen appliance.
I know some will say it all tastes the same; to them, I say, untrue! There are so many different things to do with your slow cooker, so many recipes to try. “What about the texture?” they say. “What about it?” I ask. I use my slow cooker for a variety of meals with different textures. No complaints from my family. It is great for roasts, stews, chili, drinks, etc. I even make my red beans in the slow cooker. (Should I admit that? Oh well). So, if you’ve been thinking you need a little more time or want to have more home-cooked meals and have a slow cooker in a closet or the pantry, break it out and give it a second chance. Not sure where to start? Pinterest has a plethora of recipes, or if that is too overwhelming, start right here. Anything that gives me more quality time with my family is worthy of an ode, and slow cooker, you have earned it.