Eater’s Digest: Simplify Life with a Slow Cooker

Presenting recipes that are family-pleasing, nutritious, penny-smart, and fast.

By Diane Werner | RD from Reader's Digest | March 2009

Simplify Life!
These recipes all use a time-shaving, trouble-saving gadget that may already be in your kitchen cupboard: a slow cooker.

Hamilton Beach Slow CookerCourtesy Hamilton BeachPrepare meals while you run errands, relax, or play!

This neglected but easy-to-use appliance prepares your meals while you’re running errands (or having fun!). It also saves you money, because long, slow cooking turns cheaper cuts of meat fork-tender by dinnertime. Plus, it uses much less energy than a standard oven-which keeps even more cash in your pocket. For slow-cooker success:

Stick to the recipe. Don’t experiment with amounts, especially of liquids-they won’t evaporate. Your slow cooker should always be between half and two thirds full.

Keep the lid on. You add 20 minutes to the cooking time whenever you lift the cover.

Add tender foods last. Save ingredients like quicker-cooking pastas, seafood, and milk for the final 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Recipes from Taste of Home

Slow Cooker Buyer’s Guide
Size. These appliances range in size from one to eight quarts. Handy benchmark: For a family of four, a five-quart model is fine.

Controls. Basic cookers have three settings: low, high, and off. But it’s worth getting a programmable model, which lets you fine-tune the cooking process. Place ingredients in the cooker in the morning and set it to flip to warm mode when cooking is done-dinner will be ready when you walk in the door.

Removable inserts. Slow cookers with lift-out pots are much easier to clean than one-piece units. Some of the inserts are even dishwasher safe.

See 10 more slow cooker recipes.

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