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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cooking Slow, Spending Slow

a w:slow cooker Oval Crock PotImage via Wikipedia
In the tradition of Julie and Julia, the blog A Year of Slow Cooking follows a woman who pledged to use her slow cooker every day for a year.

My splurge-on-myself after Christmas present this year was a slow cooker. Mr. Poorhouse and I haven't been this excited about a kitchen appliance since we got our first engagement present--and indoor electric grill.

It turns out that slow cooking isn't simply a matter of throwing the food in and leaving it for hours at a time. There's a bit of a learning curve. Combine that with the fact that I'm trying to lose weight at the same time, and I can use all the recipe help I can get.

And this site definitely has that. The author details not only her successes, but her failures.

Here are some of our early #fails:

1. Black-eyed peas, lentils, and presumably other beans never get soft in the slow cooker if you add salt or tomatoes at the beginning. (yuck).

2. Potatoes and carrots don't always cook. Try a small chop or dice instead of hearty-sized chunks.

3. Don't use the temp probe for pot roast if your slow cooker has one. The meat may be "done" but if you use a cheap pot roast cut, it won't be tender.

4. You may not need as much liquid as you think. The lid has a seal, so liquid doesn't evaporate the way it does in stovetop cooking.

5. Don't start something at noon. If you need it to cook all day, put it in before 10.

So why persevere?
  • Because it's really nice to come home to a meal that's ready to eat instead of unwinding for an hour and then looking at each other and saying "what should we eat?"
  • Because the slow cooker makes cheap meat edible.
  • Because it keeps the pizza ordering to a minimum.
  • Because you don't need to cook with as much fat for things to be hearty and tasty in a slow cooker.
  • Because it's nice to vary your menu.
  • Because you can make things that used to take too much time on a weeknight.
 I'm looking forward to exploring more recipes for the slow cooker. What are your favorites?
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1 comment:

Kathy said...

I love my slow cooker! I have a bunch of healthy slow cooker recipes that I post on my blog if you're interested.