Slow Cooker Meals

Do you ever come home after a long, hard day of work too tired to even think about cooking dinner for your family?  Wouldn't it be nice if you could just walk into your home after work and be welcomed by the smell of a hot, hearty meal that is ready to eat, especially during these cold winter days?

Yes -- it is possible!  The slow cooker is an ideal appliance to help solve your dinner dilemmas!  Also known as a Crock Pot®, the slow cooker has been a staple in many homes for over forty years and is making quite a comeback.  This is a low-cost, easy-to-use and energy-saving appliance.  It works for heating food at a low temperature of a longer period of time, which helps the food stay moist and flavorful.  All you have to do is add all the ingredients and turn it on to the correct setting according to the recipe.  Then leave it to do all the work -- "Set it and forget it", as they say.  Slow-cooked dishes are ideal for making ahead and reheating.  Leftovers can b enjoyed for several days.  With most of the prep work eliminated and with only one pot to clean, slow cookers can help save you time and effort on your quest to get a delicious and nutritious dinner on the table.

If you don't already own a slow cooker, here are some tips on how to get one:
  • Borrow one from a friend or relative
  • Look for one at your local Goodwill or second-hand store
  • Check the sale ads and purchase a new one for a relatively low price

Slow cookers come in all shapes, sizes and styles with different "high", "low" and "off" settings. Make sure that you are familiar with your own model and how it works.  Different meals will have different preparation and cooking times.  Most recipes will work well if you fill your slow cooker in the morning and expect to eat at dinner time.  What could be easier than that?!  And the possibilities with a slow cooker are endless -- use it to cook anything from soup to meat dishes to breads, and even dessert!  There are so many easy, tasty and healthy slow cooker recipes out there waiting for you to try so dust off your slow cooker and get cooking!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili is a great recipe to get you started: a healthy and hearty one-pot meal with a kick that will help keep you warm and satisfied this winter.  The black beans will fill you up with their protein and fiber.  The tomatoes are full of Vitamin C to help fight off sickness.  The sweet potatoes round out this dish with a burst of color and Vitamin A.

Enjoy trying new recipes and cut the time spent in the kitchen with slow cooker meals!


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall