A lot of us have a very efficient and time saving appliance sitting high on a kitchen shelf collecting dust. What is it? It's the slow cooker! I have taken mine down from that high shelf and have actually purchased another one because I have found them to be so helpful. How are they helpful? Read on.
There are a lot of days that it's very hard for me to get a meal on the table either because I lack the motivation or because we are busy. Lacking motivation stems from being tired at dinnertime; I have had an active day and by 5:00 p.m., I'm just plain worn out and am not in the mood to cook. Because of this, we end up eating fast food more often than we should or we eat a meal that tastes like there was no effort put into it.
I have found a solution to this problem and that is the slow cooker! In the morning when I am ambitious and creative, I prepare the basis of our meals by adding meat, liquids, seasonings or other ingredients to the slow cooker. Then at dinnertime, all I have to do is prepare side dishes such as heat and serve rolls and a green salad. Sometimes, I even prepare the side dishes early too, so I have hardly anything to do at mealtime when I'm lacking energy. If you have two slow cookers, use them both at the same time with the main dish in one and a side dish in the other.
Another benefit is that it doesn't heat up the kitchen. This can be valuable in the summer but don't limit it to summertime cooking. It's an any-season appliance. You'll be pleased smelling the delicious aroma of your food cooking all day long in the fall, winter and spring. You can even cook desserts in them such as apple dumplings.
For those of you that work away from home, the slow cooker is safe enough to leave turned on low all day. When you get home, most of your dinner is cooked and ready to eat!
You can buy them at any retail store for around $30 for the average size and more or less for a bigger or smaller one. But why spend $30 when they are abundant in thrift stores and yard sales? I purchased my second one at a thrift store for $2.99! If you decide to purchase one at a thrift store or yard sale, be sure to plug it in and see if it heats up. Here is the recipe for one of my favorite slow cooker meals.
Pork Ribs and Kraut
Brown desired amount of pork spareribs in a frying pan over medium heat; season with seasoning salt and place in the slow cooker. Stir sauerkraut juice into the pan you browned the ribs in and stir with a fork to loosen brown bits. Add this juice to the crock-pot along with desired amount of sauerkraut. Set slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours.
For a side dish to this meal, I make homemade rolls using the bread machine to make dough, or I just serve plain old bread and butter. A crusty loaf of French bread would be good too.
This would make a great side dish to the meal above. Peel and cut desired amount of apples into 1/2 - 1 inch chunks. Place the chunks in your slow cooker and add about 1/2 cup water. Set to low and cook 4-6 hours or until the apple chunks are very soft. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency and add sugar to taste if desired.
I hope this article brings you the inspiration to dust off your slow cooker!
Monica Resinger is a loving wife and doting mother of two who enjoys gardening, painting, dancing and homemaking.
You can check out some of her other articles at http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Monica_Resinger
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