Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All About The Slow Cooker

Lately the slow cooker has been getting quite the workout.  I like using the slow cooker because earlier in the day dinner is decided.

Slow Cooker Revolution from America's Test Kitchen has been great for me.  Usually when I tell the gang dinner is in the slow cooker it is not met with any sort of appreciation.  DH's eyes glaze over and you can feel the sense of dread radiating in waves from him.  One word goes through his brain...mush.  I asked him for a new slow cooker last year I was surprised he bought one for me.  So here is the slow cooker I use:

It is a Hamilton Beach 7qt slow cooker (with lid rest).  I needed a larger slow cooker to cook a variety of meals.  I do have to reduce cooking time in using the recipes out of the cookbook, my slow cooker runs hotter.  It all works out because I can keep it on the Keep Warm function if it finishes before we are ready to eat.
If you noticed, I emphasized how Slow Cooker Revolution works for me.  In the reviews a lot of people complained about prep/cook times.  This book works best if you have more time in the morning or the night before to prepare the meal.  Some meats need to brown first in a pan and some vegetables and seasonings need to sweat in a pan also.  Some recipes only have a 4 hour cook time and need a timer used.  I have more time in the morning to devote to prep and less time in the afternoon so this works out perfectly.  This is not your dump and go cookbook.  They do have a Slow Cooker Revolution 2, yes I have it, where prep times are shortened.  I have not tried anything out of the second one yet, but it is also receiving good reviews.  I should have taken pictures as I made things out of the book but I wasn't anticipating it to work as well as it does.  So what have I made?

Braised Brisket and Onions
Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Bacon
Maple-Glazed Pork Loin
Beginner's Pulled Pork
Sticky Wings
Chicken Divan
Old-Fashioned Tamale Pie
Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I few of these I have made more than once and as you can see I have few marked off in the book that are on deck.  Last night I made the Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Bacon.  When DH called to see what was for dinner and I told him pork chops were in the crock pot you would have thought I shot the cat.  I told him it was a new recipe from "the book" and he calmed down a little.  Now this recipe doesn't call for browning first, so the pork chops didn't look very attractive cooking.  They all loved it.  I have not made chili, stews, soups, sauces, sides, or deserts yet so I have a lot more to try and am looking forward to it.

Just to assure everyone that no domesticated animals were harmed here is a picture of the rotten cat doing what she does best.



  1. I should keep my eyes peeled for that book. John cooks in the slow cooker once a week, I'd say. Even in summer. Especially in winter. We love it!

    All of those things you've cooked sound delicious. Slow cookers are so versatile.

  2. Fall and Winter are slow cooker seasons around my place. Chili's, stews, beef roasts, chicken and so on.

  3. One of the mail reasons I love winter, thank you Selous!

  4. I have that same cookbook and use it all the time. You have to love slow cookers.

  5. Thanks for stopping by Precious, I agree, you have to love the slow cooker but the recipes give good results.