I don’t love the cold weather but I do love some of the meals I cook during the colder months. The slow cooker will start getting much more of a work out for the next few months. I love slow cooker meals for lots of reasons, the key ones being:
- The taste – the taste of a meal cooked in a slow cooker is significantly enhanced. The longer cooking times allows for greater diffusion of flavours in many recipes.
- The convenience – convenience is the main reason I use the slow cooker. In about 30 minutes or less, I can prepare a meal for the slow cooker and them just let it go. By the time we come in from after school activities at the end of the day it will be ready.
- Budget friendly – as you slow cook the meat, you can get away with using cheaper cuts, but still end up with tender and delicious meat.
I know not all readers have a slow cooker so have put together this guide which shows how you could cook these recipes via a different method.
Tips for using a slow cooker
Using a slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to cook a meal. Follow these tips for success:
- When cutting up ingredients, aim to cut them all in similar sizes so they will cook evenly.
- Avoid lifting the lid on the slow cooker while it is cooking. When you lift the lid steam escapes and this will reduce the temperature of the slow cooker disturbing the cooking process.
- As the slow cooker is using longer lower temperatures liquids don’t reduce, so you may need to thicken the liquid if you like a thicker sauce. This can easily be done by using cornflour or arrowroot flour mixed with water to make a paste, then adding it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving.
- If you want to add pasta, rice, dumplings etc you can add them in the last 30 minutes of cooking the the dish. Fresh herbs should be added at the end also.
- If you are converting a traditional casserole into a slow cooker meal, you will need to use less liquid, generally somewhere between 1/2 – 1 cup less.
5 family favourite slow cooker recipes
The below recipes are five family friendly slow cooker recipes on the blog:
Slow cooker turmeric chicken – using fresh spices, this slow cooker dish is easy to make with lovely flavours. It makes a large amount so a great meal to cook to feed many or to freeze half for another night.
Slow cooker chicken tacos – This family friendly slow cooker chicken taco recipe is the perfect make ahead meal on weeknights. It is also gluten free.
Slow cooker pulled pork – This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is so easy to make. It has a slight Asian inspired taste to it and will be a hit with the kids and adults. It makes a large amount so is the perfect meal to make for a large group.
Slow cooker sweet potato curry (vegetarian) - This recipe is in my top 10 of all recipes on the blog! It is delicious, easy to make, vegetarian and gluten free.
Slow cooker honey sesame chicken – a delicious and easy to prepare slow cooker meal, this one can be ready in under two hours. It has a lovely sweet sauce, which will be a hit with all the family.