When you have limited energy making meals at home from scratch may not sound appealing. A healthy diet is important when you have a chronic illness. Making your own meals is cost-effective and overall healthier than dining out or ordering in, but how do you rally to get it done, especially at the end of the day? The slow cooker has been in kitchens for years, you may even have one in your own but never thought of using it. These devices can be a huge time and energy saver when you’re low on both.
If you’re new to the idea, a slow cooker, sometimes referred to as a crockpot, allows unattended home cooking for long periods of time at relatively low cooking temperatures. Many people put ingredients into their slow cooker in the morning before work and by the time they get home their meal is essentially ready to be enjoyed with very little fuss.
Here are a few tips for first-timers to keep in mind:
- Place hard vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables at the bottom of the slow cooker where they will have more moisture and cook swiftly.
- Add fresh herbs at the end to keep their flavors bright and fresh.
- Coating the inside of the slow cooker with a non-stick spray can prevent the need for scrubbing later.
- If you eat meat use cheaper cuts. Inexpensive cuts of meat are often high in fat or connective tissue, both of which break down during long, moist heat cooking methods and will help keep the meat juicy and tender. Lean cuts of meat are often more expensive and tend to dry out in the slow cooker.
- Brown meat before adding it to the slow cooker if you like that texture because it will not brown in the slow cooker.
- Add any dairy at the end. The last 15-30 minutes or so
- Don’t place frozen food directly into the slow cooker.
Here are some great slow cooker recipes to get you started on taking it slow. Happy cooking!