Photo courtesy of bedbathandbeyond.comSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
After a long day at work, there's nothing better than coming home to wonderful aromas in your kitchen and a home-cooked meal just sitting there, waiting for you. Sound too good to be true? Not if you've got a slow cooker! This handy tool can be used to cook almost anything including dips, soups, meat, and even desserts. All you have to do is throw in ingredients and leave them to cook from four to twelve hours depending on the type of recipe and ingredients. Slow cookers operate on a lower heat than the stove or in the oven and they won't overheat so you don't have to babysit your dish. When dinner rolls around all the work will already be done! Sounds fantastic, right?
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If you're on the market for a slow cooker, keep these features in mind:
- Removable interior bowl for easy cleaning.
- Glass lid for easy cleaning and durability. Gladd lids are more likely to last longer than a lid with metal rims or plastic handles.
- High, medium, low and keep-warm temperature settings
- Digital temperature display
- Attached thermometer
- Removable cord
Now that you know all about buying a slow cooker, you'll want to get cooking. Here's what you need to know about using your slow cooker.
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- To make clean up really easy, line the slow cooker with a cooking bag.
- Make sure all the meat is defrosted before putting it in the slow cooker so that it will reach a safe food temperature (140 degrees Fahrenheit) quickly.
- If you need to alter cooking times, one hour on the high setting = two hours on the low temperature setting.
Now, that you are ready to use your slow cooker, try one of these warm weather slow cooker recipes!
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Special thanks to Vanderbilt Dietetic Interns Ina Ables and Tiffany Schaefer for their help with this blog post.
Comments? Requests? Tweet me @sarahjaneRD or @SELFmagazine or find me on SELF's Facebook page!