With winter almost in full swing, you’re likely starting to scramble for ways to warm up on those cool nights. And as the holiday season approaches, you’re probably planning out meals for family and friends as well. Adding a slow cooker to your cooking arsenal is a great way to handle both issues at the same time.
Slow cooking is more than a way to add heartier, satisfying meals to your dining rotation. It also makes for a great way to add healthy items to your diet. Chili, soups and stews packed with veggies and lean meats are only the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps best of all, it’s also a perfect fit for the hectic winter holiday season. Does the idea of coming home from work to a delicious, nutritious meal already prepared appeal to you? The slow cooker is here for you.
Easy on Your Wallet and Time
When slow cookers first hit the scene, they were known as crockpots. In the 1970’s, they were positioned as the ideal kitchen gadget. Now, what is old has become new again. Once again, slow cookers are all the rage. These handy cookers are excellent for saving time and money.
Here’s some ways it save money:
- For one, a slow cooker uses little electricity.1
- It also is great for using less expensive cuts of meat. These include chicken thighs, belly of pork, and lamb shoulder.2 Opt for lean, pasture-raised meats for the healthiest options. You don’t have to shell out a lot of money in order to make tasty meals in a slow cooker.
- There is also the potential to save money indirectly. How many times have you come home and found yourself too tired to cook? Instead of opting for potentially pricey and unhealthy takeout, if you use a slow cooker, the meal is already done when you walk in the door.3
As a time saver:
- A slow cooker spares you from having to work over a hot stove all day long, as many soups and stew recipes involve just “throwing everything in.” Overall, slow cooking is a great match for people who don’t have a ton of time to prepare elaborate meals.4
Putting Your Slow Cooker To Work
Most slow cookers have three main parts: the base, vessel, and lid. The actual cooking is similar to a stovetop, with heat rising to the sides of the vessel and transferring to the food.5
It’s important to note that a slow cooker isn’t the same as a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker raises the temperature of boiling water. It then forces the liquid into the food, speeding up cooking time. While the two operate differently, they can work well hand in hand. For example, consider making a stew in a slow cooker, and then making some quick rice to go with it with a pressure cooker.6
Awesome Slow Cooker Recipe For The Winter
Because of the nature of slow cooking, it is a great match for fresh vegetables and proteins. The nutrient-rich juices from these foods don’t get lost during the cooking process.7 One great lean protein to incorporate into your meals is turkey. Here’s a turkey chili recipe perfect for those cold winter days. Best of all, there’s enough to last for several days.8
Turkey Chili Slow Cooker Recipe
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 cans low sodium tomato soup
- 2 cans drained kidney beans
- 1 can drained black beans
- ½ onion
- Red pepper flakes
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
1. Pre cook ground turkey in a skillet until evenly brown. Drain the turkey.
2. Mix turkey with beans, onion, and tomato soup in slow cooker.
3. Season with red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and allspice.
4. Cover slow cooker, and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Slow Cooking In Review
Now that you have some starter recipes, it’s time to get a slow cooker of your own. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment. See a veggie or cut of meat on sale? Add some of your favorite ingredients and spices, throw it in the cooker for a few hours and … Voila, you’ve got an easy meal! Take advantage of the versatility of slow cookers, and get ready to warm up with a slow cooked soup, stew or chili when the snow starts falling (or even before).
For more healthy recipe ideas, check out: