The settings on the slow cooker (and I believe this is the common choice for most slow cookers) are 4 hours, 6 hours, and 8 hours. Having different options is important for when you want to leave your slow cooker unattended. Whether you’re going to be gone all day or only a few hours, there will be a setting that you can use to ensure the food cooks just the right amount of time.
For my first meal, I decided to try something out that I’ve cooked many times before on the stove: A simple beef stew. I know it’s not very creative or adventurous, but I wanted to try out something easy the first time. Also, since I’ve never used a slow cooker before, I didn’t want to leave it unattended until I got to know it a bit first.
One thing I instantly noticed about the slow cooker recipe is that it called for a lot less ingredients. With the traditional way of cooking beef stew, I normally have to use flour and vegetable oil in order for it to taste right – at least with the recipe I’ve always used. I’ve tried omitting these ingredients before, and it just didn’t come out well, so I was a bit nervous.
Aside from the McCormick packet that contains the beef stew mix, all I used for this meal was one package of beef chunks and three potatoes. After peeling and chopping the potatoes into bite-sized chunks, I just threw everything in the slow cooker and topped it all with the beef stew mix. I’m not really a fan of vegetables, so it’s just a personal preference of mine – but you could add any other vegetable you want.
The recipe gave me the option of cooking it on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours; of course, the high temperature setting still isn’t very at all. I opted for the 4 hour option since it was already late in the afternoon.
The next four hours were pretty uneventful, but I mean that in a good way. There were no issues or reasons for me to feel apprehensive about leaving the slow cooker unattended next time. Plus, it made my apartment smell great!
When it was finally time to eat, I was more than pleased with the results. The meat and potatoes were tender and full of flavor, and the fact that I was able to omit the flour and oil and get the same taste was a big plus, too – less calories! The cleanup was simple and quick, with the cooking dish being removable and dishwasher safe.
I’ve used the slow cooker a couple times since then (pork roast with sweet potatoes one night, and meatballs for a spaghetti dinner another evening) and while I wasn’t home, without any problems at all. I’m eager to try out new recipes for the slow cooker, and it was definitely worth the thirty bucks!
Get Weekly Steals and DIY's in Your Inbox!
- Yesterday, I was sending thoughts out into the Twitter-verse when I came across this gorgeous image from Elle Decor… »
- Gold Stones $Free, Allegra Hicks Placemat Set $9.99, Bracket Dinnerware $3.95-$6.95, Manchester Glass Set $128.00,… »
- Here is a breath of fresh air in the rug world. Lulu & Georgia carry accessories for all style types, glamorous,… »
Blogs To Check Out