I recently read an article by a food blogger that advised people not to use a slow cooker. I couldn’t disagree more! I understand that in some instances, the end result does not come out the same. So I get it, but I still think that they are worth the ease and convenience.
Plus, there are so many other ways that you can use a slow cooker. They are great for entertaining, craft projects, and other things around the house. I use them in a variety of ways and have a few slow cookers in different sizes. Some, I just pull out for when I’m having larger parties.
Entertaining: I essentially use slow cookers as food warmers. I keep it on low and put in the foods that I want to stay warm throughout the whole dinner party. That way, I don’t have to worry about whether the food will be cold once it’s served or if someone goes for seconds and needs to reheat their plate. Perfect for gravies, chili, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, or grits. You can also use it to keep mulled wines, apple ciders, or hot cocoa, warm the entire time of your event.
There are certain craft projects like candle making, soap making, fabric and yarn dyeing that require a steady level of heat. For these purposes, a slow cooker is the perfect tool to keep the ingredients at the right temperature.
Another non-food way to use a slow cooker is to warm towels in the bathroom. It’s such a nice cozy spot and spa. Feel to get a nice warm towel for your face or hands. You can also add nice ingredients like citrus and cinnamon sticks with some vanilla extract, or essential oils of your choice to some water in a slow cooker and put it on low. It will heat up and become fragrant, spreading a lovely smell all throughout your house and it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients or chemicals like air fresheners or plug-ins.
For all non-food purposes, you should have a dedicated slow cooker and do not mix them with ones you use to eat.
In terms of making meals in a slow cooker, you have to learn a few tricks if you want, a thicker consistency for your soups and stews. Agents such as corn starch, agar, or flour can help to thicken. Another way around it, would be to transfer the food to a pot and finish off by simmering on the stovetop to reduce the liquid. While this may seem like, defeating the purpose of using a slow cooker to some, you have already saved most time and effort of cooking by using the slow cooker.
You can also seat or caramelize meat and vegetables in a separate pan, then transferred to the slow cooker. That way you will get the depth of flavor from the high heat, and still have the convenience of something slowly simmering. In my opinion, the instant pot is a great combination because it has the added features of having pressure cooking and sautéing. Everyone should definitely own an instant pot, as well as a slow cooker, but that is a story and loads of recipes for another day.
Good value: amzn.to/3gWNL8I
Three pot sc for entertaining: amzn.to/3zrSLbO
Lunch size warmer- good for leftovers or to keep dips and gravies warm: amzn.to/3FtSWa8