Now that we are well into fall (with appropriate temperatures to match), it’s officially Slow Cooker Season at our house. We recently switched from Plated to Hello Fresh (so far so good!) and now we’ll be adding one night of slow cooking into our weekly dinners. I like to call it “Slow Cooker Sunday.” I used to be turned off by the whole idea of a slow cooker, not completely sure why, but now I’m obsessed with it.
I will say that it can be a hit or miss thing, but when I find a good recipe, I add it into the rotation.
1) Don’t be afraid of recipes that require a little work upfront. Even though the primary appeal of the slow cooking is that you don’t have to prep the food– you just throw things in– sometimes a recipe requires you to brown meat beforehand or make a gravy. I used to avoid these just to avoid the extra work, but it’s worth it almost all of the time.
2) Be skeptical of Pinterest. It’s a great place to look for recipes, but I think a lot of food bloggers lie about the results. The pictures they use are super staged so sometimes you’ll see a recipe where the carrots look bright! and orange! and after cooking it yourself, they’re more like brown… and mush…. I highly recommend reading the reviews and comments!!! (I learned the hard way on this one!)
3) Watch for sodium and opt for low-sodium products when possible. I am on a high sodium diet for health reasons so the salt thing can actually be good for me, but it’s something you should keep an eye out for when you’re doing your slow cooking. Use your own seasoning (versus pre-packaged ones) and don’t be afraid to tweak ingredients for your diet. I also avoid any heavy cream or cheese-y recipes.
4) You can come up with your own slow cooker meals! Garrett found this graphic on Reddit last year, and I have it printed out in the kitchen. I re-pinned it in case you’re interested. It’s all sorts of combinations you can put together for different, simple meals.
Last year I shared our favorite slow cooker recipes. Those are the ones we make the most and absolutely LOVE. I’m going to share the recipes we’ll be trying over the next few weeks, but if you’re looking for our tried and true favorites, head over to that post.
Please let me know if you have a favorite recipe! I love trying your favorites too.