How I love my slow cooker? Oh let me count the ways!
Growing up I didn’t hear the words casserole or slow cooker very much, if at all. My step-dad did the majority of the cooking and generally speaking created meals with three things – a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. My step-dad went through various phases for meals. We had the kebab on the grill phase, and I was forced to eat grilled tomatoes which I still cannot stand. There was also a tempura phase (perhaps my favorite). We did lots of barbecue chicken or steak with steamed broccoli or peas and potatoes. Chili was made for every super bowl party. Everything was generally made by scratch and took hours, with my step-dad often remarking for my sister and I to “have an apple” whenever we’d ask “is dinner ready yet?”
Given that I didn’t grow up with a slow cooker, I am still surprised I purchased one for my husband years ago. In the early years of us dating, he was struggling to get the cooking done for his boys because he doesn’t like to cook. He can cook, but he doesn’t like to. So, I thought hey, why not a slow cooker? I had heard good things and figured it would be an easy way to feed everyone – you throw in the ingredients and walk away, so how hard could it be? The plan worked, and it is now used almost weekly in our home.
There are a few reasons why I just love our slow cooker.
- It is almost like having personal chef. Why? Well, you walk in after work, your home smells amazing and dinner is made!
- You generally can just dump in ingredients and turn it on, and you’re good to go. The ease of it is really helpful with hectic schedules.
- You still get credit for cooking and there can be less prep time, allowing you more time to do other things.
- Kids can do it (well ours can – the benefit of having teenagers).
- There are generally leftovers. We have a 6-8 cup slow cooker which means there are generally leftovers, which I typically split half in the fridge for the week and half in the freezer for future meals.
Over the holidays, we hosted both my family and my husband’s family, and I planned a few meals around the slow cooker. It was the first time I was hosting Christmas and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was freaking out! I wanted things to be perfect. I want to show how much I loved my family by fixing all meals and I thought I could do it with the help of the slow cooker – my not so secret weapon. So I pulled a few recipes and thought, I got this!
And I did have it, sort of. The only recipe I actually made that week was the pulled pork sandwiches. Various family members offered to cook the other nights and, with a little persuading from my husband, I accepted the help. Family help in the kitchen does win versus doing it yourself with the slow cooker. Plus, people like to help others. It brings joy. It takes away the stress. My desire to do it all myself had good intentions, but isn’t always the best of the approach.
So, when in doubt, ask for help; and when there is no help, get a slow cooker.