Wednesday, October 9, 2013

why every parent needs a slow-cooker

I am obsessed with my slow-cooker.  I use it almost everyday (seriously).  In some ways, it has saved my domestic life.

I entered marriage with very little cooking skills and when our first baby arrived a little over a year later, I struggled to find ways to feed my family!  Working part-time in the late afternoons and evenings made it even more challenging to put food on the table at a decent hour.  Enter in my slow-cooker.  And some reasons why I love it so much I wanted to blog about it tonight:

With a slow-cooker, you make dinner whenever you want.  Morning, afternoon, naptime or whenever the kids are occupied for a few moments.  I don't know about you, but no small people in my house are in a good mood around 5pm, and to try to steal a few moments away to prepare food can feel impossible.  I love being able to prepare dinner when it works best for me.

Most recipes call to simply toss ingredients into the crockpot, cover it and let it cook for a few hours.  Simple, fast and easy.  It can also be a timesaver during dishwashing time, since you have but one pot to clean during that witching hour...

You can eat your meal whenever you want.  This is wonderful when you have young children who eat very early, a husband who works late, or a just a schedule that does not allow a slow for everyone to sit down together for dinner.  Everyone eats when they can, and nobody gets stuck with a cold, mushy leftover dinner.  I always plan my slow-cooker dinners on evenings when I work and get home after my little ones are asleep!

Cooking with a slow-cooker is also very economical.  Since veggies become pretty soft in most crockpot recipes, I usually use frozen vegetables, and this lowers our grocery costs!  Frozen meats also defrost well in the slow-cooker, which is very helpful on days when you have to improvise dinner.  No time to defrost that pork loin or those chicken breasts?  No problem!  Also, we eat a lot of soups and shredded meat that make great lunches for the following days as well.

Lastly, it is yummy!  And here is a delicious and easy comfort recipe for you to try:

Rosemary Chicken Stew with Dumplings 

2-3 chicken breasts or thighs (I like to use both, and frozen chicken works!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tsp minced garlic
6-8 cups of chicken broth or chicken bouillon
1 tsp of dried parsley
1 tbsp of rosemary (fresh if possible!)
2 bay leaves
dash of pepper
1 bag of frozen peas and carrots (or any vegetables you want)
1 roll of refrigerated biscuits

Put everything (except biscuit dough) in crockpot.
Cook for 3-4 hrs on high, or 6-8 hrs on low.
During the last hour before serving, turn slow cooker on high.  Shred chicken.  Break apart small pieces of biscuit dough and add to the soup.  Give it a stir, put the top back on and cook for 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy!

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