It's a busy cook's dream: dinner that makes itself. With a slow cooker, it's a reality. Toss together a few flavorful ingredients, push a button, and find a comforting meal ready at supper time. (If only it could wash your dishes, too.)
Quick Tips for Cooking Slowly
Tough, cheap cuts are great for the slow cooker. To convert any favorite stew recipe, reduce the liquid called for by half -- slow cookers trap moisture, providing plenty of sauce.
Browning your vegetables and meat isn't always necessary before adding them to the slow cooker, but we do like to brown chicken (it deepens flavor and improves the skin's texture).
For best results, your slow cooker should be at least halfway but no more than two-thirds full when you start cooking. This will prevent overcooking and overflowing.
Need even more time than a recipe allows? Chilling the crock and ingredients buys 1 to 1 1/2 more hours of cooking time.
You may be tempted to peek, but don't lift that lid too often. Releasing the heat will increase cooking time by about 15 minutes.