Try Slow Cooking for Something Special

Woman in Kitchen with Fresh Veggies and Slow Cooker

In today's busy world, there's nothing sweeter than the knowledge you'll have dinner on the table within minutes of walking through the door. A slow cooker or crock-pot will do the work for you; just spend a few minutes on prep work in the morning, set and forget. Here are some ideas for using a slow cooker from the Metabolic Research Center.

Slow cookers are a natural choice for stews and soups, and so easy you hardly need a recipe. Browned meat, soup/stew veggies like carrots, celery and onion, a few herbs and spices and some liquid can be the base for a dinner tonight and tasty leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Chili and spaghetti sauce are crock-pot naturals; both benefit from long slow cooking to let the flavors blend.

A crock-pot is also a good way to cook side dishes. Rice and other grains can be cooked in a crock-pot, as can dried beans. Winter squash is another side dish that does well in the slow cooker – you don't even have to peel it if you don't want to – just cut into chunks. These dishes aren't the kind you put in first thing in the morning, however, as they don't take that long to cook. But doing them in the crock-pot frees up stove room.

Crock-pot recipes abound, especially on the Internet. Here's a quick sample of main dishes: stuffed peppers, braised or barbeque ribs, chicken stroganoff, sloppy Joes, pulled pork. Side dish recipes include mashed potatoes with cauliflower, creamed corn, black-eyed peas and applesauce. You can even make crock-pot lasagne or other pasta dishes by making a soupy sauce and cooking the pasta right in the crock-pot.

Losing weight while eating real food does mean cooking, but the crock-pot can make a big difference. It also allows you to cook extra and freeze, a benefit for the singleton who wants to make a batch of chili. Get to know your crock-pot – you'll be glad you did.


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