Take a good look at your calendar...can you believe it? We’re already in December! Where did the time go? For most of us, December is a difficult period to live through every year. Your regular life doesn’t stop of course, but other events like Christmas shopping, visiting distant relatives as well as office and family parties can add some extra tension to your already hectic schedule. A way to keep your head above it all is to cook more meals with a slow cooker, aka, the crock pot.
The advantages of a slow cooker: it's so easy
Slow cookers are great for entertaining. When you receive guests for a dinner party, you don’t want to spend the whole time cooking in the kitchen while everyone is chatting and having a good time. With a slow cooker, all you need to do is prepare your meal early (in the morning for example). Cut your meat and vegetables on your cutting board while you’re having your morning coffee, add a little seasoning and throw everything in the pot. If you've never used the crock pot you received as a wedding gift, or if you don’t have any recipe ideas: don’t fret, there are tons of books and websites dedicate to the art of slow cooking.
What to cook inside the pot: think cheap
Another great advantage of a slow cooker is that they make great meals from some of the cheaper cuts of meat available on the market. Beef is probably the most used type of meat when it comes to slow cooker recipes. Some cuts even have the words “simmering” or “pot roast” right on the label, so you know that this piece of meat was cut specifically for cooking in a slow cooker. An alternative to cooking roasts is to prepare soups, or a nice short ribs stew in your crock pot for a different kind of meal at the end of the day. Pork and lamb are easy to cook in the crock pot as well. For chicken and turkey, it’s best to go with the legs and thighs because they will remain juicy in the slow cooker. In order to have to most flavor out of your poultry, it’s best the leave the skin on during the cooking, but remember to take it off when it’s time to eat in order to cut back on your fat intake.
One last thing: seal in flavours
If you want your meal to be even tastier when it comes out of the pot, it’s recommended to brown some of the ingredients before you throw them in to cook. Searing meat like poultry of beef will release some of their natural juices while veggies like onions, mushrooms and garlic will be more flavourful if they are browned first.