A Guide to Slow Cookers

After a long day of work, it can be exhausting to come home and have to make dinner. Most people are tired and hungry and wish that dinner was already made right as they walk through the door. Enter the slow cooker – the wonderful kitchen appliance that will make any weeknight dinner feel very low maintenance, but taste like you spent hours cooking. From broccoli cheddar soup to chicken burritos, slow cookers can do it all!

For those that are unfamiliar with this kitchen appliance, they are capable of cooking your food slow enough to make the meats tender and soups flavorful, but still quick enough to prevent bacterial growth. They have two cooking temperatures, high or low, and majority also have a warm setting. Do not cook your foods on the warm setting! This will cook the food too slowly at an unsafe temperature. Most oven recipes can be converted into slow cooker versions but will need an adjustment to the cook time. The chart below outlines a general guide for conversions, but all slow cookers and ovens vary so if you are testing out a new recipe, these times may need to be adjusted more.

Oven Cook Time

Slow Cooker Cook Time High

Slow Cooker Cook Time Low

15-30 minutes

1-2 hours

4-6 hours

30-60 minutes

2-3 hours

5-7 hours

1-2 hours

3-4 hours

6-8 hours

2-3 hours

4-5 hours

8-10 hours

 

An easy and slow cooker beginner-friendly recipe is for chili! It’s very customizable to what you have on hand and can be thrown together on busy morning before work. Warning: you may come home to your house smelling like a delicious chili oasis!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey, venison, etc.)
  • Diced veggies of choice: onion, peppers, carrots, sweet potato, etc.
  • 2 cans of beans rinsed and drained
  • 2-4 tablespoons of spices of choice: chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, etc.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. Brown meat and veggies in a skillet with oil until meat is fully cooked.
  2. Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir.
  3. Cook on low for at least 4 hours but can simmer all day!
  4. Serve with toppings of choice and enjoy!

 

By: Katie Jackson, RDN, LD

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