Since I started swimming I have come across a bit of a problem around dinner. At one point we ate early with the little one. But since she has had the problems with the infection and then the constipation, she just can't sit at the table without running to the potty every few minutes. This means we have stopped eating at the table altogether until it's cleared up. It also means it's not practical for us all to eat together.
I go for a swim once the little one is in bed and settled which means I usually leave the house at about 7:30 and get back by 8:45pm. This is a bit late for starting to cook!
I decided to invest in a slow cooker and was shocked when I found out how much they were. This is a 3.5 litre slow cooker which is plenty for 3 of us and cost only £29.99.
Over the past week I have been learning to use it and I absolutely love it. At first I didn't put the food in early enough and gave it only 3 or 4 hours on a low setting. This meant by the time it was the little one's dinner time it wasn't quite right. I have now learnt a few things that I would advise always doing:
- It tells you to brown off meat which you must do but I also suggest quickly cooking off any veg just to soften it (onions etc).
- Put it on before noon. The little one eats at 5:30 and we eat at 9pm. If you put it on by 12 it will be ready for all of you
- Start the first hour or two with it blasted on the highest setting. This gets it cooked and then you can turn it down to a low heat for the remaining 5 hours or so to make it go really yummy.
- The advantage of starting it on high is that you can taste the food after an hour or two and make sure the seasoning is correct. This is critical and I failed to do this the first couple of times.
- It is worth stirring every hour or so. Not necessary but a good idea if you can.
I think now I have it pretty well sussed. It has given me so much freedom. I now have to spend 15 minutes maximum getting it all ready to put in and then dinner is sorted for all 3 of us for whatever time we want it. I can also go out without worrying about it being on - if it was in the oven I would turn it off before going out.
The things I have cooked in it so far (all my own recipes so shout if you are interested)
- Chilli Con Carne (last night and totally yum!)
- Bolognese sauce (Sugo) for with pasta
- Sainsbury's recipe chicken curry (from their toddler recipes)
- Pea and Ham soup
I bought a one-pot cookbook but have not got round to using it yet.
Oh and a couple of extra points
- It hardly consumes any energy (I am watching the meter!)
- It hardly gives off any heat so even in the middle of the summer it is good to use
Clearly Slow cookers are very popular so I have created a Linky list to gather all the recipes you are posting on your blogs. Click the link below, enter the details and we can all share these fab recipes. Thanks!
Oh by the way, if you want the badge for your recipes try this code:
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You might also like to head on over to Chelle's place for another collection of non-slow cooker specific recipes.