(Ok, so there are two, but I’ll talk about my Ninja another time.) The kitchen appliance we use every single week, without fail, is our slow cooker. Heck, we love using a slow cooker so much that we have 2!
Our first one is a secondhand 4qt (?) that some friends gave us when they were moving. We don’t know how we survived so long without one. Look, I can follow a recipe like any other competent human being, but Jeff is definitely the cook in our household (I’m sous chef!) because he actually enjoys cooking. Regardless, neither of us feels like cooking during the week after working a full day and commuting, so we meal prep lunch and dinner on weekends. We struggle to find recipes that:
- taste good
- reheat well
- don’t have a lot of time-consuming prep work
- aren’t a total calorie bomb.
It’s a tall order to fill, but we’re slowly building a collection. For lunch, we’ll usually try to do something that’s a meat and veggie all-in-one, like a chili or a hearty stew (minus potatoes). Trying to prep 10 servings of something like that all at once is how we ended up with our second slow cooker. We were trying a new chili recipe, and realized in the middle of prepping the ingredients that our little slow cooker wasn’t going to be big enough. We had to find something we could pick up in a store that day, so we ended up ordering this 6qt for pick-up from Target:
We absolutely love it! You can program it to cook based on the temperature reading from the detachable meat probe, which is perfect for things like roasts. We tend to program the time, instead, and it will automatically switch to “Warm” mode when the timer goes off. If we hadn’t been under a time crunch, it would have been nice to get a slow cooker with a delay start feature and/or Wifi capability, but since we use it during the weekend, this is great, and it was reasonably priced. We always use a slow cooker liner, so cleaning up is super easy. Being able to run both slow cookers at once, one for lunch and one for dinner, is such a tremendous time saver. The hard part is done before the week even starts, so it eliminates the classic “It’s been a long day, and I don’t feel like cooking, so let’s just pick something up” excuse.
For dinner, we’ll usually do some sort of meat entrée and then just steam fresh veggies each night, since that’s super easy and quick, and the veggies are never as good reheated. Again, it can be difficult to find a recipe that meets all of our criteria, so we get excited when we strike gold! This week, we tried a new recipe, and it’s definitely one we’ll be using again:
It makes 6-8 servings; by making 8 servings using a 3lb pork loin roast, low-sodium Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar with no added sugar, the nutrition facts according to the Recipe feature on MyFitnessPal came out to:
Keep in mind that those numbers include the sauce that you make at the end and pour over the roast, which you don’t end up eating most of. We sliced the roast prior to cooking to make it easier to portion out, and we cooked it on high for 6 hours (we’d probably do 5 next time) so that it came out tender but not completely falling apart. Jeff was concerned that the vinegar taste was going to be overpowering because of how much it calls for, but the honey complements it really nicely and balances the flavor out. I definitely recommend it!
Do you have a slow cooker? Where do you find tasty healthy recipes? Which kitchen appliance can you not live without? Leave a comment, and let me know!