Even though I work at home, or maybe because I do, I love the kind of hybrid slow cooker cooking that involves long periods of don't-bother-it gentle heating interspersed with an occasional lifting of the lid, a stir, an addition here and a taste there. Slow cooker manufacturers emphasize in their instruction manuals that lifting the lid even for a moment can extend the cooking time or jeopardize the safety of the cooking process, but it's simply not true. (I'm saying this for Judy, a long-time reader of The Perfect Pantry, who recently purchased her very first slow cooker.) As with all cooking, a stir once every couple of hours helps to even the cooking and distribute seasonings throughout the dish. To make this slow cooker turkey, black bean and squash chili, start the turkey and squash and let them cook undisturbed for several hours. Then, lift that lid, add the beans, stir, and go away. A couple of hours later, add the rice, stir again, and the dish is done. If you're out all day, you can add the beans at the outset and let them cook with the turkey, but if you're home, don't hesitate to lift, add and stir. In fact, I insist on it!