Slow cookers (crock pots): like or dislike?
Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.
Though I came late to slow cooker cooking, I absolutely love it. In The Downsizing, I kept two slow cookers (of the four I had): a $20 oval four-quart Crock-Pot®, a popular size I use for recipe testing; and a six-quart Ninja Cooking System with a few more bells and whistles, that's become my everyday slow cooker. In the summer, when I do not want to turn on the oven, slow cookers keep the kitchen cool. And this summer, when I didn't have a lot of stamina for cooking after a couple of hip surgeries, I could still manage to throw a meal together in the slow cooker and let it do its thing with minimal effort on my part. Do you use a slow cooker? Do you have more than one? More than two?
Slow cookers: like or dislike?
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I too have only just discovered the real pleasures of the slow cooker. I must admit though that I only tend to use mine for winter warming comfort food and I must really knuckle down and use it all year. So a definite like!
LOVE 'em! i have 4--a 6 qt, two 4 qts and a 2 qt, which is perfect for making dips, smaller meals when i don't want to make something that will last just one meal; i regularly use these slow cookers/crockpots thru the sultry, muggy southern summers to keep as much heat out of the kitchen as possible. in the winter, i love making stews/soups in them, but it's nigh on impossible to make a "small batch" of soup or chili so i don't even think about using the smaller ones LOL
I only have one but really need two since my family consists of meat eaters and a vegetarian. My problem is finding healthy crock pot meal and ones that don't have cream of something canned soup as the base are also not favorites around here.
They serve a purpose in every kitchen. Perfect for falling off the bone ribs and pulled pork, but most meats are overcooked to my liking. Perfect however for potlucks and keeping things warm when you have no more room in the oven :-)
I love slow cookers, particularly for entertaining. I have eight of them and for our Valentine's Day parties, I use every one of them. On a normal basis, I use the same three over and over again--the classic Crockpot, the Rival Smartpot, and the Ninja. It really depends on what I'm cooking (and the size of the roast or volume of ingredients) as to which one I use.
As you know, I love them! I currently have 10 slow cookers, although the reason for having *quite* that many is the way they get used at my annual soup party. Currently I am especially fond of the Ninja and the new "casserole" slow cooker, although I use my oval shaped 3.5 quart crock pot the most. And this week when I was testing recipes with Jake, we had two going at once!
Where would we all be without the beloved crockpot/slow cooker? I am not adventurous with mine, but I've come across some recipes that I wish I had created them...! Yes, I like my crockpot/slow cooker.
I'm down to 3 crock pots. When I was in Texas and entertaining often I had a full array of sizes up to a 25 qt. oven-roaster. They are practical for cooking for 1 or a houseful. Now that I'm living alone I still use it, at least on a weekly basis.
Love my Rival slow cooker, especially for winter soups and stews. This year, I am going to try to be a bit more adventurous with it!
I love my crockpots. I have 2, a brand new large oval one, a CuisineArt, and an ancient history (1975, I think) medium size round one, a Rival. The old one doesn't really heat up anymore on high but I'm keeping it around to keep things warm after they have been cooked; things like Jack Daniels Hot Dogs. Mostly I use them in the winter, but this summer I did make your Greek Chicken recipe to put into your Greek Chicken Salad.
When I lived in RI I liked slow cooker tenderized meals especially because the price of electricity was a lot lower on the mainland but now I live in Honolulu, HI where we have the highest electricity rates in the nation. I use electricity judiciously now so instead of slow cooking for 6-8 hours I pressure cook to knock 70% of the cooking time down and I changed my stove to European induction and oven to true convection which is 90% more efficient than regular electric, gas or quarts stoves and faster heating the pots and pans telling exactly what temperature you are cooking at (no more L, M, H) and you can micro-manage the temperature just like gas stoves thus using less electricity and not heating an already 78 F degree kitchen up further. I still have my 4 qt. and 6 qt. slow cookers but hardly ever use them now.
I do like my slow cooker, but sometimes I just don't have the planning time in the morning AND I do NOT like to leave anything like that plugged in while I'm away at work. BUT....I am gravitating more and more towards my electric pressure cooker. Anything and everything super fast and more tender that if I let it stew all day in a slow cooker. I don't know how I ever went so long without one.
Not crazy about it. My kid is a vegetarian, and I just haven't found that many veg-friendly recipes that don't require lots of prep. If I'm going to do all the pre-saute rigamarole, I may as well wait until I get home from work.
And I've never had a bean recipe get done in the time they say it will...
What disappoints me about them, is the heat they give off--which then makes them difficult for me to lift, transport. Why can they not be insulated enough to contain the heat etc. I would like a 3-4 qt. one--but digital-not been able to find such. I've read directions re placing strips of aluminum foil over 'hot spots'--can'y figure out if they are to be placed within the bowl or outside the bowl between the 2 surfaces? Most recipes do not describe the shape of cooker to be used--I find this most frustrating. Love them but frustrate me. That they are still popular after all these years, says something.