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"Tis the Season...for Slow Cookers

There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and having dinner all ready - those yummy smells greeting you when you walk in the door. Although the slow cooker is great any time of year, I find it is usually the fall or winter when it gets the most use. At this time of year, if you're lke me, you come home only to grab a quick dinner so that you can head back out christmas shopping or attend a school concert.  Usually the speed of dinner reflects the nutritional value. However with a little prep work the night before or in the morning, a wonderfully delicious and nutritious meal can be waiting for you...giving you the needed energy to face those malls. 

Need a dish for a potluck? No Problem. No need to pick up something on the way. Slow cookers are perfect for transporting. You'll be sure to impress when you show up with a home cooked dish (that's been cooking while you've been a work). And slow cookers are not just for entrees. They are great for everything from drinks to desserts. You are really only limited by your creativity.  

Most new slow cookers are programmable which allow you to set the timer for a specific amount of time.  After the time has elapsed, the slow cooker immediately switches to the warm setting. This prevents burnt or over-cooked food if you happen to run late or decide to run errands before heading home. I own a programmable one and this feature has often come in handy. Some of the newest ones on the market even come with a built-in meat probe. Once the desired temperature is met, the slow cooker wil then switch to the warm setting. These slow cookers eliminate the guess work of how long to set the timer. If you are thinking of purchasing a slow cooker,  I would recommend getting one (in addition to being programmable) with a removeable liner.  They look nice on the table (perfect for a buffet) and make clean-up much easier.

There are many websites full of recipes and tips for using a slow cooker including Canadian Living, Kraft Canada, and Crockpot.Com to name a few. A favourite recipe in our house of teenage boys is Fall-off-the-bone Ribs in Barbecue Sauce from Canadian Living.

As well, the library has a wonderful collection of slow cooker cookbooks. These are a few of my favourites:

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 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics / Judith Finlayson

 

 

 

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Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook / Beth Hensperger adn Julie Kaufmann

 

 

 

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The Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Cookbook: More than 320 low calorie, low fat dishes / Jyl Steinback