Pssst! Before You Reach For The Phone To Order Home Delivered Food Read This Post…….
Making sure a healthy dinner is ready every evening is not easy. Nowadays life seems so rushed, there’s always more to do, a seemingly never ending list of tasks that you need to get done.
When you arrive home at the end of the day tired and hungry, it’s all too easy to ring for home delivered food but unfortunately some of those takeout choices are not that good for you. This is just one great reason why you should make slow cooker healthy meals.
Nothing feels better after a busy work day than coming home to find a flavorful casserole or beautiful stew all ready for you, with nothing more to do than dish it up and enjoy. The welcoming aroma of hearty home cooking greets you as you open your front door.
It’s hardly surprising then, that slow cookers have become a common feature in many homes especially with the hectic schedules most people have nowadays, juggling work, kids and the various activities we all try to cram into our increasingly busy lives.
So….. What is a Slow Cooker?
Introduced as a Crock-Pot in the 1970s by manufacturers Rival, slow cookers continue to be one of the must-have kitchen gadgets for the savvy and busy cook. The Crock Pot brand name became so familiar that slow cookers are still often referred to as ‘crock pots’.
Often made of ceramic with a glass top and metal housing a slow cooker simply plugs into an electrical outlet. Different heat and time settings allow cooking at low or high temperatures. Many models also come with a keep warm feature too which is pretty useful to keep the food at serving temperature if you’re running late.
The slow cooker was designed to allow for moist-heat cooking, producing condensed steam on the glass lid which returns to the pot, making it ideal for preparing soups, stews, and casseroles. Extended cooking time and slow/low energy cooking allows for optimum distribution of flavors throughout the dish.
The slow cooker I use isn’t a ‘Crockpot’ brand, but it’s pretty good. It’s fully programmable and has a ceramic liner rather than non-stick. It’s also good-looking enough to use for serving straight on the table. Click for more information
Health Benefits Of Slow Cooking
Food cooked at high temperature tends to lose much of its nutrient value and can make digestion a much more difficult for your gut to process.
High temperature cooking can also create harmful chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer. In fact, meats prepared at high temperature can develop PAC’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) which can cause cancer and even alter DNA.
On the other hand, long and slow cooking ensures nutrients like vitamins and minerals are retained in the food. One of the key advantages of slow cooking is its ability to make stock or broth preparation very easily.
Stock and bone broth are typically made with meat, poultry or fish bones which must be cooked slowly over many hours to extract the vitamins, minerals and other nutritious qualities from the bones into the broth.
Bone broth has amazing health benefits: it inhibits infection, reduces joint pain, promotes good digestion as well as healthy hair and nails. Probably its most well-known property is its ability to heal a leaky gut. For an easy and healthy chicken bone broth recipe click here
Meals can be made using a combination of ingredients along with meat or poultry such as onions, carrots, garlic, potatoes, herbs, and tomatoes. You can easily mix things up and enjoy a protein-rich, soluble fiber meal with micro nutrients and antioxidants, all in the one pot.
You Too Can Save Money By Using A Slow Cooker
Since slow cookers make delicious dishes out of cheaper and less desirable cuts of meat, they literally save you a lot of money. These cheaper cuts of meat are turned succulent, tender and full of flavor by slow cooking.
There’s lots of choice too, some of the most delicious slow cooker recipes include pork belly, pork shoulder, brisket, flank steak, skirt steak, oxtail, pork shank, top rump, and lamb shank.
Slow cookers save money in another way too due to their energy saving abilities, especially when compared to the energy consumption rate of an electric oven. While a standard oven consumes around 4,000 watts of power per hour, a slow cooker uses only 300 watts.
Yeah but you’ve got to cook your meat for hours, that definitely can’t be cheaper? That’s wrong.
Let’s say you have a hunk of meat that would normally take up to 2 hours to roast in a standard oven but 6 hours with a slow cooker. A slow cooker will only consume 1,800 watts of power even with the extended cooking time while your standard oven will use up to 8,000 watts of power.
Since power usage determines the price you pay on your electricity bills, a slow cooker represents a cheaper and greener option.
Some Other Great Benefits Of Using A Slow Cooker
It’s a great tool for novice cooks
Everyone can master meal preparation with a slow cooker since all the ingredients needed for the recipe are added at about the same time. For some recipes you might have to do some initial browning and combining herbs and flavorings.
However, once all the ingredients are placed into the slow cooker you only have to place the lid on the pot and allow it to cook in all the moisture and flavor.
Safe and Easy to Use
Slow cookers are typically designed to be left unattended under heat. They are very safe to use whether you are away or asleep – unless you’re using an ancient model with a worn-out cord or you’ve done some rookie electrical work in the home.
With a slow cooker, burning your food is a near impossibility too. Since the cooker is tightly covered, it is unlikely that your food can dry out or even burn – a factor that is always a concern when using a stove top or an oven for cooking.
Slow cookers give off much less heat when compared to a standard oven. This means your kitchen won’t become over heated in the same way – a real bonus on a hot summer day! Now you can make your summer stew or soup with butternut squash, sweet corn, beans and the kale from your garden without getting hot and bothered.
I live in a tropical climate, so this is a consideration for me. Particularly when I make my bone broths which can be cooking for about 20 hours.
Less Clean-up Time
You won’t have to spend time scrubbing different pans and pots after using a slow cooker. In most cases, you’ll only need to wash the slow cooker and a few utensils used for meal preparation. Many slow cookers are often dishwasher-safe, further cutting down your clean up time.
A slow cooker eliminates the need for a stove-top or an oven, which is especially convenient for college students residing in dorms. And even if you must have an oven, having a slow cooker relieves you of the hassle of juggling several pans and pots in your oven and on your hob. You can either use a slow cooker for your main course or as a side cooking tool. It’s also a great choice for special occasions and large gatherings.
Great for Busy Households
With increasingly busy lifestyles often family members rushing in and out, eat at different times, which makes a slow cooker ideal if you have anyone getting home late and needing a healthy meal after everyone else has eaten. Once the slow cooker is set to warm, it keeps the food gently heated until it is needed.
Putting it all together
A slow cooker is an amazing piece of kitchen equipment – very easy and convenient to use and it can save you lots of money on both your electricity bills and the cuts of meat you buy.
There is a wide variety of food types and recipes that can be made using a slow cooker. With the added benefit of providing a healthy form of cooking you can hardly go wrong owning a slow cooker.
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