When you're leading a busy life, trying to fit in work, fitness, family friends, pets and any hobbies you might have, cooking often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Result = expensive, unhealthy fast food or a frustrated and frazzled cook.
Enter the humble crockpot, best friend of renters on the go. Although hardly a new invention, a new generation of apartment renters, professionals and young families are discovering exactly why this gadget is such a winner.
Cooking with a crockpot is:
Most crockpots cost less than $100 to buy, even the digital crockpots, and are much more economical to run than an oven or a stovetop, despite being left on for many hours. You save money on the actual food too - because your food cooks for a long time, you can safely buy cheaper cuts of meat and leave them to tenderize.
No culinary skills required. If you can chop vegetables and trim fat from meat, you're good to go. Using a crockpot is simplicity itself; just pop in the raw ingredients, switch on and leave.
Because the ingredients get to stew for a long time, the flavors meld together beautifully and the resulting taste is usually much better than if you had made the same dish faster on the stove.
The crockpot method of cooking typically requires very little in the way of added oils or fats. A crockpot dish is therefore usually healthier and lower in calories than an equivalent dish cooked a different way. What's not to love?
5. Fuss Free
Not only is there no fuss in the cooking, there's no fuss in the cleaning up either. With just one pot to wash, you get to spend more time with your family or entertaining your friends, and less time chained to the sink or the dishwasher.
Imagine getting home late and being able to dig right in to a delicious, home-cooked meal. It's the next best thing to living with Mom - although sadly, they've yet to invent a crockpot which will also pick up your socks and do your laundry!
Here are some of our favorite Crockpot recipes:
Against all Grains, Crockpot Thai Beef Stew
The Healthy Foodie, Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken
Gimme Some Oven, Barbacoa
Carmel Potatoes, Pulled Pork with Apple Cider Sauce