As a working Mom obligated to feed her family, the slow cooker rocks my world.
My biggest challenge each day is trying to plan a meal everyone will eat. Then, make sure the ingredients are on hand. Then, take the time to prepare a meal at the precise point in the day when I’m the most mentally depleted.
The benefits of the family dinner have been well documented. One study shows that teens who don’t eat with their families for dinners on a regular basis are much more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco compared to those who do eat meals with their parents.
Studies aside, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that eating together, sharing the day’s ups and downs with the people you love, and basically communing as a cohesive group, is better than the alternative.
The slow cooker is the ultimate tool for “fix it and forget it” meal preparation. You can find a suitable recipe on any number of websites or cookbooks. Just load it with ingredients in the morning, set on low and let the meal cook all day. Come home a few hours later and you’re greeted with an enticing aroma of a home-cooked meal.
Here’s one of my favorite slow cooker recipes, courtesy of one of a former teacher. It makes a lot and freezes well. It also tastes even better the next day as leftovers:
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 pkg. Italian seasoning (in salad dressing aisle)
Lay chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Mix soup, cheese and seasoning. Pour over chicken. Cook 8-10 hours on low. Use spatula to break chicken apart. Serve on hard rolls or buns.
What about you? Are you as enamored with the slow cooker as I am? Let me know what you think. Better yet, share a recipe or two. I’ll post the best ones in the near future and continue to spread the good word about the little appliance with huge potential to make you wildly happy.