31 Days of Creative Homemaking :: Day 14--More Slow Cooker Secrets

I already talked about using slow cookers to keep your food warm, but today I am going to share a few more slow cooker secrets.  The slow cooker really is a miracle worker.  Here are a few reasons why...

Cooking beans in a slow cooker (recipe taken from an interview in Clean Eating of Allison Fishman)--Put in one pound of beans with half a diced onion, a tablespoon of salt, and cover with eight cups of water.  Cook for about five hours.  These make the most perfectly cooked beans and you don't even have to worry about soaking the beans!  I make a whole batch when serving tacos at a party or a half batch for my husband and I.  If I have any leftovers, I just put it in single serving containers in the freezer for later.  No more canned beans!

Making chicken stock (thanks to the suggestion of my friend Sara)--place a chicken carcass (I usually do this after I have purchased a store bought rotisserie chicken), some veggies (carrots, celery, onion), and herbs in the crock pot and cover with water.  Let it simmer all day or overnight and you have homemade chicken stock without heating up the house all day!  You can adapt any chicken stock recipe but just cook it in the slow cooker instead of on the stove.

Soup and chili--dump a whole bunch of soup ingredients in the slow cooker (beans, chicken, veggies), cover with stock, salt and pepper it, and add some fresh or dried herbs.  Something about it simmering all day makes it taste so much better.  I usually pick a type of soup or chili I want and base my ingredients around it.  I also take note of the ingredients in a soup I have at a restaurant or that is store bought and try to replicate it at home.  Here are a few of my favorites:

-Minestrone--veggies, pasta, italian seasonings
-Chili--beans, chicken, tomato, corn, onion, bell peppers, chili pepper
-Chicken and white bean/potatoes--chicken, white beans/potatoes, rosemary 

same strategy as my other enchilada recipe except I rolled instead of layered

Try cooking your oven recipes in the slow cooker--You can put all kinds of things in your slow cooker but you will never know how it turns out until you try it.  There are plenty of recipes online or in cookbooks but I like being able to cook my own normal recipes or meals in the slow cooker to make life easier and the house less hot.  This is how I figured out that I could make lasagna in the slow cooker as well as my favorite enchilada recipe.

Cooking ground beef in bulk in slow cooker instead of frying--I recently read this great tip for cooking ground beef over at 10 Minute Dinners.  Just put in the slow cooker and let it cook on it's own!

Any other great slow cooker secrets?

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