While slow cookers are usually used only for casseroles, stews and chowders, they can be used for so much more. Here are seven new foods to add to your slow-cooker repertoire to make your life easier.
Cooking this hearty veggie has never been easier than with a slow cooker. Simply prick your spaghetti squash with a fork and cook on the low for 4 to 6 hours. Remove it and let it cool. Then, slice it in half lengthwise, discard the seeds and enjoy the fruits of your (non) labor.
Between early commutes, dropping the kids off at school and simply getting out of your warm, cozy bed, making a satisfying breakfast in the morning is no easy task … until now. Just coat a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray, add your favorite veggies or cooked breakfast sausage and a dozen beaten eggs. Set the mixture to cook on low for 6 to 8 hours before bed. You'll have an easy breakfast for a family — or plenty of leftovers for a smaller household.
There is more than one way to cook breakfast in a slow cooker. Instead of spending your morning cooking steel-cut oats on the stovetop, add 1 cup steel-cut oats, 4 cups water, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
OK, one last slow-cooker breakfast idea! Just add your favorite granola recipe to a lightly greased slow cooker and cook on high for 2½ hours with a vented lid. You could make it for the smell alone, but having your kitchen stocked with delicious granola all week long is a welcome perk.
Gone are the days of heating up the oven for a couple baked potatoes or enduring the sub-par texture of their microwaved counterparts. Simply wash and wrap each potato in aluminum foil and cook in a 5-quart slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Do this before you leave for work in the morning and dinner will practically make itself once you get home.
In the time it takes to make dinner, you can have a hot and fresh loaf of unbelievable bread ready for dipping — even a crusty loaf of sourdough or a hearty six-grain. Prepare your favorite bread recipe, let it rise, form it into a loaf and lower it into a parchment-lined 4-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 45 minutes.
Forgo the tedious task of stirring and stirring (and stirring and stirring!) risotto. Simply follow your recipe by adding Arborio rice, oil, stock and seasonings to your slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 to 2½ hours until the rice is tender. Add Parmesan cheese and cook an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is melted through. Enjoy this effortless dinner — and I bet you'll start making it on a regular basis.