Kitchen Favorites: My slow cooker

This is Modern Pioneer’s wife, Danielle. Nice to meet you!

For the longest time, I dreaded cooking. As a busy person, planning meals wasn’t on my agenda so that shopping and cooking became a drag.
I changed my outlook on it a few years ago when I learned to plan better & I became more organized. Not only did this save me a lot of time and money, now I enjoy prepping meals, and I get organized ahead of the days when I know I will be short on time.

Last year I created a 6 week meal planner, along with recipes, shopping lists and templates.  This is available as a PDF download that you can print off. Order here: http://themodernpioneer.com/downloads/category/menu-planning-downloads/

Along with the planner, I wanted to share some of our favorite kitchen products!  These combine good quality with efficiency. I don’t like gadgets for the sake of having them – they have to save me time or money so they earn their space in the cabinets!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004P2NG0K/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004P2NG0K&linkCode=as2&tag=mealplanner-20

Large slow cooker

My first share is my Crock-Pot.

Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker

For a LIMITED TIME Amazon has a $5 coupon for this item. See here to see if still valid – if so, “clip coupon” then order at the top of that page.

This sat on top of the fridge for most of the first year I owned it (see above re lack of planning and hating cooking!) But now I use this at least once a week. In Summer it’s a great way to cook without having a hot stove heating up the kitchen, and in Winter it makes wonderful stews, chili and soup.

This one is quite large for the 3 of us now at home but I still use it so I can make extra for 2 nights and sometimes I still have some to freeze for the future.
I can also cook large slabs of meat in it because the shape is great for that.

This one is programmable – so it has multiple settings with 1/2 hr increments, and it switches to warm setting when cooking is done. This is great for shorter cooking times when I am not home to turn it off or I am running late.

As a bonus, it has a lock down lid for transporting – great to take to pot luck dinners and concession stands!

I also just bought a smaller 3 quart manual slow cooker.
When using a slow cooker it is always best to fill it AT LEAST half way for best heat circulation and to prevent food from drying out. Sometimes my large one is just too big for that. Or sometimes I want a second one to run for a slow cooker dessert or veggies. I picked a manual because it’s not my main slow cooker and the manuals are much more affordable. I just paid $14.99 for this which isn’t bad at all.

What do you think?