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Episode 28: Maybe the Slow Cooker Isn’t so Great?

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dinner

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Listen: We know you love your slow cooker, and we use ours frequently too. But we’re not sold on the idea that the slow cooker is the answer to every parent’s dinner woes. In fact, we’ve got some major issues with crock pot cooking and a bunch of slow cooker recipes, and we go full-on Petty Crocker about them in this episode.

That said, there are some dishes, ingredients, and circumstances for which the slow cooker is perfect. And once we’re done telling you all the ways you can do better than your slow cooker, we also tell you how you can maximize it. Because, damn, if you’re going to wait six or more hours for your food, it’d better be good.

Do You Really Love Your Slow Cooker?

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Newsflash: We work on the internet and have access to your data. Well, not your personal data. But you know, generally speaking we see that you still love searching for slow cooker recipes. A whollllllllle lot. So we know you’re into it. But here’s the deal: while the slow cooker is good — like, really good — for some things, we don’t think it’s all that for everything that we’ve been told.

This week, Stacie and Meghan go deep on their issues with the slow cooker. Stacie gets petty about what’s wrong with all too many slow cooker recipes found online and the one (and only) type of recipe that she believes the slow cooker is truly better for than than her beloved Instant Pot. (And, yes, you should listen to the Instant Pot episode stat if you haven’t already.)

Meghan is a bit more forgiving, but only because she’s shifted both what she cooks in her crock pot and the way she uses it to cook. Hint: she’s not pulling her slow cooker out to make weeknight dinners the way you might think.

This week, tune in for tips on how to perfect your use of the slow cooker: We’ll tell you what it’s good for, what you can do better in the Instant Pot or stove top, and give you some fresh ideas for how you can maximize the slow cooker’s usefulness.

Oh! And Stacie mentioned one of her favorite slow cooker cookbooks, which she thinks is worth getting if you’re a slow cooker die-hard:

Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen. 40 Slow Cookers. 200 Fresh Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen

The Most Genius Way to Use the Slow Cooker

The Raddish Kids Facebook page has a parents group where Meghan noticed a fantastic tip:

Use your slow cooker to teach your little one to cook safely without a flame.

How smart is that?! We love this idea and think it’s a great way to use a crockpot. It helps parents move away from constantly defaulting to baking with kids, something that parents tend to do because savory cooking usually involves knives and flame. The crock pot can solve for that!

That got us talking about how the crock pot can also be a way to scaffold cooking for older kids like tweens and teens, and even non-cooking partners. Meghan talked about how she uses recipes like her Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli to help set her husband up for success on nights when she can’t be home to make dinner herself, which is typically her responsibility in their division of labor.

All so smart!

Cook It, Slowly

Photo: Joe Lingeman for Kitchn

In this episode’s lighting round, we keep it simple and list our favorite slow cooker recipes. And for two folks who aren’t sold on the slow cooker, it’s pretty funny how many favorite recipes we have!

BASICS

SLOW COOKED MEATS

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STEWS & SOUPS

DRINKS & A DESSERT


Be sure to follow Stacie @staciebillis and Meghan @stirandscribble both on Instagram, and of course, together, they are @didntijustfeedyou.

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