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Dinners that cook themselves. Really.

By Michelle Edelbaum, February 5, 2010 - 11:49am

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to catch onto the slow-cooker phenomenon. Now that I have one I know it’s a busy mom’s lifesaver! (Click here to find out which slow cooker the EatingWell Test Kitchen cooks recommend.)

My husband and I both work and when we get home at night we want to spend time with our son. But we still need to eat dinner and we want it to be healthy. My new slow cooker is solving all these problems for me (and more!).

Here’s how it works for me:

• Before I leave for work in the morning I load up the slow cooker with the ingredients in the recipe. (Confession: I look for recipes that require little to no work, like minimal chopping and browning.)
• When I get home at night, dinner is ready. That’s it. Really!
• OK, one more thing—it’s saving us money too. Because I’m so psyched to cook in my slow cooker I’m planning meals ahead, so I’m not buying extra ingredients at the grocery store and I’m using cheaper cuts of meat. Plus the recipes make multiple servings so we have more than one night’s worth of food for dinners, plus extra for lunches or leftovers to freeze for another time.

Although I haven’t yet, I could even make oatmeal for breakfast or Apple Confit for dessert in the slow cooker too! Seriously genius, right? Here are some of my favorite ultra-easy healthy slow cooker recipes:

Barbecue Pulled Chicken: My husband and I both loved this re-interpretation of pulled pork. It was very saucy and made a great dinner either on rolls as sandwiches or over rice.

Slow-Cooker Braised Pork with Salsa: This recipe is so easy I almost felt guilty claiming I’d made dinner. You don’t even need to brown the meat and much of the flavor comes from prepared salsa. The result is a full-flavored, meltingly tender pork stew. Serve it over quinoa or rice.

Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew: This richly flavored vegetarian stew brings together ingredients I always have on hand and that even my son likes (so I don’t have to spend extra time making baby food!). We also like to serve this over brown rice or steamed spinach.

What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Michelle Edelbaum, Food Blog, Budget meals, Dinner, Family meals, Kitchen tools

Michelle Edelbaum
Michelle is the digital editor for EatingWell Media Group. She puts her background in journalism to work online at EatingWell.com and in EatingWell Magazine, authoring the Good Questions interview with interesting people in the world of food and health.

Michelle asks: What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes?

Tell us what you think:

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