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Convince me I need a slow cooker - vegetarian with picky children and lots of activities!

(10 Posts)
oneofthegiantsisme Fri 07-Oct-11 14:29:21

The background is that family meals are becoming more & more difficult as the DC get older & have more activities on. We would prefer to all sit round the table at 6pm every night and have a proper dinner, but that doesn't always work.

At the moment, we have a couple of days a week when one or both DC have school dinners for their main meal and sandwiches in the evening, then I cook for DH & myself (in between the taxi runs). It's not really very satisfactory, so I'm looking for a better way.

I keep thinking that a slow cooker might solve my problems; if I could have a meal ready for, say, 5pm, then it could be dished out for whichever child is off to an activity, and the rest could be kept warm for everyone else.

I have two issues with this; one is that I'm vegetarian, so I don't cook meat (although everyone else eats it), and most of the stuff I see about slow cookers is meat-based. The other is what to do about any accompaniment - I don't really want to have to cook 2 or 3 separate lots of pasta/rice/potatoes to go with whatever is in the slow cooker.

Oh, and the kids won't eat spicy food, so curry & chilli are out, and they don't like any other pulse than baked beans (and using a tin of Heinz as the base for a casserole doesn't work either - I've tried!).

So, can a slow cooker solve all my problems, or am I being optimistic?

ppeatfruit Sat 08-Oct-11 07:59:40

Or use the timer on yr oven? I've wondered about a slow cooker as well; i just don't fancy something else on my work surface or gathering dust at the back of a cupboard. And does the food keep it's vitamins? (sorry to put you off) I'll be interested in the replies smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Oct-11 09:38:26

I think, unless you can get your children to enjoy casseroles and beans, there's no point buying something that cooks food very, very slowly. If you're short on time, cook a few things for the freezer - veg lasagne for example - at weekends and defrost them on busy days.

rubyslippers Sat 08-Oct-11 09:46:16

I have cooked veggie sausage casserole in mine no probs (with potatoes etc in it)

And you can do a quorn bolognaise in it

I do a lot of soups in mine and I blitz them so they ar e smooth - I do use a lot of lentils but the kids don't notice -served with fresh bread or cous cous it's a good tea for after school

tabulahrasa Sat 08-Oct-11 09:54:52

I've got one still in the box (it was free) and I can't work out what I'd use it for either.

thereistheball Sat 08-Oct-11 13:11:01

I don't think there is any point in you getting one if you aren't going to use it to cook meat or pulses, sorry.

How old are your children? Are there any quick / simple /nutritious things you could teach them to do safely for themselves?

oneofthegiantsisme Sat 08-Oct-11 14:27:51

Hmmm, not sounding promising, is it.

DC are 12 (nearly) and 9. Perhaps I could start them on omelette and pasta & pesto. Our microwave is on a high shelf, unfortunately, so that rules out jacket potatoes.

I'll have to keep thinking.

KatharineClifton Sat 08-Oct-11 14:35:00

You can do jacket potatoes in the slow cooker. I've recently got one and am trying out things. Also vegy. There are plenty of recipes on the net for vegy recipes using veg and tvp/quorn. My kids also won't eat spicy foods. I really regret not weaning them on curry grin

flatbread Sun 09-Oct-11 15:58:31

I use the slow cooker to caramelize onions and they turn out amazing! I then use them on pasta with just olive oil and fresh tomatoes. Also use the onions in sandwiches or soups or a casserole...just about anything really. Adds a lovely complex but mellow flavour smile

I am vegetarian as well and use the slow cooker for other things as well - lentil soups, stews and curries. You can make mild coconut or nut based curries that are yum and not spicy.

laptopdancer Mon 10-Oct-11 22:27:18

I use the slow cooker for loads of vege meals

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