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Slow cooker recipes that aren't awful

(24 Posts)
Makemeachannelofyourpeas Mon 30-Jan-17 14:41:18

Off the back of the cooking from scratch thread, I'm appealing for slow cooker recipes that actually work.

My DC are 5 and 6 and I work 5 days a week, often getting home with them after 5.30 by which time they're starving. All month I've been trying so hard to get lovely meals in the slow cooker for them and NONE of the recipes I have tried have been successful. My finest hour was meatballs in tomato sauce that my DS ate but them requested to never eat again. The others have all ended up in the bin and, more often than not, made the whole house stink like the worst kind of zoo ape house.

And it's not that my DC are being mega-fussy, I don't even really want to eat the meals either: they are often bitter and metallic tasting. I am using proper slow cooker recipe books but still no bloody joy.

I am very much on the brink of chucking the slow cooker away and going back to toast for the kids. So, what are your absolute smash hits for your family from your slow cooker? I really want to love my slow cooker and for us all to be eating better. Help me!!

Eatingcheeseontoast Mon 30-Jan-17 14:47:57

They are all awful apart from stock in my experience.

I often slow cook in the oven at the weekend and then heat that up during the week - lovely. Stuff made in the slowcooker just not nice.

I'd suggest JAmie's 15 minute meals instead - so you can cook stuff quickly. Like bashing out chicken fillets so they grill or fry really quickly and making up (small) meatballs at the weekend and then cooking them in tom sauce for 20 mins or so.

PinkFluffiUnicorn Mon 30-Jan-17 14:50:02

Sausages (cooked or not), baked beans or other tinned beans, tin of pasatta or chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock ,glug of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (herbs too if you like) I leave it on low all day, I take the lid off when I come home, thenI put oven on for chips or tatties & veg, good luck, I love my slow cooker

Braceybracegirl Mon 30-Jan-17 14:52:31

I agree I find everything tastes rank and watery. Sausages look like flaccid penises and taste even worse.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Mon 30-Jan-17 14:53:10

Slimming World pulled pork is genuinely fabulous. Seriously, you'll be surprised it's so good.

I make stews, casseroles etc. Nothing with mince, all big chunky cuts of meat. A whole chicken works well. Soup too, but I only bother if I don't have time to cook it off of an evening, which is rare.

HughLauriesStubble Mon 30-Jan-17 14:53:49

I do a lovely sausage casserole in mine. An onion, garlic, a few carrots, a tin of mixed beans, a tin of butter beans, 2 tins of tomatoes, some stock and 8 sausages. Chuck it all in the slow cooker, sprinkle on some herbs and leave it on low for 5-6 hours. I cook the sausages whole but slice into rounds once cooked. I serve it with rice and it feeds me, dh and 2 toddlers for 2 days.

HughLauriesStubble Mon 30-Jan-17 14:55:46

Oh and I've done a lovely bean chilli and some nice bolognese too.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 30-Jan-17 14:55:50

I do tagine-ish (as in I don't know how authentic it is, but hey...). Either lamb or chicken cut into chunks and marinaded in a bit of harrissa paste the night before. I also chop veg up night before.

Then in morning soften some onions and garlic, maybe throw in a bit of smoked paprika (new favourite thing) and brown the meat. Dump into slow cooker with chunks of veg - often carrot, potato, sweet potato. Also drained can of chick peas and a tin of tomato, plus around half a can of water. If I'm feeling fancy some preserved lemons might make it in there, or something like dried apricots or prunes.

FunSpunge Mon 30-Jan-17 15:21:34

I am so glad someone else thinks they taste bitter I always get told "you must be doing something wrong"

I don't know what I do different but every time I eat somebody else's slow cooker food it tastes fine! sad

Makemeachannelofyourpeas Mon 30-Jan-17 15:46:28

Thanks for both the suggestions and the agreements on taste, they both are helping me feel less useless! Is the problem my brand of slow cooker, perhaps? I have a CrockPot 6.75ltr one if that makes a difference?

HughLauriesStubble Mon 30-Jan-17 16:12:48

I think some things just tend to taste bitter when cooked for long periods of time. I used to use pataks curry paste in the sc and found the curry always tasted bitter so now I just use curry powder and instead of adding all the coconut milk at once, I keep half of it back until about a half hour before serving and I find it helps.

For tomato based dishes, I find that using tinned whole plum tomatoes gives a sweeter finish than tinned chopped tomatoes. I also always add a few chopped or grated carrots to add sweetness to the dish.

Sugarandsalt Mon 30-Jan-17 23:28:36

I use my slow cooker a lot. When I bought it I thought it would be fantastic for stews/curries but generally I actually think they are much better from the hob. What I think it's amazing for is cooking joints of cheaper meat- shoulder of pork to make pulled port, brisket, gammon etc. Then I just make side dish quickly in the evening.

For example, Tonight I have bourbon beans cooking in it (experimental!) and in the morning the pork shoulder goes in. It's sitting in a dry marinade tonight, will go in without liquid in morning and when I come home I'll throw on some simple home made BBQ sauce.

smilingmind Mon 30-Jan-17 23:39:34

DH loves his and has two. A big one and a small one. He says it is good for cheap meat, puts it on in the morning and it doesn't even smell good when it is cooking.
I think it makes everything taste like old tea bags and much prefer our pressure cooker which can cook the same meat much better in 20 minutes.

Cakescakescakes Mon 30-Jan-17 23:43:06

Nothing tastes as good in a slow cooker as it doesn't when cooked in an oven or hob. No matter what anyone says. I put mine on gumtree.

Highlove Tue 31-Jan-17 09:08:59

Oh I'm glad it's not just me. I've only used the bastard thing once and it was so crap I've been put off trying again. I'm a pretty good cook so I do kind of know my way round ingredients. What I produced was too thin, just a bit dull and yes, also oddly metallic flavoured. I should try again but I'm put off.

Cookingongas Wed 01-Feb-17 07:26:21

I love mine. Soups are my favourite thing to make in it- chuck it all in with stock and blitz on return. Takes a few goes to get the stick/veg ratio right but it is imo the best way to make healthy meals on busy days. Otherwise I end up with egg on toast- fine every now and then, but without any veg I can't give it to the dc regularly ( they eat no fruit/veg at School by choice so after school is the only time I can get some in them)

LemonyFresh Wed 01-Feb-17 07:33:40

8 sausages for 4 people in two days? My husband would eat that just for himself for dinner in 2 days!

NoNoNotAgain Sat 04-Feb-17 10:43:44

I think you can make some decent stuff in the slow cooker, but you have to really inject some flavours or it ends up bland. Also I can never leave mine to cook all day - 5 hours for most things. So it might be an option to use it at the weekend if you're out and about, and stick a couple of meals in the freezer?

Things that work for me are
Butter chicken (use thighs though)
Cinnamon lamb curry (from made in India)
Beef chilli (loads of cumin, cloves etc)
Bolognaise (sundried tomatoes and porcini mushrooms to get concentrated flavour)
Beef rendang

Also wrap potatoes in foil and leave to bake (how long is really dependent on your sc).

I definitely don't agree with 'sling in a couple of ingredients and it turns out fine'!!

Sgtmajormummy Sat 04-Feb-17 14:07:23

Death by stew IMO and who wants "the whole house smelling of pulled pork"? confused
I've kept the pot for coq au vin or Jamie's Chicken in Milk done in the oven but the casing went in the bin after a month of earnest experimenting.

I'm a proud pressure cooker user instead. Also cook once and serve twice. Nobody will die if things get repeated.

EmGee Sun 05-Feb-17 11:22:54

I have a crock-pot and it is great for making mince, bolognaise, chilli, casseroles. I do brown the meat and saute the veg first then transfer to the SC when it's hot. So I've never tried 'chuck everything in raw and leave it for 8 hours'. I'm not convinced it would taste that good so I haven't dared. These meals always taste delicious though!

I also use mine to cook chicken legs/thighs (remove fat, saute in frying pan with seasoning and olive oil first to brown the meat). The meat just falls off the bone so perfect for making soup, curry etc.

I keep mine in the pantry so it stops the smells from pervading the house.

Wolfiefan Sun 05-Feb-17 11:27:35

Spaghetti bolognese.
Sausage casserole.
Chicken and cashew nut
I have some good recipes from
Riko's brisket
Pork carnitas (pulled pork but not in sickly BBQ)
Red braised pork.

UnOeufIsEnough Sun 05-Feb-17 11:27:46

I avoid anything tomato-based in the slow cooker. It always ends up vinegary.

I do like it for slow cooking while chickens and meat or casseroles/stews.

babyblabber Sun 05-Feb-17 14:58:02

Will be watching this with interest!

bramblina Wed 08-Feb-17 23:09:47

I haven't used mine a great deal as I did think most things taste the same but we all love the honey garlic chicken- try it

It is seriously fab. I reduce the sauce and serve that too. We had this on Monday.

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