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I need to start using my slow cooker....and I don't really know how!!

(22 Posts)
2anddone Sun 03-Sep-17 11:57:23

Hi, I am back to work tomorrow after the school holidays off and I really need to start using my slow cooker so that when I get home from work dinner is ready with limited waiting.
I live with my 2dc and they are hungry by the time we get in! Towards the end of last term we had fell into a rut of eating more or less the same quick and easy food every week. I am bored and as a result don't eat as much then fill up on biscuits and crisps once they are in bed and the weight is piling on!!
I have a slow cooker and I have used it in the past to make a stew, pulled pork and that's about it!
I have plenty of time in the evenings to prep for it to turn on the next day but no time in the mornings!
We like pretty plain food but can manage a bit of spice (think korma or not too spicy mexican food). The only issue I have is ds refuses to eat cheese so if a recipe needs topping with cheese that would only work if I can leave his portion 'cheese free'.
Please can you help inspire me with some easy yet tasty slow cooker meals!
Thank you 😊

OP’s posts: |
Jamboree05 Sun 03-Sep-17 12:30:13

Oh man! I love my slow cooker. You can literally bung anything in and go.

My ultimate favourite thing to do is stew. Have a look at the Jamie Oliver ones (e.g. and I don't cook anything. Bung all the ingredients in the cooker, 8 hours on low and away you go.

Roasts are great too. Try sticking a lamb joint in on top of some quartered onions, thyme or rosemary and some red wine. 8-10 hours on low (till it falls apart). Super yum!

Good luck!

bakingaddict Sun 03-Sep-17 12:33:28

I find chicken goes into stringy mush in the slow cooker. It's good for a beef stew, lamb or pulled pork but I rarely use mine as I don't like the texture it leaves meat

Solasum Sun 03-Sep-17 12:35:30

Whole chicken. Falls off the bone.

Bolognese sauce

HandmaidsFail Sun 03-Sep-17 12:38:15

Whole chicken! Sit it on some carrots and celery, stuff it with a lemon and leave it on all day. It falls apart when you try to take it out and the breast meat is really succulent.

I love beef stew in the slow cooker, bolognese is good and lamb shanks are delicious. I've just made beef stifado (thanks to a thread on here last week!) and it's delicious.

Nigella's Boston Baked Beans worked a treat too.

HandmaidsFail Sun 03-Sep-17 12:38:54

Great minds Solar!

IDismyname Sun 03-Sep-17 12:42:46

There are quite a lot of slow cooking groups on FB. I belong to Slow Cooking for The Opinionated (or summat) and Slow Cooked Wonders - both nice groups, although don't get drawn into the SC Fudge recipes - therein lies disaster for the waistline!

DandySeaLioness Sun 03-Sep-17 12:42:53

This is delicious, throw the chicken under the grill for a couple minutes afterwards to crisp up:

this looks good too:

all the rest of her slow cooker recipes:

wintersdawn Sun 03-Sep-17 12:48:12

I find that as long as I reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe the slow cooker result is the same as cooking it normally would be on most recipes.

Whereismumhiding2 Sun 03-Sep-17 12:57:04

We make loads in slow cooker. Best plan is to buy a slow cooker recipe book. Chicken is the only meat I won't cook in it, as it goes stringy. My favourite is bacon joint, put enough boiled water to cover 1/3-1/2 joint && addfew veg (more water the more veg you add), you don't need stock as it's becomes a lush flavour from. Bacon joint.
It's easy to do cubed beef or lamb, or other joints, with chick peas, lentils, chopped vegetables (butternut squash forge mushrooms, peas sqeetcorn not broccoli which mushes up) , water and stock, herbs, garlic... Put it in all cooker before work and it'll be lush by time you get home.
My tip would be to brown mince first in frying pan before putting it in slow cooker, otherwise it goes mushy.

2anddone Sun 03-Sep-17 14:10:37

Ooh these all sound good thank you.. feel free to keep the ideas flowing I am making a list grin

OP’s posts: |
pinkdonkey Sun 03-Sep-17 14:16:16

Roast dinners are great sit the meat on potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onion and it cooks your whole meal.

Beef Stew, chicken caserole, hunters chicken (you can use any cook in sauce e.g. chicken tonight)

All can be prepped night before then just switch on in the morning.

HopeAndJoy16 Sun 03-Sep-17 14:18:43

Chilli is super easy! And you can tailor the spice to your tastes. I just use a BBC good food recipe and usually leave out the red wine. I do veggie curries too with lentils to make it more filling x

HopeAndJoy16 Sun 03-Sep-17 14:37:45

I've adapted this curry recipe for the slow cooker, I roast the potatoes and onion for half an hour before chucking in with the curry paste- just for a deeper flavor- and use spinach instead of chard.

dertyyuoih2 Sun 03-Sep-17 14:44:41

I go chicken fajitas in it, chuck chicken breast, fajita mix (mild) peppers and onions and leave all day. 8 hours on low should be fine!

I do the same with spag Bol, only thing I need to do it cook the fat off the beef mince first. Then whack everything into slow cooker.

Same with mild chilli con carne... mince (fried off first) fat drained off, then kidney beans, chilli mix, tinned toms and then leave it for 8hours on low.

Anything can be go in the slow cooker really to be honest!
Any sauce can go in with any meat.

I do pork in stock with mushroom
And onions, salt and pepper, leave it on low for the day, then put some single cream in it about 30mins before serving on high. Serve with rice and veg.

I find it a life saver, makes life so much easier!

redexpat Sun 03-Sep-17 14:45:26

If you wanted to get really organised you could google dump dinners or freezer slow cooker meals. Then you dont need to spend you evenings doing the prep.

2anddone Sun 03-Sep-17 16:18:45

Thanks everyone some fab recipes here!! One (hopefully not too silly) question if you are doing chicken in sauce or hunters chicken do you have to cook the chicken first? I know people suggest browning mince to get rid of some fat but do you need to do it for chicken please? Don't want to end up poisoning everyone blush

OP’s posts: |
Spam88 Sun 03-Sep-17 16:32:54

No you don't need to cook the chicken first. Personally I prefer to use thighs though as breast can become quite dry.

dertyyuoih2 Sun 03-Sep-17 17:35:27

Nope you don't need to with chicken,just put it in raw, 8 hours on low and will be cooked 👍

ommmward Sun 03-Sep-17 17:47:51

I do slow cooking for almost all my suppers. Love it.

I often do moussaka. If you don't have time for a proper white sauce on top, then just get about half a pint of plain greek yoghurt, stir and egg into it, and that'll do the job. Shove grated cheese on top - it will brown. Oh, and if aubergine feels like a faff, just thinly slice potatoes and pretend. It all tastes splendid.

I like a thai green curry - I vaguely follow the Jamie Oliver naked chef recipe (I substitute lemon balm, which I have in the garden, for the lemongrass, and tend to use lots of carrot tops rather than lots of basil or parsley, but I'll use anything green really). I put vegetables in with it too, so it's a meal in one pot.

Another good one is a sausage stew. Brown sausages a bit first, so they don't look anaemic. Packet of sausages. Tin of baked beans. Tin of tomatoes. Any veggies you feel like (fry off the onions while browning the sausages, or they can be a bit crunchy). Leave for 8 hours or so.

I do at least ten recipes from this book: just watch out for the pork and star anise one - utterly vile. The rest have all been fabulous though, and are easily bowdlerised adapted to accommodate whatever one happens to have available.

TheHamptons Sun 03-Sep-17 17:50:59

Curries are great in the slow cooker, lentil daal, spag Bol, chilli, stews etc.

Whole roast chicken or smaller pieces of lamb or brisket, pulled pork....all lovely!

I find chicken breast often goes a bit rubbery but thigh is fantastic in a stew. And cheaper.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 03-Sep-17 17:53:18

I made coconut rundown in the slow cooker on Friday.

Before putting in slow cooker, soften two finely chopped onions in a frying pan sprayed with spray oil (I use coconut oil), add 1 tbsp of garlic puree, 1 tbsp ginger puree, 2 tbsp Jamaican all purpose seasoning, 1 tsp chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 500g chicken or turkey strips and brown, then add a tin of coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes until milk reduced by a third.

Pour into the slow cooker pot, add sliced red and yellow peppers, 200g sliced chestnut mushrooms, and a tin of tomatoes. Mix together then cook on low for at least 6 hours.

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