Shopping for Slow Cookers
I’m so thankful my girlfriend gave me her extra slow cooker about ten years ago. I had found a slow cooker recipe in a magazine that looked really good. I can not remember the recipe now, but I bet it was for a pulled style meat. I did not own a slow cooker at the time and I did not plan on buying one either. I fully admit I was a snob and thought slow cookers were for football Sundays making chili. Camille was generous to give me hers, so I could try it out. We liked it.
I became a slow cooker convert. In the winter, I would use it once or twice a week. The slow cooker is something I would suggest everyone have in their pantries regardless of the size of your kitchen. It really is helpful for the busy person or family who wants to eat good, wholesome meals. I know as mom and entrepreneur I rely on my slow cooker on those busy days where either I’m traveling or I know I will be drained at the end of the day. And since we are all on budgets these days, with a little planning you can avoid the fast food or take-away trap when you know a day is going to be crazy busy.
Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker
I used that Faberware Slow Cooker until it went kaput this week as I was walking out the door to meetings. Luckily, I checked it before I left or we would have had a disappointing dinner. While I like raw food as in carrots dipped in dressings, raw dinner would not have been OK.
Not wanting to waste perfectly good ingredients, I quickly ran to the local Walmart to purchase a slow cooker. Of course, I could not see the tree in the forrest there were so many to chose from on the shelf. I like to keep things simple. My idea is less can go wrong.
I settled on a Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-quart Slow Cooker. It was smaller than the Faberware slow cooker, but I always thought that one was too big. The Hamilton Beach takes up less room in the pantry and on the counter. That’s important to me since counter space is lacking in my old kitchen. It is more advanced than the three-button slow cookers, but still really easy to use out of the box. I just pulled it out of the box, washed, dried it, and dumped all the ingredients in it. Pressed two buttons and started the cooking process.
The slow cooker has three heat settings and number of hours to select. What I really like about it is that it goes into warm mode once the cooking time is done keeping your meal toasty (and hopefully not burnt) if you are late getting home. And other plus is that the removable stoneware crock and glass lid are dish washable. A huge plus for me since I hate doing dishes.
Slow Cookers Glore
Slow cookers now come all sizes and types. You can get small ones or large ones. Slow cookers that can travel without spilling. Ones that connect to other slow cookers in a buffet chain. There are ones that can slow cook, pressure cook, steam, and make rice. Decide before you go shopping what you are looking for or you will end up standing in the aisle with a glazed over look. Prices range from $15.00 to well over $100.00. Some of the best known brands for slow cookers are Crock-Pot and Hamilton Beach, but there are others. Everyone has their spoon in the slow cooker market these days.
It comes down to what your cooking needs are and what’s your budget. A slow cooker can be a good investment. And everyone likes to coming home to a house that smells wonderful… like a home-cooked meal.
Disclosure: The above links to products on Amazon are affiliate links, but I have received no compensation from Amazon or the brands in featuring their products in this blog post. If you buy from Amazon that’s great. If you buy from your local big box retailer that’s great as well.