When you think about slow cooker meals, you probably think of convenience: You can toss in the ingredients before you leave the house, and return hours later to the welcoming smell of dinner—warm, tasty, and miraculously done. Or maybe your mind goes to hearty cold-weather meals: rich stews and chillis. Or to feeding a crowd without the last-minute kitchen frenzy.
Your slow cooker is brilliant at prepping meals that keep you on course with your weight loss and health goals. The low-and-slow method coaxes flavour from nutritious ingredients, including loads of ZeroPoint foods. It works wonders with lean proteins, turning out tender dishes without fatty cuts of meat. Beans get creamy, spices meld, veggies caramelise—all without a lot of oil or butter.
So, whether you want to take things slow or speed ’em up, cook for a gang or just for two, we’ve got you covered with ideas and techniques for your kitchen’s most valuable gadgets.
Expert tips for slow cooking
1. Avoid lifting the lid on your slow cooker unless really necessary as this allows the heat to escape. Also cut your ingredients into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
2. Slow cook tougher cuts of meat (such as chuck or stewing steak). However, still remove as much visible fat as possible (there will be enough interconnective tissue to keep it soft and tender).
3. Reduce the liquid content when converting recipes for the slow cooker as there is less evaporation. As a general guide, use ½–1 cup (125-250ml) less than for other cooking methods.
4. Chuck steak and lamb shoulder are best for slow cooking (cheaper cuts of meat) as expensive cuts will become tough instead of tender.
5. Use paper towel for blotting any cooking fat that rises to the top.
6. Keep an eye on the liquid level and add more water or reduce the temperature if the food starts to stick.