Slow Cooker Cooking

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance? One of my favorites is the slow cooker. It may seem like an outdated piece of equipment but it can help save time and money. And the best part is many standard size slow cookers are affordable. A simple 3-4 quart pot, which is an ideal size for a small family, can start at $20 (or less if it’s on sale). This little investment can result in the most delicious meals! Below are some tips for using a slow cooker:
-Fill the slow cooker about half to two-thirds full…Do not overfill or the dish will not cook properly or safely.
-Choose inexpensive meats when they’re on sale such as chicken drumsticks and thighs, pork shoulder, Boston butt, beef round, and ground beef.
-Remove as much fat from meats. If using chicken, remove skin. Too much fat will affect the texture of the meat.
-Brown and sear meats, if possible. This adds a richer and deeper flavor to the dish. If using ground beef, pre-cook and drain off fat.
-Stack the pot according to your recipe. A general rule of thumb is whatever takes longest to cook goes on the bottom.
-Keep a lid on it! Resist the temptation to open the lid midway. Doing so releases moisture and heat that may affect your dish and cooking time.

Below is a simple chili recipe your family is sure to enjoy!

1½ lb. lean ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cans, 15 oz. each, red kidney beans, rinsed
1 large can, 16 oz. no-salt-added tomato sauce
1½ cups Chunky Mild Salsa
1 cup frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Chili powderOptional toppings: Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese, low-fat sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced red onions

1. Add all ingredients except cheese into the slow cooker; stir. Cover with lid.
2. Cook on low 5 to 6 hours (or on high 3 to 4 hours).
3. Stir before serving. Top with optional ingredients.

chili con carne

Image from tiramisustudio (


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
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