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I formally thought slow cooker meats always translated into a shredded product. And while I adore low-cooked dishes yielding tender, fall apart meat, it doesn’t have to end that way.

It’s my opinion the original idea of the slow cooker was a solution to a busy day – – throw it in the cooker, and go out for the day.  If you are around my age, you will know from experience today’s slow cookers aren’t so slow compared to our mothers’ “Crock-pots.” Many recipes can’t go for longer than 5 hours (some less) on low without compromising the integrity of the dish. Even my slow cooker lasagna with uncooked noodles can’t go for more than 4 hours on low. Of course, it all depends on what you are making. Raw beans in the slow cooker will go all day, as will a big hunk of meat. When using older slow cooker recipes, you need to take into consideration, the times for those dishes were based on slow cookers of yesteryear.

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Spring is the busiest time of year for me. Yearly homeschool testing, church musical, church lock-in, ordering ribbons for swim team, and the list goes on. I just signed up to be director for our Classical Conversations (CC) group as well, so I’ve spent a portion of the last two afternoons making preparations for our group. Today, was the craziest day I’ve had in a long time, and because we ate junk while camping last weekend, I’m trying to keep it healthy around here.

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My week is really busy, so I had to plan our meals accordingly, including a soft meal Thursday since my daughter is getting braces. All week, I need quick, healthy dinners. Today I needed to leave early, so I put together the makings of a pot roast the night before, placed the slow cooker crock in the fridge, and just plopped it back in the base before leaving. I made mashed potatoes, gravy from the drippings, and popped the lid on some home canned green beans. We had a big, home cooked meal with little effort.

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My husband Doug left for a business trip Sunday, and he’s dining at ritzy restaurants in Vegas, Facebragging about his expensive dinners, some plated up by Gordon Ramsey’s chefs.

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Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

 

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For Christmas, my mom got me a Ninja 3-in-1 slow cooker. This is no ordinary slow cooker, it has stove top, oven, steam and slow cooker options. Not to mention this appliance has an automatic warming function, which means I can be away for the day without something overcooking. I can set a dish for 5 hours, and then it turns to warm. This really helps me, because modern slow cookers don’t cook very slowly, and I find being gone all day doesn’t work for many recipes.

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