I Used My Slow Cooker Every Day During Quarantine and This Is What I Learned

Life has slowed down lately, and I decided to bring that trend into my cooking. So began my quarantine kitchen slow cooker obsession.

I’ve been craving a slower pace of life for years. But to be honest, now that it’s here, it’s kind of uncomfortable. The “safer at home” orders have brought a screeching halt to life as we know it, and I’m still fumbling around trying to find my footing when it comes to making the most of my time indoors. I’m noticing that slowing down doesn’t come naturally to me; maybe it takes practice.

I’ve been looking for small ways to practice slowness in my life, and I figured the kitchen was a good place to start. The kitchen is where our family gathers each evening; it’s where the kids and I crowd into the same window to wave goodbye as my husband heads off to the hospital every morning, and it’s where I’m learning new levels of patience with my first sourdough starter. (You have to feed it every day—it’s like having a 4th child.)

So what better way to find some slowness in the kitchen than to pull out the slow cooker. I’ve always loved slow-cooker recipes for the ease they bring to my dinner routine. There’s nothing better than walking in the door after a hectic day and smelling the roast beef and gravy that’s been simmering for hours. And if there’s anything that can quiet my anxious brain during this quarantine, it’s simple, mouthwatering comfort food, like this:

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How I Use My Crock-Pot

When I think of slow cooker food, visions of thick stews and fall-off-the-bone ribs come to mind. While we all love a nice, hearty slow-cooked chili, I wanted to branch out from the usual dishes. Now that we’re eating every meal and snack at home, it’s a welcome change to bring some more intention to what we’re eating. Fortunately, I found a way to turn just about any recipe into a slow cooker one.

What I Learned

You Can’t Rush the Crock-Pot

I’m addicted to productivity and efficiency. Even as I was embracing an intentionally slower way of being in the kitchen, I still found myself trying to save time. I know, I thought, if I double every slow cooker recipe, we’ll have a full stock of freezer meals whenever we need them.

Depending on the size of your slow cooker, doubling the recipe could result in uneven and incomplete cooking because the pot is too full. For example, a double-batch of slow-cooker enchiladas will leave you with an overflowing slow cooker and cold food in the center of it all.

Cook on Low

I started out cooking every slow cooker meal on the high setting but that really robs you of the magic of the slow cooker. If you have the time, cook your meals on low to fill your home with the heavenly smells and fill your belly with the most tender meat and veggies possible.

Keep the Slow Cooker Clean

You want to avoid caked-on food at all costs. So, once you’re finished cooking and eating, get cleaning! Here’s the best way to clean a slow cooker. You’ll be glad you did, so you can get right back to enjoying the slowness the next day!

These Slow Cooker Recipes Cook All Day Long
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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.