Slow Cooking All Year

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Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you should put your slow cooker away once warm weather finally comes around. There is nothing wrong with a hearty meat stew in the winter, but it is probably the last thing you’ll be craving now that spring is here.

slow-cooker-year-roundIt still saves you time to put your dinner together in the morning. This goes for you working Moms as well as you stay at home Moms. Both of you are busy all day, just in different kinds of meetings. No one can deny how nice it is for dinner time to roll around and all you have to do is make a salad and ladle out dinner!

Even when the temperatures reach their max in your area, you will still find yourself eating warm food. I lean towards more salads and some chilled soups, but I still go out to all my favorite restaurants and even eat warm soups on 90 degree days. So, incorporate what you are willing to eat out in your morning meal planning. You may be able to satisfy your cravings in your own slow cooker and save yourself some money while you are eating healthy.

Below are some dinner ideas you can incorporate into your spring menus. Try to do your work the night before as you clean up from that night’s dinner. That way when you get up in the morning, all you have to do is place your ingredients into the slow cooker and wait for dinner!

Asparagus is one of my favorite spring veggies and believe it or not, can be prepared in the Crock-pot. Betty Crocker has a new potato asparagus dish with a lemon dill sauce that’s perfect for the spring season. You can also make veggie risotto in the slow cooker and save yourself a lot of stirring. Try making a barley risotto with fennel and green beans too.

While you’re at it, try making an orange-braised fennel as a side dish to a herb baked chicken breast or piece of fish. Top a salad with beets cooked with mint and thyme. Or showcase some Asian greens as a nutritious side.

Your family will love carrot sweet potato slow cooker soup anytime of the year, but the first fresh carrots of the season make it even more impressive. Springtime Chicken & Greens Soup with Sorrel gives you an opportunity to sneak some greens into the kids in addition to the new to them taste of sorrel.

If your thyme is finally coming back, try making some orange thyme chicken. If you are a vegetarian, try substituting firm tofu or wheat gluten for the chicken. I’m going to be trying out the slow cooker paella recipe this week, it looks amazing. I’ll use veggie substitutes for the meat, but it’s the rice and saffron that makes the dish extra special.

Craving Chinese? Then make yourself some sweet and sour smoked tofu in the morning instead of going out that night. You can even make dessert at the same time if you have a second slow cooker. Try introducing the kids to Rhubarb with this Rhubarb Mascarpone Crumble with Coconut (second recipe on the page).

Make sure to try variations of some of your favorite recipes in the slow cooker. You’ll add less water than something cooked on the stove or in the oven since there is not as much evaporation. Also, save dairy products until the last 30 minutes of cooking for best results.

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