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Slow cooker tips for busy weeknights

By Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN • Dec 4, 2019 at 4:30 PM

You are finally on your way home from work or an after-school activity when the inevitable question arises, “What’s for dinner?” Oftentimes busyness might make the drive-thru line at fast food look enticing. The solution to your mealtime dilemma may be no further than the slow cooker on your kitchen counter. A slow cooker can be a great resource that allows you to come back at the end of the day to a nice, home-cooked meal.

While this versatile kitchen tool is a time-saver, it still requires some time planning ahead. After picking your recipe, chop vegetables and trim meats in advance whenever you have extra time. Uniform pieces of produce and meats provide even cooking. To save time, check out the Food City Shortcuts section in the produce department for pre-prepped fruits and vegetables. The Food City meat department also has pre-trimmed, marinated meats, perfect for the slow cooker. Store prepped ingredients in airtight containers or plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to three days. You could even add all the ingredients to the slow cooker insert the night before you plan to cook it.

Instead of serving the same recipe two nights in a row, reinvent last night’s dinner into something new. If you make a large pot roast one day, serve the leftovers as a filling for quesadillas or sandwiches another day. Tender and juicy chicken breasts cooked in the slow cooker are delicious on their own but also tasty shredded in tacos or soups.

If your recipe just makes too much, try freezing leftover meals in sealed containers or plastic bags to eat later. Make sure to correctly label and date the meal so it will be ready to thaw and cook when you need it.

We often think slow cookers are just for winter soups and stews, but you can also make appetizers, side dishes, fillings for sandwiches and tacos, and even desserts. You can even make fresh homemade bread in your slow cooker!

So get creative with your slow cooker this fall, and don’t be afraid to try a new recipe. Check out foodcity.com for ideas.