How Crock Pots Abridge your frantic life

Imagine getting home from work to the tantalizing smell of dinner, ready to dish out, hot and delicious. For a busy working mom, corporate couple or live-alone single, that's a dream that doesn't seem likely, unless you can afford your own chef. But it's not unattainable. All you need is one handy-dandy little appliance that will simplify your life and have you dishing up your dinner before you even kick off your good shoes.

They're an old stand-by from the 70s, and they're making a huge comeback. Crock pots, also known as slow cookers, are one of the handiest tools for a busy working woman - or man, for that matter. For more details go to With a crock pot, you can spend ten minutes of prep time before you leave for work in the morning, flip it on, and return home in the evening to a fully cooked meal - nutritious, delicious and far less expensive than takeout.

I grew up with a crock pot in the house, but it was seldom used. My grandmother was home full time, and it was far more common for her to slow cook on top of the stove. When I moved out on my own, those delicious slow-simmered dishes that were a staple of my diet were out of reach. I didn't have time to stay at home and stir the pot. I turned to convenience meals and microwave cookery, but I missed the wonderful meals I grew up with - coq au van, slow simmered spaghetti sauce, beef stew, stewed chicken and baked beans.

That all changed when I discovered a recipe for 'Mom's Busy Day Chicken' in a recipe book offered by, of all places, the La Lecher League. The recipe was incredibly simple - just put one cut up chicken in a crock pot, add two cans of stewed tomatoes and an onion, and flip the crock pot to low, and then walk away for six to eight hours. I was skeptical, but I tried it - and the results quickly became a family favorite. The chicken was tender enough to fall off the bone, and flavored through and through with spices and tomato sauce. The sauce was thickened and perfect for spooning over rice or pasta and best of all, it was nutritious and healthy.

Why is crock pot cooking so great?

1. You don't have to watch the pot.

They say a watched pot never boils - neither does a crock pot. When you set the crock pot's temperature to low, you can be sure that the food inside will cook at temperatures low enough to avoid overcooking, and high enough to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria.

2. Ten minutes in the morning makes a home-cooked meal in the evening.

Prep time for crock pot cooking is almost none. Cut up your ingredients, add them to the pot, cover it and walk away. The most elaborate recipes may require that you cut things uniformly or that you layer ingredients in a particular order, but all it takes is a few minutes in the morning, and you'll come home to a home-cooked meal at the end of the day.

3. Cleanup is quick and easy!

Crock pots used to be a real hassle to clean, but no more. Today's crock pots feature removable liners so washing the pot is as simple as washing a dish. Just lift out the liner and wash. You can even put most in the dishwasher. You can also visit us at In addition, slow cooking means no crusty crud to scrub off.

4. Convenient features let you time things perfectly.

One of the drawbacks of crackpot cooking used to be overcooking. Let that meat simmer too long, and you ended up with unpalatable mush. Today's crock pots feature timers that turn the crock pot off when it's time, or lower the temperature when needed.

5. Slow cookers are energy efficient.

What? You thought that leaving your slow cooker plugged in and cooking all day was a waste of energy? Think again. A crock pot uses wraparound heat to cook the food, without wasting all the heat that would simmer away in an oven or stove top. You actually use less energy.

If you have a slow cooker tucked away somewhere, pull it out and give it a try. You'll find dozens of recipes that break the traditional "mushy" meals syndrome that has given crock pots a bad name. Test a few, and you'll find yourself upgrading to a new family friendly model so you can treat your family to wonderful, tasty, home cooked meals with almost no effort.

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About The Author, Amita Devi