{Which is the Best Slow Cooker to Buy?} Healthy Crock Pot Recipes

Slow-Cooker-Recipes-Crock-Pot-DinnerAll Fall long I was obsessed with the idea of slow cookers and slow cooker recipes for the cold Winter months to come. Now that I have the renovation to tend to at the New Old Stone House, I have been spending 4-5 week nights in NYC each week. It is nice to see the Mr more often (the whole point in consolidating to the new old stone house) but the kitchen at the Brooklyn Heights Apartment is lacking in a big way.
Slow-Cooked-Beef-RecipeThere is only about 13 inches of counter, two induction burners, a small sink and a refrigerator. This kitchen is pretty much made for boiling hot water for tea and ordering dinner out. Pizza, Thai, Sushi, Indian…I am missing home cooked food! When I took the Indian Cooking class I finally learned how to use the stovetop, but did not enjoy it. Alarms went off every time I lifted up the pot to adjust the heat and stir = not ideal.Crock-Pot-RecipesWhich got me thinking: how fab would it be to start the slow cooker on my tiny counter top before I leave for the house in the Palisades to arrive home to a home cooked meal in the evening? I have also been scouring slow cooker recipes for just this reason. At first blush it seems a lot of them are loaded with less than optimal ingredients. (Many recipes are loaded with sugar, canned ingredients, extra fat, etc.) However, a quick pinterest search for ‘paleo’ slow cooker recipes put me on the right path. Turns out there is a plethora of wholesome crock pot recipes out there to be made!

Homemade-Slow-Cooker-Beef-StewBack in October I stumbled upon an article on Chef’s Mix titled ‘What’s the Best Slow Cooker? It turns out that many round crock pots have hot spots, which cause burned bits. At that point I knew I wanted an oval one. I also asked my Twitter following to chime in. Most told me “My crock pot is too small, it’s only good for party dip recipes.” Which made me realize I should be thoughtful about what size my new crock pot would be to suit my goal. 6-7 quarts is optional if you want to create a family-sized entree.

What's-the-Best-Slow-CookerOn numerous occasions I also asked my Twitter friends “What is your favorite Slow Cooker Recipe Book?” The most popular answer was Cooks Illustrated America’s Test Kitchen: Slow Cooker Revolution. (There is also a second volume: slow cooker easy prep edition if you are looking for more inspiration!) By the way, my very informal poll led to rave reviews of both the Beef Stew Recipe as well as the Goulash Recipe – both from the first edition of Slow Cooker Revolution.

Americas-Test-Kitchen-Slow-Cooker-Revolution-Cooks-IllustratedIn the end I purchased the 6.5 quart All Clad Slow Cooker. (If it is out of stock, I also found it at Sur La Table for the same price.) When it arrived, I realized I should have looked at the dimensions more carefully. My counter top in NYC is not big enough for it! Omgosh, really? No matter, I will figure something out. Perhaps I will have to set it on the kitchen table instead? Nothing is ever easy in New York City, is it? LOL!All-Clad-Slow-CookerI had it shipped to The Country House along with a few Saucier pans which are good for preparing Indian Cuisine. I was dying to try out my new prize, so last Friday afternoon I dumped in all the ingredients to make Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken. (Seriously, I am talking only four minutes of prep=so easy!) I know it’s not good to tweak a new recipe you’ve never made before, but I threw caution to the wind and did it anyway. I added a can of rinsed black beans, extra fresh Cilantro and a bag of organic frozen corn niblets to my crock pot.Cilantro-Lime-ChickenI set the machine to start and went on my way. I went out and did a million errands – including a round trip to the train station to pick up the Mr. Five hours after throwing all the raw ingredients in my slow cooker, we had a delicious Chicken Taco Fiesta! I served the meat with shredded Jalepeno-Jack Cheese, chopped tomato, sliced red onion, fresh salsa and guacamole, sour cream and toasted taco shells. The Mr said “OMG wife, this is the best recipe you have ever made!” And here it took absolutely NO effort at all. How cool is that?

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-TacosPlease feel free to follow my new board on Pinterest: Slow Cooker Recipes! I will add to it as I see interesting recipes online -or- as I prepare recipes that I like.