Picture your ideal dining lifestyle. Maybe you see yourself meal prepping every Sunday so you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready to go all week. Or maybe you have your own personal chef to do it for you. Or maybe for you, an ideal scenario would be finding healthy meals at your favorite restaurants every. Single. Day. No work, no dishes … not too shabby.
As lovely as all these sound, for most people, life (and your bank account) probably gets in the way of these fantasies becoming reality. Even if we work toward achieving the perfect eating regimen, like saving up for a personal chef, it’s always good to have a plan B.
Enter: The slow cooker.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you’ve probably heard of one. You may think, yeah, that thing that makes chili. Yes, it can cook a mean and hearty stew, but it does so much more that. The slow cooker, if you use it right, could be your ticket to meal prep and the next best thing to a personal chef (and waaaay cheaper).
Here are delicious foods you can make in a slow cooker (that aren’t chili).
There are many ways to cook dry rice, but it can be tricky to get it right. To get the perfect rice every time, all you need is your trusty slow cooker, a 1:2 ratio of uncooked rice and water, and a pinch of salt and butter. One to two hours later, fluffy goodness. Check out the recipe by Genius Kitchen.
Cozy up with this classic winter favorite. Pour a bottle (or two) of red wine into the slow cooker. Add cinnamon, star anise, orange peel and/or cloves to taste. For more details, check out the full recipe by The Kitchn.
An entire turkey
Your holiday meal prep dreams have come true. All you have to do is thaw that bird (learn how to thaw your turkey safely here), stick it in the slow cooker and add your favorite seasonings and veggies. For cook times and more details, check out the full recipe from All Recipes.
Too hot to turn on the oven? This slow-cooker frittata is a delicious lifesaver. Saute your favorite egg pairings, such as potatoes, veggies, and ham. Separately, whisk together eggs, cheese, and seasonings in a bowl. Then combine and add to a greased slow cooker. For cook times and measurements, check out the full recipe from CookingLight.
You might be thinking, why would I put oatmeal in a slow cooker when I can cook it instantly in the microwave? For starters, doing it this way will give you softer, creamier oats. Secondly, you can prep your oatmeal at night and cook it slowly while you slumber. In the morning … voila! Breakfast is served.
To make, just add a 1:3 ratio of oats to water to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours—no stirring necessary! Add your fave toppings, such as brown sugar, peanut butter, or blueberries. For more deets, check out the full instructions by The Kitchn.
Want more “set it and forget it” recipes?