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10 Healthy, Comforting Slow Cooker Recipes

This winter has already seen its fair share of cold, snowy days. It’s the type of weather that makes me crave warm, wholesome food. At the same time, I don’t have hours every day to spend cooking complicated meals. That’s why I love my slow cooker. I can prep the ingredients when I have time, add them to the slow cooker and let the low, steady heat cook it all day long (or all night, in the case of steel-cut oats).

The slow-heat method can also be a boon to healthy foods. It’s the perfect way to tenderize lean cuts of meat, to soften whole grains, and to let the flavors and textures of vegetables mellow and merge.

Here are some healthy slow-cooker recipes that I can’t wait to try. What are your favorite slow-cooker meals?

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5 Recipes for Slow-Cooker Satisfaction

 If there’s one thing that will help you learn abundant patience, it’s a slow-cooker. You’re forced to wait several hours for the meal, and as you do, your kitchen fills with the opulent aroma of your latest Crock Pot creation. I recently acquired my very own slow-cooker, prompting me to turn out meals of slowly simmered, velvety pulled pork and hearty stews.  You’ll soon realize that it’s definitely worth the wait when you use your slow-cooker, whether for the ease of fix-it-and-forget-it mains or just as a way to save some extra space on the stove top.

Here are five worth-the-wait, slow-cooker recipes:

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Dinner Rush! Slow-Cooker Coconut-Braised Pork

Slow Cooker Braised Pork Recipe
The slow cooker and I have a bit of a rocky history. As a kid, I quite vividly remember coming home from school to the smell of barbecue chicken wafting through the lid of my mom’s slow cooker – barbecue chicken whose slow 8-hour steam bath left it a stringy, mushy mess by the time it hit my dinner plate. At the tender age of 9, I awarded slow cooking my coveted blue ribbon for “Best Way to Ruin a Perfectly Good Meal.”

After countless recommendations from friends who laud the high, holy merits of the slow cooker, we’ve started talking again. Nothing crazy, totally “first base” stuff, just feeling each other out. And what I’m starting to realize is that I’ve kind of been missing out on a kitchen tool that, when used correctly, makes wicked delicious food.

Slow Cooker Braised Pork Recipe

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Slow Cook Book

Chicken Jambalaya

Spicy Chicken Jambalaya is easy to make in the slow cooker.

The idea of prepping dinner in the morning and letting it cook away all day long is so appealing that I’m always on the lookout for great slow-cooker recipes. The Slow Cook Book by Heather Whinney is a treasure trove of about 200 slow-cooker recipes ranging from stews and casseroles to curries and roasts and even desserts.

And anyone who has ever scooped gray veggies out of their slow cooker (guilty!) will appreciate her chapter on slow-cooker techniques, complete with step-by-step photos and how-tos. And, as a bonus, if you don’t own a slow cooker or you prefer not to use one, each recipe includes a “traditional method” for slow cooking on the stove or in the oven. So start making easy and nourishing, budget-friendly dinners by rediscovering your slow cooker.

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