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Hamilton-Beach-slow-cookerAfter working long hours and sitting through a tedious commute, the last thing you want to do is worry about what to prepare for dinner.  Using a slow cooker or a crock pot is a great way to have dinner ready on the table by the time you arrive home.  Best of all, because you can simply turn on the slow cooker and leave it to cook, there is no need for the hassle of time-consuming, attentive cooking.  With just a few minutes the night before or the morning of, prepare the healthy foods, plug in your slow cooker before leaving for work, and enjoy a fresh, ready meal when you come home.

Since a slow cooker keeps all the flavors and juices in, it is a great, simple way to prepare healthy foods that is packed with taste.  Slow cooking the ingredients also prevents unnecessary oils and fats from stir-frying yet adds more flavor than simply steaming or boiling.

Here are a few tips for slow cooking:

Sear them up.  Using a little cooking spray, lightly sear meats to trap in juices and reduce fats before placing meats in the slow cooker.

Use less water.  If you are adapting your own recipe to a slow cooker, make sure to use less broth or water than you normally would.  Very little liquid evaporates during the cooking process, so adding too much liquid to begin with will dilute everything.

Flavor up the bland foods.  Cooking healthy foods that usually have less taste, such as cabbage, broccoli, or turnips, is a good way to add flavor to them while counterbalancing the heaviness of the meat content of the recipe.  Do not be afraid to pack in the vegetables.  They will shrink down and release a lot of liquids during the cooking process.

Add some spices.  With a slow cooker, the seasonings and spices you put into the pot will be exactly the flavors you will taste.  Just prepare the meats with your choice of spices, and you will have a delicious, flavorful, healthy, and ready-to-eat meal.  Remember to add a little bit more spices than you would normally, because the meats will also release fluids during the cooking process.

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