With property values dropping just about everywhere, it’s hard to feel optimistic about your home. In fact, if anything – most homeowners are feeling a bit trapped in this buyer’s (not seller’s) market. However, according to a CNN Money article – there are actually things we overlook that can actually make a huge difference on our mood and feelings about our home.
I think the slow cooker is the most underutilized kitchen tool. I didn’t realize its full potential until my second year of college, when my roommates and I would have a slow cooker Wednesday. It really is the perfect thing for those of us who get home around dinnertime, are too tired to make a good dinner, and end up making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead. Stop underestimating your slow cooker and start making great meals.
Fall is fast approaching which means football season is right around the corner, but most of us are too busy to slave away in the kitchen preparing for a tailgate party. Instead of settling for mediocre store-bought chip dip, turn on the slow cooker. You will need a pound of ground beef (crumbled and browned), two 15-oz cans of refried beans, two 10-oz cans of diced tomatoes and chilies, one pack of taco seasoning and one pound of cubed Velveeta cheese. Put everything but the cheese into the slow cooker and cook on low for three to four hours, or high for one and a half. When it’s almost done, stir in the cheese until it melts. Serve with chips and enjoy!
Easy Peasy Chicken
Have you seen all of the soup flavors out there? The variety for this next meal is almost endless. Take four large frozen chicken breasts, two cans of your favorite condensed soup (I really like cream of mushroom or broccoli cheddar) two cups of water, and your favorite seasonings (in my opinion, garlic goes with everything). Toss it all in the slow cooker and let it cook on low for the entire day. You won’t be mad when you are welcomed by savory smells as soon as you get home from work!
Homestyle Apple Brown Betty
Who can deny a dessert than involves baked apples and brown sugar? I found this delicious-looking recipe here. My mouth is watering as I imagine how this would taste over a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Making dessert just got a lot easier with your crock-pot!
Not Your Average Macaroni and Cheese.
It was good in college, but now? Not so much. Macaroni and cheese is an easy meal to make, but if you’re honest with yourself, it gets old and it’s not that great. Give your kids their favorite meal gourmet style. Spray your slow cooker so it’s easy to clean. In a separate saucepan, combine ¼ cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons of minced onions ½ teaspoon of paprika. Then pour in 3 cups of milk and stir it all up until it isn’t lumpy. Heat it all up and continue stirring until the mixture boils. Add 1 cup of your favorite grated cheese and 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni. Pour it all into the slow cooker and let it cook on low for two to two and a half hours, or on high for one.
Meatloaf is one of my favorite winter meals. Before researching the wonderful things you can do with a slow cooker, I had no clue I could make meatloaf in one. You probably have everything in your refrigerator too! You will need 2 pounds of hamburger (although I use turkey burger), 2 eggs, 2 slices of bread in small cubes (or crushed crackers), milk, ketchup, one chopped onion, and salt and pepper. Beat the eggs and add in the breadcrumbs and put enough milk in there to get everything moist. Add in the hamburger and squish it all together. Season it how you like, or add in some extras. I have found that chopped apples help keep meatloaf from drying out, and it gives it some great flavor. Pour it all in the slow cooker and shape it to the bowl by flattening it out. Smother the top in ketchup—I really like to mix brown sugar and ketchup for the topping. Cook it all day on low for 8-12 hours. This is the perfect meal to turn on when you leave for work and eat when you’re home!
Cooking food in a slow cooker can take the hassle out of dinner. There are even these nifty slow cooker liners that make it super easy to clean up. Get a cookbook or go online to find the endless meals you can make in your slow cooker.