Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • ToTheBatcave
    • By ToTheBatcave 11th Mar 18, 1:24 PM
    • 9Posts
    • 58Thanks
    ToTheBatcave
    Best Slow Cooker & Recipes for a novice cook?
    • #1
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:24 PM
    Best Slow Cooker & Recipes for a novice cook? 11th Mar 18 at 1:24 PM
    Hello wonderful MSE'rs!!

    Apologies if this has already been asked. I've been reading the forums on and off for years and have read of the wonder of slow cookers but haven't yet invested in one.

    I currently live with a relative and both of our attitudes to diet and food could use improvement (think lots of convenience food and ready meals) and I'd like to take action. Unfortunately im very inexperienced with cooking and really don't enjoy it - so I'm hoping being able to chuck things in a pot and forget about it may help. Limited kitchen space, time and money also mean i'd prefer not to spend a lot of time cooking.

    As a very novice cook I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good slow cooker to use as well as any cheap, easy veggie recipes? Im hoping to introduce these kind of meals once or twice a week to start as said relative is fairly resistant to change.

    Thanks in advance!
Page 1
    • Farway
    • By Farway 11th Mar 18, 1:38 PM
    • 6,140 Posts
    • 9,705 Thanks
    Farway
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:38 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:38 PM
    Unable to comment on brand of SC, but generally the oval shaped ones are easier to find a spot for without having too much dead space around them

    I have a cheapo Cookworks one from Argos, it does the job for me, 3 heat settings, high, low, warm. + off

    I'm not veggie but I generally follow the chuck it all in style of cooking and s*d the browning, frying before hand malarkey

    I do have pot on high before switching to low, and use hot / boiling water to start with and not rely on SC to heat it first
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 11th Mar 18, 1:44 PM
    • 5,121 Posts
    • 38,221 Thanks
    joedenise
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:44 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:44 PM
    I'd agree about an oval slow cooker. I've got a Crockpot which I got in a sale for about 20 but you can get cheaper ones from most supermarkets. A 3.5 litre is a good size for 2-4 portions of food. So you could do 4 portions and freeze half of it for another meal later, say the following week or 2.

    For recipes it's probably easiest to google "slow cooker vegetarian recipes" and you'll find loads.

    For a really easy veggie casserole you could just chuck in a selection of veggies and maybe some beans, along with some vegetable stock. Don't put in too much as the liquid doesn't evaporate like it does in a saucepan.

    Denise
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 11th Mar 18, 2:01 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 418 Thanks
    buildersdaughter
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 2:01 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 2:01 PM
    I like pot roasting cheaper joints in mine.
    I think they are great for recipes with pulses in them. You do have to boil some pulses before slow cooking because of a chemical that is dangerous if not boiled for a certain length of time. You can look it up, but I solve the problem by boiling them all for 12 minutes before chucking them in the slow cooker.
    Yellow split peas or mushy peas with a ham hock - lovely!

    I think the real secret of low cooking is to allow for the fact that there will be no evaporation. So you deal with it by one of the following:
    Ladle out the juices and boil separately until they are the right consistency.

    Use recipes that need very little evaporation, such as pot roasts and pulses.
    like this:
    Moroccan lamb

    I make this with a shoulder of lamb. The following quantities are for half a shoulder, which serves 2-3 !!!8211; or 4 with extra roast veges!
    Put the slow cooker on to heat on high
    Score the skin on the upper side of the joint into diamond shapes with a small sharp knife.
    Rub ras-al-hanouf into the skin all over the joint (about 2 tablesp. for half a shoulder)
    I don!!!8217;t use saffron at this point, I put it in the cous-cous, but you can add it if you want.

    Put into the slow cooker with the following, roughly chopped:
    A small chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 de-seeded chillies, a lemon.
    If you want to add some dried apricots, they will absorb the juices and taste lovely.
    Cook for several hours on low.

    Strain the juices & pour off the fat, use the remaining juice as part of the stock when making up the cous-cous.
    I usually keep the lemon and squeeze it onto the cous-cous or lamb when serving, the cooking gives it a lovely deep flavour.

    The meat will fall off the bone roughly !!!8211; this is not an elegant dish!

    Serve with cous-cous, roast veges and/or salad.

    Alternatives:
    If you want a sauce, you can chop the onion, garlic & chillies (but not the lemon) finely and add a tin of chopped tomatoes with teasp. mixed herbs. You will need to skim off the fat with a spoon.

    You can use this method with any herb / spice mix.

    I like this one:

    Squeeze or crush 3 cloves garlic, rub into the lamb with plenty of pepper
    Cook with a chopped onion, lemon & several sprigs of rosemary
    OR: leave out the rosemary, and mix 2 teasp. any dried herbs with the garlic.

    Left over lamb: make into a risotto !!!8211; I think it!!!8217;s nice with onions, apricots or raisins & flaked almonds.
    Add to cous-cous & heat in the microwave.

    Use thick sauces to cook with - such as say a tin of tomatoes, with no added water. If baby steps are needed, ready made sauces can be useful to get confidence. Like this (though this cheats with a can of beans!)

    chilli:
    1 1/2!pounds!stew beef!cut in 2-inch chunks
    1!tablespoon!chili powder
    1!teaspoon!cumin
    1!teaspoon!salt
    1/8!teaspoon!red cayenne pepper!or regular pepper (double this if you like it hot!)
    1/2!onion!diced
    1 15-oz!can!kidney beans drained and rinsed
    1 28-oz!can!diced tomatoes with juice

    You can make this even easier by using the kidneys beans in chilli sauce
    You just throw this all in and cook for about 6 hours.
    • Tink_04
    • By Tink_04 11th Mar 18, 6:13 PM
    • 921 Posts
    • 4,755 Thanks
    Tink_04
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 6:13 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 6:13 PM
    Start simple with recipes!

    Casserole is easy and cheap to make and you can!!!8217;t really go wrong. There is some great recipes around but I mostly just hung it all in.

    I do however find mince pointless in the SC as you have to brown it first and it!!!8217;s not really going to get more tender in there so I don!!!8217;t bother. I find sausages go a bit mushy if left too long and chicken breast gets a bit dry but thighs etc are lovely.

    Personally I think the cheap SC are just as good as a more expensive ones too (I!!!8217;ve had a few)

    Good luck!
    1p savings challenge 2018
    2 savings challenge
    • PollyWollyDoodle
    • By PollyWollyDoodle 11th Mar 18, 7:21 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 22,845 Thanks
    PollyWollyDoodle
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:21 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:21 PM
    Any slow cooker, they all do the same thing really. As above, I usually just bung it all in - it's great for cheap cuts of meat like pig's cheek and oxtail, add some onion, celery or carrot and stock or red wine. I also cook pulses, and any dish containing tomatoes will really benefit from long, slow cooking. You can also make a great rice pudding.

    Sorry, if you're a novice cook you probably want more definite recipes than this - I think any casserole or stew recipe will work fine in a slow cooker, doesn't need special recipes.
    "Inconceivable". "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    • Lolly willowes
    • By Lolly willowes 12th Mar 18, 6:53 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    Lolly willowes
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:53 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:53 PM
    In all honesty I've found slow cookers can make substandard meals for me. A sausage stew had all the fat come out of the sausages so the sauce was an pool of oil and the sausages were disgusting.
    I'm that annoying person who will brown onions ect before cooking and have found soups really good in a slow cooker. There's a carrot and lentil soup on good food that it delicious on good food website and I cooked one with butternut squash that is stewed with a chai tea bag and then pur!ed that was also delish.
    I'm gonna experiment with Dahl at some point too.
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 13th Mar 18, 12:21 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 2,934 Thanks
    purpleybat
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 18, 12:21 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 18, 12:21 AM
    Hello wonderful MSE'rs!!

    Apologies if this has already been asked. I've been reading the forums on and off for years and have read of the wonder of slow cookers but haven't yet invested in one.

    I currently live with a relative and both of our attitudes to diet and food could use improvement (think lots of convenience food and ready meals) and I'd like to take action. Unfortunately im very inexperienced with cooking and really don't enjoy it - so I'm hoping being able to chuck things in a pot and forget about it may help. Limited kitchen space, time and money also mean i'd prefer not to spend a lot of time cooking.

    As a very novice cook I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good slow cooker to use as well as any cheap, easy veggie recipes? Im hoping to introduce these kind of meals once or twice a week to start as said relative is fairly resistant to change.

    Thanks in advance!
    Originally posted by ToTheBatcave
    i love my slow cooker, tho they can take a little getting used to.
    mine, i think, is a tesclo one and i'm told they have a tendency to run a little on the hot side. the above advice is good, put a lot less liquid in than if you were oven or hob cooking.
    i think, going by other threads, the easiest way we can give you recipes is for you tell us the kind of thing you like to eat and we can see if we have a recipe.
    what i would suggest tho is to pop in charity shops when passing and keep a beady eye out for slow-cooking cookbooks, i often see them in out local ones. also there are loads of recipes online if you search for 'slow-cooker vegetarian meals'
    if you are using beans (esp kidney beans) tins are easy, rinse and bung in. dried beans mostly need a hard boil and your slowy won't do this.
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,714Posts Today

7,918Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the start of mini MSE's half term. In order to be the best daddy possible, Im stopping work and going off line? https://t.co/kwjvtd75YU

  • RT @shellsince1982: @MartinSLewis thanx to your email I have just saved myself £222 by taking a SIM only deal for £7.50 a month and keeping?

  • Today's Friday twitter poll: An important question, building on yesterday's important discussions: Which is the best bit of the pizza...

  • Follow Martin