Everyone who knows me knows I have a slight (ok BIG) obsession with our slow cooker. I can’t help it, I love the idea of easy homemade meals. Tonight I came home to the smell of a savoury beef stew ready and waiting. Perfect for a cold, windy January night.
If you don’t already have a slow cooker you need one! You can find a decent one for about €20 which is totally reasonable.
The possibilities are endless with slow cookers but if you are looking for a place to start here are This Irish Families go-to recipes; guaranteed to please the whole family.
Slow Cooker Sunday Roast
Nothing beats a good old Sunday roast around the table…..except maybe one you haven’t had to slave over for hours. Whatever meat you have throw in the slow cooker, add some veg and your favourite seasoning and FORGET ABOUT IT!!!! The beauty of a slow cooker is cheaper cuts of meat come out tender and juicy. We love some roast beef with root vegetables, throw in some beef stock or gravy granules on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours and dinner is served!!! If we are around the house I wait and put the potatoes in for the last two hours or so, but if we’re gone for the day I leave them as big as they are and keep them on the top so they don’t turn to mush.
Chilli Con Carne
Every time I make chilli it is entirely different. Sometimes its con carne, sometimes not. Sometimes there is sweet corn, or not. Sometimes spicy and sometimes not so much. However you make your chilli just throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it….letting it cook for hours lets the flavours really come out. Never tried chilli???? Brown some mince (beef, turkey or even pork), onion, tinned tomatoes, tinned kidney beans and any other veg you fancy and whatever curry paste or powder plus some salt to taste. Adding a little grated carrot is a great way to sneak in some extra veg. If mince is on sale I make a big batch and freeze some for another day!! Chilli is one of those things that freezes well. Oh and shredded cooked chicken is a great substitute for mince if you want to try something new. Garnish with a bit of shredded cheese, sour cream and fresh coriander if you’re feeling fancy (but generally the kids don’t see the point of coriander).
We usually serve our chilli over rice and with a green salad, but if we’re feeling bold (or like the AMAZING parents our kids believe us to be) we serve it over tortilla chips! Yum
Stephanie O’Dea’s Meat Loaf
Meatloaf in the slow cooker?!?!?! I have fond memories of meatloaf and mashed potatoes as an ultimate comfort food from my childhood but mine always ended up tasting dry. But this recipe from Stephanie O’Dea is always perfect. **I use substitute the A1 sauce for worcestershire sauce.
Stephanie is kind of my slow cooker idol. She once cooked for a whole year on a slow cooker and made a business empire from it!! AND all her recipes are gluten free. You should totally check her out at http://stephanieodea.com
BBQ Pulled Pork/Chicken
Serving beer and BBQ in Northern Virginia helped me pay my way through grad school. The BBQ was so good the cat would try to eat my hair any after I worked a shift. BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, BBQ beef brisket…sweet, smokey you name it I do love BBQ. There is no simpler slow cooker dish than BBQ. Throw the meat of your choice in the slow cooker and dump your favourite BBQ sauce on top. Cook 6-8 hours on low…about an hour or 30 minutes before you want to eat shred the meat using two forks. We serve ours on slider buns. Memphis-style with coleslaw on top.
Let us know your go to easy dinner for the kids- we’re always looking to expand our menu!