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The Benefits of Using the Slow Cooker + Two Delicious Recipes
by Monica Resinger 
_http://homemakersjournal.com_ ( 

A lot of us have a very efficient and time saving appliance sitting high on a 
kitchen shelf collecting dust. What is it? It's the slow cooker! I have taken 
mine down from that high shelf and have actually purchased another one 
because I have found them to be so helpful. How are they helpful? Read on. 

There are a lot of days that it's very hard for me to get a meal on the table 
either because I lack the motivation or because we are busy. Lacking 
motivation stems from being tired at dinnertime; I have had an active day and 
by 5:00 
p.m., I'm just plain worn out and am not in the mood to cook. Because of this, 
we end up eating fast food more often than we should or we eat a meal that 
tastes like there was no effort put into it. 

I have found a solution to this problem and that is the slow cooker! In the 
morning when I am ambitious and creative, I prepare the basis of our meals by 
adding meat, liquids, seasonings or other ingredients to the slow cooker. Then 
at dinnertime, all I have to do is prepare side dishes such as heat and serve 
rolls and a green salad. Sometimes I even prepare the side dishes early too so 
that way I have hardly anything to do at mealtime when I'm lacking energy. If 
you have two slow cookers, use them both at the same time with the main dish 
in one and a side dish in the other. 

Another benefit of the slow cooker is that it doesn't heat up the kitchen. 
This can be valuable in the summer but don't limit it to summertime cooking. 
It's an any-season appliance. You'll be pleased smelling the delicious aroma of 
your food cooking all day long in the fall, winter and spring. You can even 
cook desserts in them such as apple dumplings. 

For those of you that work away from home, the slow cooker is safe enough to 
leave turned on low all day. When you get home, most of your dinner is cooked 
and ready to eat! 

You can buy slow cookers at any retail store for around $30.00 for the 
average size and more or less for a bigger or smaller one. But why spend $30.00 
they are abundant in thrift stores and yard sales? I purchased my second one 
at a thrift store for $2.99! If you decide to purchase one at a thrift store 
or yard sale, be sure to plug it in and see if it heats up. 

Here is one of my favorite slow cooker meals. 

Pork Ribs and Kraut 

Brown desired amount of pork spareribs in a frying pan over medium heat; 
season with seasoning salt and place in the slow cooker. Stir sauerkraut juice 
into the pan you browned the ribs in and stir with a fork to loosen brown bits. 
Add this juice to the slow cooker along with desired amount of sauerkraut. Set 
the slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours. 

For a side dish to this meal, I make homemade rolls using the bread machine 
to make dough, or I just serve plain old bread and butter. A crusty loaf of 
French bread would be good too. 

Chunky Applesauce 

This would make a great side dish to the meal above. Peel and cut desired 
amount of apples into 1/2 - 1 inch chunks. Place the chunks in your slow cooker 
and add about 1/2 cup water. Set the slow cooker to low and cook 4-6 hours or 
until the apple chunks are very soft. Mash with a potato masher to desired 
consistency and add sugar to taste if desired. 

If you need slowcooker recipes, check out the 900+ Slowcooker Recipe E-book 
here:  _ 
Also, find out how you can get a free slowcooker recipe e-book in my bio 

I hope this article brings you the inspiration to dust off your slow cooker! 

Monica is the founder Homemaker's Journal E-publications, the growing home of 
many fun and informative home and garden e-books, tip sheets, articles and 
more!  _ ( 
Get a FREE Slowcooker Recipe E-book when you subscribe to Monica's FREE 
e-zine for homemakers!  To subscribe and receive instructions for picking up 
FREE e-book, just send a blank e-mail to:  
Feel free to publish this article as long as the above bylines & this note 
are included; notification at [EMAIL PROTECTED] (mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED])  
would be appreciated.

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