Dinner hour can be less stressful – no really it can!
We recently sold our house and we’re getting ready to move next month, which means things have been a little more hectic than usual in our household lately – to say the least!
Between decluttering our house and packing, and dealing with all of the extra inspections and headaches involved with buying a country property with well water and other non-town services (on top of all the usual day-to-day stuff) I just haven’t had much time or energy to spend on cooking healthy meals by the time dinner time rolls around.
Thank goodness for my slow cooker – it has been a lifesaver in helping to avoid the tendency to order in pizza every night!
I tend to go through phases with using my slow cooker. A couple of months will go buy without using it at all, and then one day I will decide to make something like my slow cooker beef stew or super easy chili recipe, and think “why don’t I do this all of the time??”
Being able to throw things together into the slow cooker in the morning and then just serve it up later takes so much stress out of dinner time. Whether you work full-time or are a stay-at-home parent, whether you have young children or teens, I think most of us find the hour or two before dinner to be a hectic time. Having your dinner cooking all day frees up that hectic time to help the kids with homework, drive them around to their extra-curricular activities or whatever else you need to do (like pack!)
Here are a few really easy meals I’ve made in my slow cooker lately:
- Barbecue pork tenderloin – throw in a pork tenderloin or two, your favourite barbecue sauce, some chopped onions and/or red peppers and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slice it and serve with rice or potatoes and a salad, or pull it apart with a fork for pulled pork sandwiches.
- Lasagna – there are a lot of different slow cooker lasagna recipes available. I’ve tried a few different ones and they’ve all turned out well. It won’t look as pretty as a lasagna cooked in an oven, but it will still taste good!
- Soup – chicken or turkey soup, butternut squash soup and lentil soup are just a few examples of soups that work well in a slow cooker. You can make a big batch, eat some for dinner with a sandwich or fresh rolls and a salad and then use the leftovers for lunches. Most soups freeze well too. I keep seeing recipes for slow cooker potato soup on Pinterest – I’m definitely trying that soon!
- Chicken and vegetables – I find chicken breasts have a tendency to become a bit dry in the slow cooker, unless you’re careful not to overcook them. Chicken thighs or a whole chicken work very well and make the house smell so good!
My favourite thing to do when I have some time is to prepare a few meals for the freezer that can just be thrown straight into the slow cooker. I need to find some time to prepare some more of these freezer meals soon!
To help you reduce the stress and chaos of dinner time, we’re giving you the opportunity to win a new slow cooker from Hamilton Beach.
Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker Giveaway
One lucky Tweenhood winner will receive one of Hamilton Beach’s newest slow cookers, the Hamilton Beach Wrap & Serve 6 Quart Slow Cooker. This slow cooker comes with five 2-piece wrap sets to decorate your slow cooker to match the occasion, season or your style. It has high, low and warm settings and a dishwasher safe lid and removable stoneware. Suggested retail price is $52.99 CDN.
Enter below for your chance to win. Giveaway starts October 24, 2014 at 12:01 EST and ends November 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST.
This giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ only, excluding Quebec. A winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. The winner will be required to answer a skill-testing question and have 48 hours to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
For more slow cooker recipes, be sure to check out Hamilton Beach’s website hamiltonbeach.ca.
Please let us know your favourite slow cooker recipes to make – I’m looking for new ideas to try!
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)