If there is one thing that I couldn’t live without in the kitchen it would have to be the slow cooker or crockpot as it is better know to my American readers.
When I first came across them I had the typical bloke attitude:
Well the truth is we received our very first slow cooker as a present from a customer that purchased from us in our early door to door selling days. They had simply downgraded the size and give us their family sized slow cooker. At first we placed it in the cupboard and forgot about it until the winter months approached us.
Then we realised that everyone used them and it wasn’t just a craze but a great opportunity to save time as a family yet put together great meals at the same time.
As my wife soon found out it could also double up as a food warmer which is so much cheaper than investing in a hostess trolley. She first used it to keep warm a vegetable bake which is her signature dish (it is basically lovely home cooked vegetables in a cheese sauce with lovely herbs). She had been in a rush so made it at lunchtime then kept it warm ahead of me coming home from work in the evening.
A month or so later we made a stew in our slow cooker and it tasted amazing. You can simply put together a selection of your vegetables and some left over beef, add a little boiling water and leave it alone for the day. Then an hour before serving simply thicken it up with some gravy granules and a few fresh herbs and its all completed.
Through the winter months we will have a stew once or twice a month and we will compliment it with some homemade dumplings. If you have leftover vegetables to use up its a great way to get rid of them in a lovely family meal. It is very cheap to make yet reaps all the rewards. The amount of good food involved is amazing and it’s perfect if you are looking after your figure.
On sunday my wife made me yet another stew with dumplings using some reduced price organic beef that was on offer at the supermarket and it tasted wonderful. I was listening out for her making the usual noise in the kitchen because women are good at that. I noticed that from start to finish including going to check on it she spent 40 minutes in the kitchen. It then made me realise that if you want something cheap for dinner, that is good for you and costs very little then a beef stew with dumplings in the slow cooker is a perfect choice.
The weather is improving now in Portugal so I might not get many more of them in before the heat increases though so I especially enjoyed this one!
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