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Make Any Recipe A Slow Cooker Dish

Posted by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 28 Replies


Now that fall is here, I've hauled out the slow cooker. It's a lifesaver on busy nights, and even if we don't have much going on it's great to come home and smell dinner already almost ready, which means our evenings are relaxing and relatively calm versus stressful and rushed.

But a lot of slow cooker recipes out there on the web aren't exactly healthy.  You see lots of sodium- and preservative-packed canned ingredients, fatty cuts of meat, and salt-laden seasoning packets instead of real food.

So I wondered: Is it possible to convert some of my favorite healthy recipes to slow-cooker use? As it turns out, yes! Curries, any kind of chicken with sauce, bean dishes, and some soups all cook beautifully in the slow cooker. Just about any meat you roast in the oven can do well in the slow cooker too...you don't get that brown roasty-toasty goodness but you do get moist, delicious meat.

Vegetables are trickier...you want veggies that can stand up to long cooking without falling apart. Carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and even corn do well in the slow cooker, and tomatoes cook down to rich sauce...peppers turn metallic-tasting and veggies like broccoli and peas turn to mush, though. If your recipe calls for them, add them in the last 30 minutes or so of cooking.

Dairy can curdle with long cooking times, so most recipes say to add it at the end, long enough for it to heat through but not so long it will get gross.

You also need to reduce the amount of liquid you use when converting an over recipe to slow cooker use. Here's a good conversion chart from stovetop or oven cooking time to slow cooker cooking time.

Have you ever tried to convert a healthy recipe to a slow cooker recipe? How did it work out?

Image ŠIstockPhoto/robynmac

by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Sep. 27, 2013 at 4:53 AM

I've converted quite a few recipes, enough that I don't even think about how I do it.  They turn out pretty well!

batjmom
by Sarah on Sep. 27, 2013 at 8:37 AM
I'm trying to use mine more. It's really nice the last few Saturdays to come home from my sons football game to have a hot healthy meal ready in the crockpot
jen113000
by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 8:44 AM
I've not converted anything to a crock pot meal unless you count the homemade soup that I make.
dusky_rose
by Bronze Member on Sep. 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM
1 mom liked this

I've made chicken noodle soup in the crockpot. Don't forget to add rice or noodles towards the end of cooking also.


EthansMomma2010
by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 10:33 AM

 i don't need to convert. plenty of paleo recipes on the web for me to try. :)

lalasmama2007
by Ticia on Sep. 27, 2013 at 11:18 AM

No, I just look for healthy slow cooker recipes.  There are tons out there already.

elasmimi
by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Not really, but this chart is great, just pinned it. Thanks!

MamaMandee
by Mandee on Sep. 27, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Thanks for the chart, I love using my crockpot year round!!

sukainah
by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I have never converted a recipe to a slow cooker recipe.  Unfortunately, I don't have a slow cooker.  I need one!

aneela
by Member on Sep. 27, 2013 at 1:52 PM

this is good to remember


Carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and even corn do well in the slow cooker, and tomatoes cook down to rich sauce...peppers turn metallic-tasting and veggies like broccoli and peas turn to mush, though. If your recipe calls for them, add them in the last 30 minutes or so of cooking.

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