Winter is nearly here. The days are getting shorter and colder. My natural desire is to be warm, safe and comfortable. I feel the need for sustaining winter food.
I actually look forward to the colder weather. I love the chance to cook up big pots of tasty soup. I also love yummy slow-cooked casseroles.
I recently went on an archaeological expedition to the very depths of my kitchen cupboards. I unearthed my ancient crock-pot. It was one of the first slow cookers on the market.
Wonderful for busy people
Slow cookers are a wonderful tool for busy people. They are like an electric casserole dish. They cook food at a low temperature for a long period of time. They are either round or oval in shape. They have a tight-fitting lid. They also have a ceramic, glass or metal bowl insert that sits over the internal heating element.
The bowl inside my slow cooker is removable. It makes it much easier for serving and washing up.
There are many slow cookers available today. They come in a big range of sizes. They also have many different features. If you go to a good cookware store it should be easy to find one to suit your needs.
Cheaper cuts of meat
One of the things I really like about my slow cooker is that I can use cheaper cuts of meat. Because slow cookers have tight-fitting lids, the meat retains its moisture and becomes very tender. If you don’t have a slow cooker you can do this in the oven. You just need a casserole dish with a lid that creates a tight seal. If moisture can escape then your ingredients will dry out.
I often prepare the ingredients for a meal the night before. Then in the morning I will assemble it in the slow cooker. I can then turn on the cooker and leave it to do all the work. When I come home at the end of the day I have a wonderful meal waiting for me. I cook many soups this way. I have also used it to make tasty, economical stews and casseroles. You can bake cakes, bread and puddings in a slow cooker, too.
This type of cooking is great in winter when I want to eat filling and hearty food. But I know I’m not as active in winter so I need to watch my weight. I try to balance my activity level and food intake. I make an effort to experiment with winter salads. I also try to eat fresh fruit as my snacks.
Fruit and vegetables in season
It is also a good idea to use fruit and vegetables that are in season. They taste better when they are at their peak. They also better value.
Vegetables currently in season include:
- Sweet potato.
Fruit currently in season includes: