There’s something to be said for that infomercial that instructs you to “Set it and Forget it.” The infomercial promises lifetime fulfillment in the kitchen.
The recent demise of my slow cooker had me rethinking the way I prepare dinner. To be honest, I have never been a power user of the slow cooker. The bulky appliance was more or less relegated to cholent or stew cooking on Shabbat and then shoved in a cabinet for the rest of the week.
I mourn the loss of any kitchen appliance, but the slow cooker didn’t fluster me too much. I wasn’t sure if I’d even replace it. Gasp! How would I prepare Shabbat meals? It’s not so bad. We didn’t always rely on that slow cooker. We hadn’t had any cholent all summer long. Then suddenly, September and October showed up and Fall set in. The weather got chillier and I was craving some warm foods. Maybe I did need a slow cooker.
While browsing through my email, an ad for a slow cooker on Amazon showed up. A beautiful red Crockpot at a price I couldn’t turn down. Did I mention that I’m a sucker for a good deal on a kitchen appliance? The slow cooker showed up right around Sukkot time. This got me thinking about the chilly meals in the sukkah and what I could do to warm them up. The slow cooker allowed me to go beyond soup and take up one less burner.
I quickly learned that I actually like this new appliance and that it can work for me – way beyond that weekly cholent. It is truly a blessing! Just like the commercials tell you – it is very versatile.
I work full time, and when I come home, I typically have a 30-minute window before my children are loudly demanding dinner. It dawned on me that I could employ my slow cooker. I thought about what kinds of dishes would appeal to the family after a long day. I decided to keep this appliance pareve for now. My daughter and I stopped eating meat and I haven’t decided which way this pot should go.
It was a typical weekday morning and I woke up bleary-eyed and ready to test this thing out. I chopped up some veggies and protein and moved forward. I had my husband turn on the slow cooker to low before he left for work. As I sat at work, I was tempted to have a neighbor check on my kitchen. My backup plan was a box of Wacky Mac or some take-out sushi. Eight hours later, I came home to an amazing smell. Even my kids were impressed. So we dug in.
I was so happy with the results of the first weeknight stew, I decided to incorporate more vegetarian slow cooker options in to our weeknight repertoire. This Vegetable Curry and Vegetable Seitan stew are easy and healthy options to add to your dinner list. I highly recommend them!