Monday, April 16, 2012

Fun with the Slow Cooker

I'm a slow cooker newbie. I'll admit it. For most of my adult life, I've avoided them. As a vegetarian, and having heard all about beef stew and pulled pork and all the wonderful slow cooked meats you could prepare in them, I just never developed an interest.

When it came time to register for wedding gifts, my husband insisted we add one to our list. "We'll use the heck out of it!" he'd promised. And, because lesson number one in marriage is compromise, I scanned the box of a 3.5 qt Cuisinart and moved on.

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Well, since our wedding (yes, we received the slow cooker), I've made far more use of it than I ever expected I would.

In November, I posted about my crock-pot applesauce,which turned out amazingly delicious. And it was so easy! I did make Jim some beef stew and he cooked up some sort of pork soup thing.

And last night, I branched out. People always rave about how easy slow cooking is. "Just throw the stuff in there, put it on low and leave it all day." Sounds easy enough. But I have an acute fear of wasting food (I believe it's stemmed from my father guilt tripping me with "There are starving children in Ethiopia who would love those lima beans" when I was a kid), and I am always aware of the possibility that I could ruin a whole 3.5 quarts of food.

But I took a leap of faith, and threw a bag of lentils and a carton of veggie broth in the pot and set it to "low." Six hours later, we had the most delicious lentil soup ever. And I think (I hope) I'm over my fear of the slow cooker.


Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

1 bag lentils (their color is your choice. I think mine were green?)

1 carton veggie broth (approx 4 cups)

1 cup water

2 tbsp miso paste (again, I'm not sure the difference in colors. mine was yellow, maybe?)

4 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 small head of celery, chopped

1 largish potato, peeled and chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (usually I would have used fresh, chopped garlic, but I was going for easy here)

Throw your bag of lentils, miso paste, water and carton of veggie broth in the pot and set to low. If you must set a timer, shoot for 6 hours, I suppose. I've heard you can throw it all in at one time, but I also have a slightly less poignant fear of overcooked vegetables, so if you aren't going to be home, I'd say throw everything in the pot and let 'er hum. If you are going to be around, I say throw the veggies in around hour 3. My veggies still had a little bit of crunch to them (not raw crunch, just right crunch) but they were plenty cooked when put in at hour 3.

Serve with a small salad and a hunk of fresh-baked bread (or just regular old sprouted wheat toast if that's all you me). I'm having the leftovers for lunch today, and I'm uuber excited about it!
Lame me didn't take a photo last night, so here's a photo of the last batch of lentil soup I madeLame me didn't take a photo last night, so here's a photo of the last batch of lentil soup I made

Although I'm not about to go all crazy, I believe I'm making strides toward overcoming my fear of the slow cooker, especially when the soup tastes this good!

I hope everyone is having a wildly fabulous Monday!


  1. Ah I used to have a slow cooker and I used it ALL the time! It got thrown out in our last move and I never bought another - silly me. I have to get on that!

  2. I highly recommend it. :) I never thought I would even use it, and I love mine!