One of the most versatile kitchen appliances available today is the crock pot. Also known as a slow cooker, this appliance is friend to the busy mom and dad and the in-demand career person who want to have a delicious home cooked meal but don't have the time to spend making dinner each night. 

There are many different varieties available, so before you buy a crock pot make sure you are thinking through your needs. Size, for instance- do you need a small 2.5 or 4 quart slow cooker, or do you need a larger 6 or 7 quart one? Do you want one with a built in liner or will you purchase disposable liners? (These make clean up a breeze!) Do you want a lid that attaches to the sides, or is a free standing lid acceptable for your purposes? All of these are things that need to be taken into consideration before investing in this appliance!

Uses of a Crock Pot

These appliances are so versatile because of what you can make in them. Dinners are made easy as you can usually put everything in them in the morning, put on low for 8 hours, and you have a complete meal when you walk in the door at night. Aside from complete meals, though, you have the option to make desserts, sides, baked potatoes, whole chickens. Soups are also amazing to make, and in the winter months there is nothing better than coming home to a some hot, ready made soup. There is really no limit to what you can make with this tool! 

Slow Cooker Functions

Different crock pots come with different settings. Some of them have timers whereas others don't, some have the ability to cook on low and high, and others have a feature where the meal goes to a "Warm" function once the cooking time is finished. Most recipes optimized for these appliances will provide you with two different cooking options- to cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Both will generally provide the same end result, so it really just depends on your time situation and how long you want your meal to cook for. 

Pros to Owning this Versatile Appliance

There are so many pros to owning one of these versatile cooking tools. It takes the stress out of cooking. One of the best parts about these cookers is the fact that there is very minimal prep necessary. Maybe some chopping of vegetables or slicing of meat. Otherwise, you can throw all your ingredients in the cooker in the morning and know that you will be coming home to a completed meal. 

There is also the fact that these cookers are one step clean up. The part that gets most people about cooking is how many dishes it creates. With a crockpot, you only have the pot itself to clean- and if you use a liner, you just lift it out and throw it away! It doesn't get easier than that! 

It cooks your meal perfectly every time. Pot roast? Always moist and delicious without getting dry. Chicken? Moist and tender, and it shreds so easily which comes in handy for so many recipes. It can cook your vegetables fast, as well, which is a major plus because sometimes they can take longer to cook than your meat. On that note, if you are cooking a meal, the instructions will generally be to put your veggies on the bottom of the crockpot, and that is to make sure that they cook all the way through. 

After having and using a crockpot for such a long time, I can't imagine going to back to not having one. Though it's not used every single day, I love knowing that if I have a busy day coming up I can cross dinner off of the list before my day even gets started. It's a reassurance that you and your family, or even just you, will be able to come home to a hearty home cooked meal without having to sacrifice your time in the evening. Crockpots really are one of the most versatile and useful kitchen appliances available, and they are a game changer when it comes to stress free cooking!