There's a reason why slow cooker recipes are wildly popular. We want convenience, and we want—and need—it now. The slow cooker delivers just that, working hard for us while we're hard at work, welcoming us home to a fragrant dinner that's just waiting to be enjoyed. This simple appliance works miracles with tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, coaxing out incredible flavor and turning out meltingly tender results. Through its low, slow cooking, it melds and marries flavors; it brings ingredients together in delicious harmony. And it offers up a few surprises: appetizers, sides, and drinks that simmer to perfection—hands-free.
Blue Cheese-Artichoke Dip
Blue cheese amps up the flavor for a little twist on the traditional artichoke appetizer. The dip holds up well for about two hours after the cook time. Serve with pita chips or toasted baguette slices. Be smart: While the blue cheese gives the dip a big flavor boost, it's partnered with many other ingredients here, so there's no need to use a premium Stilton that's $30 a pound. Save the star cheeses for your party cheese board where people can savor their flavor unadorned. Follow the same rule as you would when cooking with wine: Choose a wine that you would drink, but not one that you would showcase at a special event. Blue cheeses in the supermarket cheese section, even those sold already crumbled, are perfect for a dish like this.