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.
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes without ever turning on your oven—nice! The slow cooker lets you set up these potatoes in the morning so they're ready to finish when you get home. Russet potatoes are best for baking; they have a mild flavor that's compatible with a wide variety of ingredients. The skin is edible and the interior is light and fluffy. Fat-free yogurt brings tangy notes to the mash in place of traditional sour cream. If you'd like, customize the flavor with a touch of added spice: Try a chopped canned chipotle pepper and a little of the adobo sauce it's packed in for spicy, smoked flavor; try cumin and a little curry powder for a deep earthy flavor. For a veggie-forward spud, layer on 1/2 to 3/4 cup of steamed chopped broccoli, sauteed spinach, or cooked cauliflower first before adding the remaining toppings.