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.
Spicy Chicken Stew
This version of chicken tortilla soup is packed with veggies. Fresh corn tortilla strips get stirred in before serving; they break down and fall apart to imbue the broth with rich corn flavor. You could also crisp the tortillas under the broiler and sprinkle them on top if you'd rather go for crunch. Salsa and chili powder add spice to this chicken stew, but it shouldn't be too much for timid tasters or kids. Be sure to choose a mild salsa when feeding folks with sensitive palates; you can always spice up your own bowl with hot sauce or a sprinkling of fresh jalapeño slices. If you know your whole crew likes things hot, opt for a hot salsa and a dash of hot sauce or ground red pepper.