Simmer down. The antidote to a fast-forward life may already be in your kitchen: the slow cooker.
Credit: Jim Bathie

Did you grab a get-and-go breakfast as you rushed to work? At lunchtime did you race through the drive-through and scarf down a sandwich before you got back to your desk? Is dinner looking suspiciously like yet another frozen microwaveable something or interchangeable other?

Fast food, eaten fast in the fast lane: It’s a recipe for dyspepsia, if you ask me. How to combat it? You may already have the answer in your kitchen―the slow cooker.

What made it successful in the ’70s holds true today: You can use the slow cooker to make family meals and company fare alike while you save valuable time and energy. With practically no effort at all, you can create succulent braised or simmered dishes (and ingredients for other dishes) that will make you glad that there are extra electrical outlets in your kitchen.

If your slow cooker has a removable insert, you’re doubly blessed. For some recipes, you can assemble the ingredients in the insert the night before, refrigerate the whole thing, and go to bed. Next morning, set the insert in the slow cooker, turn on the heat, and head to work knowing that something delicious will be home to greet you at day’s end.

Any recipe that requires long, slow, gentle heat is choice for this appliance. Although cooking time is more flexible than with traditional methods, overcooking and even burning are possible in a slow cooker, so test for doneness close to the time given in the recipe. Ready? Then slow down with these recipes.