Maybe it’s the hint of cooler weather or the back-to-school mindset, but there’s something about the month of September that makes me want to whip out my slow cooker. Cooking with a slow cooker is easy because the hard work is all hands-off, which is what makes the slow cooker a busy family essential.
KITCHEN TIP #1: The Importance of Browning
Some slow-cooker recipes, like this yummy Beef Stew (from our Slow Cooker Clean Eating plan), call for browning the meat before adding it to the slow-cooker. In most cases, this can be skipped—but we urge you not to. Though it’s faster to just dump and go, you’ll end up with better-developed flavors if you take the 5 or so minutes needed to brown the meat according to the recipe directions. It’ll also make for a prettier meal, too, because meat (especially chicken) that has been put in the slow cooker without browning first won’t develop much color while cooking.
A final note on browning: Be sure to add the meat to the pot in batches. Throwing it all in at once will overcrowd the pan, and your meat will steam, not sear.
KITCHEN TIP #2: Time-Saving Beef
Looking to save time from recipe prep? Look for beef stew meat in your grocery store’s meat department. The already cut meat equals faster prep for you and more time for other pressing things on your to-do list.
Do you have a favorite recipe to make in the slow-cooker when the weather turns cool? Do tell! And give our Beef Stew a try. For such a short ingredient list, the simple flavors and light broth had us practically licking our plates!
Click here to learn more about our Slow Cooker Clean Eating meal plan.
- 11/2 lb beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 carrots, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
- 1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- ½ cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
- Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer beef to a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker.
- Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Combine broth and cornstarch; stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture to slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on Low 8 hours.
- Cook rice according to package directions. Serve beef stew over rice.