Instructions for Living: Let Your Slow Cooker Make the Meals

Want a hot meal ready when you walk in the door? No need for a spouse, just put a slow cooker to work for you

Credit: Flickr/

Let your slow cooker cook you cioppino while you’re slaving away at work

Who doesn’t want dinner ready and waiting when they get home at the end of a long day? Singles meet slow cooker

With more and more people living alone and prolonging singlehood, it’s no wonder the slow cooker is experiencing a resurgence. Modern life has given us many things, including the ability to automate one of the loveliest perks of having a mate: dinner ready when you walk through the door.

Instead of stewing over what’s left in the fridge on your commute home, or dashing out to buy crappy takeout or expensive restaurant food, why not throw in a handful of barley, beef, broth, and vegetables in the morning, and come home to perfectly simmered soup.

This miracle appliance does a loaves-and-fishes anytime you put it to work. Pot a roast, split peas, keep mulled wine or other hot drinks warm, even have piping steel cut oats ready when you open your eyes. 

Tips for Slow Cooker Success

  1. Consider size. Older crock pots are typically smaller – the new ones often make enough for an army. If you live alone, unless you’re committed to freezing the excess, go vintage or cut your recipes in half. 
  2. Think old, tough, and cheap. Not the cooker but what you put into it. Dried soaked beans instead of in a can, chicken on the bone rather than boneless breasts. 
  3. Import flavour. Other methods of cooking, like baking and frying, caramelize and burn food to give it a complex, tasty edge. The slow cooker basically burbles. Broth, beer, already-burnt bits, and spices add taste. 
  4. Low, long, and slow. That’s how the cooker does it. Experiment with your model, but in general give yourself at least three to four hours on high, or eight hours on low to cook food. 
  5. Entertain with slow cookery. Invite folks over after an event – lunch will be on the table minutes after you arrive, with no slaving in the kitchen for you. Try not to look smug. 

Get started with this pulled pork recipe, or try some of the slow cooker recipes at You can also check out product comparisons on new model slow cookers at Consumer Reports.