It’s hard to remember what life was like before the slow cooker emerged on the scene. Never has meat been so tender or stew so robust as with the low-and-slow method. Plus, the “set it and forget it” attitude that comes along with slow-cooking opens up a world of possibilities for what you can accomplish in those hours while your meal simmers. Click on each tab to explore what activities you can take on in three different recipe time frames — or spend those hours binge-watching reality TV, no judgment here.
Four hours goes by surprisingly quickly, so choose an activity that you feel like you can finish in that time frame, or that you don’t mind stepping away from when your slow-cooker timer dings. This is a great opportunity to take inventory of your entire home or just focus in on one room. Fill up a bag with clothes you haven’t worn in a while and set them aside to donate, sell, or toss. Do the same with kids’ rooms, old bathroom toiletries, and long-ago-expired makeup. Grab all your old linens and towels and bring them to your local animal shelter to donate. You basically want to collect everything you can purge so that you can eat your chowdah in peace.
Get the full recipe for Slow-Cooker Bacon Potato Chowder here.
A six-hour simmer gives you the perfect amount of time to do a more labor-intensive craft, like tie-dyeing. Make sure to have all your materials on hand before you set out on this recipe-meets-activity journey — think: dyes, buckets, rubber bands, old towels, gloves, and, of course, the items you want to dye. This kind of craft is the perfect complement to this recipe since it takes a bit more planning — you’ll need time to set up your dye station, make your designs, let them dry, and then give them a good rinse before your day of crafting and cooking is finished.
Get the full recipe for Slow-Cooker Corn and Chicken Chili here.
An eight-hour cook time means practically an entire day of adventure time! This is also a great excuse for moms to get a little "me time" or carve out a moment to see friends and leave the fam at home. Start the recipe first thing in the morning before you head out on your day of fun — then when you return, dinner will be ready and waiting for you to dig in. Just remember to make sure someone is home while the slow cooker is plugged in so everyone stays safe and sound while the meat gets tender.
A day trip can mean so many things. Perhaps you grab your pup and drive out to your favorite hiking trail or nature walk. Maybe you rent a kayak and get out on the water for a few hours with your best bud. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something special that you wouldn’t normally have a free day for, and take the time to soak it in. And you’ll have a juicy, savory sammy waiting for you when you get home.
Get the full recipe for Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches here.