I’ve been in a cooking rut lately, making many of the same family favorite meals every week. I decided that one of the ways I’m going to get out of the rut is to try one new slow cooker recipe each week during the colder months. I downloaded “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker” to my Kindle, and last week I made Slow Cooker Venison Stew from the cookbook. It was the absolute perfect recipe to start with because it was so good that I’m excited to try several others from the book.

If you need a little slow cooking inspiration, spend a little time this weekend reading about how everyone is embracing the method and then throw something together in your own slow cooker.

  • Philly.com praises the slow cooker’s ability to create great meatless meals. Not only is the slow cooker good for meatless stews, soups and chili, a newer generation of home cooks are using the cooker for spiced nuts, stuffing, risotto, polenta, lasagna, meatless loaf, soy sausage, seitan ribs, lentil pate, pudding, granola, quiche, chocolate peanut-butter cheesecake and pizza.
  • Slow cooking your meal while you’re at work can help you lose weight, according to CBS MoneyWatch. The article links to some slow cooker recipes and has some suggestions for subbing out ingredients to make them lower calorie or lower fat.
  • Newsday has instructions for building a soup in the slow cooker. Certain ingredients should be added first and others should be added later in the cooking process. If you’re thinking about creating your own slow cooker recipes, this is some good information to know.
  • One of my absolute favorite winter soup recipes that is easily adaptable for the slow cooker, or Crock Pot as many people call it, is Minestrone. I posted this recipe over three years ago here on MNN, and I’ve only made one change to it since then. I now throw in an end or two from Parmesan cheese as it cooks to give it an even richer flavor.
Enjoy your weekend!

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Hurry up and start slow cooking your food
When it’s cold and gray outside, coming home to a hot meal that’s been slowly cooking all day is one of winter’s great comforts.