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Top 10 Slow-Cooked Dishes You Can Make At Home

Top 10 Slow-Cooked Dishes You Can Make At Home

If you love cooking, there’s nothing better than being in your kitchen and preparing a beautiful, elaborate meal. After a long day at work, cooking can be a wonderful way to slow down and refresh your mind and body. Sometimes, though, we just don’t have time to juilenne the veggies, braise the meat, caramelize the onions, or reduce the wine sauce. On busy days like these, the slow cooker is your best friend in the kitchen. And don’t worry; the days of prepackaged crockpot casseroles are long over. With these 10 amazing slow-cooked dishes, you can enjoy the same gourmet taste without the effort.

1. Meatball Sliders

Top 10 Slow-Cooked Dishes

    Required ingredients: red onion, frozen cooked Italian meatballs, jar of marinara sauce, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper, cheese, Roma tomatoes, slider buns

    Combine the chopped red onions, meatballs, pasta sauce, vinegar and red pepper in a slow cooker. Cook covered on low for about five hours or on high for about two hours. Once cooked, stir the mixture evenly, and serve on a bun with cheese and tomato. For a zestier taste, top the meatball with fresh Italian spices like oregano, thyme, or basil.

    This dish is perfect as an appetizer for a party or a small dish for a potluck. The slow-cooked meat is tender and juicy, and it pairs perfectly with a lightly toasted slider bun. Try using Hawaiian rolls as the bun for a sweet and savory taste.

    2. Moist and Tender Turkey Breast

    Slow-cooked turkey

      Required ingredients: bone-in turkey breast, fresh rosemary, garlic cloves, water, brown sugar, black pepper, salt

      Place the turkey, garlic, and rosemary in the slow cooker, and cover with water. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, and pepper on top. Cook covered on low for four to six hours. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the turkey has been safely cooked, reaching at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

      The best part about this recipe is that it yields enough juicy, slow-cooked turkey to feed the whole family, with leftovers to spare. Serve with blanched green beans and cornbread for a southern-style Thanksgiving feel, or make a sandwich with ciabatta and whole dijon mustard for a gourmet deli dish.

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      3. Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

      Creamy Soup

        Required ingredients: uncooked wild rice, skinless chicken breast, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, chicken broth, seasoning blend, butter, all-purpose flour, milk

        Add the rice, chicken, chicken broth and water to the slow cooker, along with minced garlic, bay leaves, and chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Cook on high for about two hours or low for about six hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, and allow the rest of the soup to cook for another two hours. Right before serving, melt butter and flour together, and mix in the slow cooker to thicken the soup. Throw in the shredded chicken and add salt and pepper.

        This recipe is unbelievably smooth and creamy, making it perfect for a cold or rainy day. This soup packs a nutritional punch, too; the veggies add a nutrient-rich boost to the heathy fiber of the wild rice and the protein of the chicken.

        4. Paula Deen Crockpot Mac and Cheese

        Mac and cheese

          Required Ingredients: uncooked macaroni, butter, cheddar cheese, eggs, sour cream, condensed cheddar cheese soup, whole milk, dry mustard, salt and pepper

          To prepare, boil the macaroni according to the package instructions, and stir together the butter and cheese in a saucepan. Combine all these ingredients into the slow cooker, stirring to mix well. Cook on low for about two and half hours.

          This recipe requires a little preparation before throwing everything into the slow cooker, but the extra step is worth it. The macaroni and cheese is rich and creamy, with a sharp bite from the cheddar cheese. If you don’t like cheddar, substitute for a milder cheese. To make the dish healthier, add some broccoli, spinach, or kale to the slow cooker for some greens.

          5. Slow-Cooked Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

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          Chili

            Required Ingredients: red onion, bell pepper, garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper, can of tomatoes, can of black beans, can of kidney beans, sweet potato, sour cream

            Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, including the liquid from the canned tomatoes and beans. Cook for about eight hours on low or five on high. Serve with sour cream and any garnishes you like.

            Chili is one dish that is made to be slow-cooked, allowing the spices to blend together. Requiring no preparation at all, this recipe yields a thick, mildly spicy vegetarian chili. The secret ingredient? Cocoa powder! The cocoa powder adds a subtle, complex flavor that balances the spices well. Serve with cheese or fresh green onions for extra flavor.

            6. Maple Bourbon Baked Beans

            Baked beans

              Required Ingredients: dry navy beans, bourbon, maple syrup, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, water, ketchup, mustard, molasses, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce

              Soak the beans overnight before cooking, rinse them well, and cook them for about 45 minutes on low in the slow cooker. Then add all of the ingredients to the beans, cover, and cook on low heat for around 12 hours. Depending on how thick you like the sauce, change the heat to the high setting or cook for a few more hours.

              This recipe will work for any diet in your family—it’s vegan, low sodium, and gluten free! Be sure to substitute the Worcestershire sauce for soy sauce if you want it to be vegan. Because you can change the cooking time and setting, the beans are sure to be the perfect texture for your taste. The sweet and tangy sauce plays on traditional Southern barbeque ingredients for a uniquely zesty flavor.

              7. Slow-Cooker Lasagna

              Lasagna

                Required Ingredients: Italian sausage, onion, tomato sauce, dried basil, salt, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, uncooked lasagna noodles

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                Lightly cook the sausage, onion, tomato sauce, basil, and salt in a saucepan. In the slow cooker, layer the sausage mixture with the lasagna noodles and a mixture of the three cheeses. Cook cover on low for about six hours. Sprinkle extra mozzarella cheese on top right before serving.

                Lasagna is another traditional dish that’s easy in a slow cooker. Substitute the Italian sausage with chicken or turkey for a lighter meal, and add carrots, zucchini, or squash for extra nutrients.

                8. Barley, Black Bean, and Corn Burritos

                Burrito

                  Required Ingredients: For filling: uncooked barley, frozen corn, can of black beans, can of tomatoes, green onions, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, red pepper; For burrito and garnish: fresh cilantro, cheese, lettuce, tortillas, sour cream, salsa

                  Add all of the ingredients required for the filling to the slow cooker, and cook on low for about four hours. Fill tortillas with the cooked filling, and top with garnishes like cilantro, lettuce, cheese, and sour cream. Serve with a side of salsa.

                  These vegetarian burritos are full of healthy ingredients. Lightly toasted tortillas and leaf lettuce provide a great crunch to the cheesy and flavorful filling. Drizzle the filling with fresh lime juice for a bite, or serve with guacamole for extra creaminess. Serve the filling cold with tortilla chips for a fun dip.

                  9. Easy Homemade Greek Yogurt

                  Greek Yogurt

                    Required Ingredients: whole milk, plain yogurt that contains live cultures

                    Cook the milk in a slow cooker on high until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the slow cooker off, let the milk cool for a couple of hours, and stir in the yogurt. Wrap the slow cooker in a towel, and let it sit overnight at room temperature. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth until it reaches the consistency you like.

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                    Who knew you can make your own Greek yogurt in a slow cooker? This surprising recipe is easy to make and cheaper than buying yogurt from the store. For safety, be sure to use a food thermometer to ensure that your yogurt reaches the correct temperature. The yogurt will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Serve this creamy yogurt with granola, fruit, or spices for a great breakfast or snack.

                    10. Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy

                    Chocolate candy

                      Required Ingredients: roasted peanuts, sweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips, almond bark

                      Layer the ingredients in a slow cooker without stirring, and cook on low for about three hours. After cooking, stir the mixture, and drop into cupcake pan liners. Let the candies cool in the fridge, and remove them from the liners before serving.

                      These bite-sized chocolate candies are excellent as party favors or arranged on a small dessert plate. The rich chocolate and crunchy peanuts combine well, and you can add nearly any ingredient for a customized gourmet dish.

                      If you’re in a hurry but don’t want to pull out the slow cooker, try these simple and delicious veggie-packed pasta recipes!

                      Featured photo credit: Luca Nebuloni via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                      Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                      If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                      1. Create a Daily Plan

                      Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                      2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                      Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                      3. Use a Calendar

                      Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                      I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                      Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                      4. Use an Organizer

                      An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                      These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                      5. Know Your Deadlines

                      When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                      But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                      6. Learn to Say “No”

                      Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                      Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      7. Target to Be Early

                      When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                      For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                      Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                      8. Time Box Your Activities

                      This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                      You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                      9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                      Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                      10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                      Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                      You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                      11. Focus

                      Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                      Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                      Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      12. Block out Distractions

                      What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                      I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                      When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                      Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                      13. Track Your Time Spent

                      When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                      You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                      14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                      You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                      Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                      15. Prioritize

                      Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                      Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                      16. Delegate

                      If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                      When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                      17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                      For related work, batch them together.

                      For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                      1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                      2. coaching
                      3. workshop development
                      4. business development
                      5. administrative

                      I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                      18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                      What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                      One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                      While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                      19. Cut off When You Need To

                      The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                      Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                      20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                      Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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