When the Slow Cooker isn't Enough

slow-cooker-xl.jpgThe slow cooker is an amazing invention. With only a couple of minutes of preparation anybody can create meals that would traditionally take hours of standing over a hot stove.                                                                                                                                      
But, while slow cookers can save you time cooking, they don't really take care of the other 50% of what it requires for busy, modern home cooks to create healthy meals from scratch.

If you want to save even more time without having to sacrifice the deliciousness of your home cooking just remember these three words: inspiration, preparation, and action.

1. Inspiration 

Culinary inspiration can come from almost anywhere - a great meal at a friends house, a magazine clipping, even just smelling a restaurant while passing by.

We suggest that you find and save a few blogs and recipe sites that you absolutely love and know have good, easy to cook weekday meals. This way you're only a couple clicks away from having tons of inspiration for what to make for dinner.

2. Preparation

There's really no use in having a slow cooker if you're not prepared to use it.

Once you've looked at your inspiration, try to plan out meals at least a couple of days in advance. This will help you save money, ingredients, and time. It also lets everyone else in your house know what you're having (so you don't have to hear "what's for dinner?" 50 times that week).

After your meal plan is set, it's time to create a shopping list. Shopping lists, whether printed out or scrawled on the back of a receipt, are a great way to stay focused when in the grocery store and to actually cook more often.

Why is milk always at the back of the grocery store?

Going into the store with a list of items you need to make actual meals - rather than just going up and down the aisles grabbing snacks (we're all guilty of this) will ensure that you have stuff at home to throw in the slow cooker.

3. Action

You're inspired and you've prepared. Not it's time to get in the kitchen and take culinary action! If you've done the bulk of you're shopping in one day, chop up and clean a lot of the vegetables when you have the time so that on the busy days that you need to use the slow cooker it really is as simple as throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot.

Creating quick and simple side dishes to compliment the amazing slow cooker food that has been simmering away all day is a great way to add some freshness and nutrition into your weekday slow cooker meals. (During the winter I like to sauté some fresh kale or another hearty green vegetable with a little bit of garlic and olive oil)

Or, just use Chicory

Chicory is the one stop shop for inspiration, preparation, and action. In the same amount of time it took you to read this blog post you could have found dozens of amazing recipes, prepared a meal plan and shopping list, and scheduled all the food you need for the week to be delivered. Pretty cool, huh?