The end of warm weather ushers out tomatoes, fresh basil, and no-cook meals—that’s the bad news. The good news is that braised and slow-simmered meals take their place.
A slow cooker simplifies long-simmered dishes. “Set it and forget it” is the rule of thumb—a slow cooker is very forgiving. Newer slow cookers are programmable and simplify the process even more.
Lots of autumn foods (such as hearty butternut squash) are a natural fit with the low, even heat of a slow cooker. Soups, beans, grains, chili, pork roast and beef all benefit from long cooking to bring out flavor and tenderness.
Many stovetop recipes translate well to a slow cooker. Just combine the ingredients in the insert and set the heat. (Some roast meats should be browned beforehand in a skillet on the stove before transferring to a slow cooker.)
Here are a few ideas to get you started. We hope they go in your regular rotation and inspire new creations.
—By Nicki Pendleton Wood