University Cooking: The Slow Cooker

By: Kathy Hui

Note: we don’t support one diet/supplement over another, and don’t take responsibility for any of the choices you make.

Living away from home during university is a great time to rebel, party, and lift, but it is also a great time to acquire cooking skills for life! Being able to prepare your own food is essential if you are serious about your nutrition and lifting goals. A key factor in staying on track with your nutrition is to consistently make food for yourself.

When you’re not prepared with enough food to last you the day on campus or waiting for you at home, you’re going to crack and buy food. That’s either going to be expensive for some good-quality noms, or it’s going to be bad for you.

A slow-cooker is exactly what its name implies. It works on the basis of cooking food over a longer period of time at low heat. This way, meat has enough time to get tender. The slow cooker is a highly touted equipment for use in the lifting world. But, is it worth the hype?

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Pros:

  1. Prep-time is super short. You also don’t really need any skills. Just place things in and press power.
  2. Pretty versatile for whatever sort of meat or protein you need. Can cook large quantities as well. A slow-cooker that’s 5 quarts or more will be able to hold a decent amount.
  3. No supervision required! Probably the best thing about it. The fact is, we don’t always have time to stand over the stove simmering food for a couple hours. That extra 5 minutes of work before you sleep can lead to days of food.
  4. Money. First of all, you can get a decent slow cooker for $40 or less. Look for sales! This investment pays off fast, $40 is about four meals of eating out. Second, this investment will keep giving back because the slow-cooker is known for being able to turn cheaper cuts of meat tender!

Cons:

  1. The crock-pot can’t go into an oven hotter than 250 deg F. I have found this to be inconvenient if I want to broil the meat at the end of cooking for an added crisp exterior.
  2. Bulky to transport. Some slow cookers have lockable lids on the top that help with ease of bringing it places. It was a struggle (and a workout) walking with chilli in a crockpot to a potluck.
  3. You will either like the smell of the slow-cooker or get a bit sick of it. Chicken I don’t mind, but for pork… It makes my house smell a bit like pork + electricity. It’s not the same as fresh bacon. This might just be a strange thing I notice.

chefmom-beef-stew

Pro-tips:

  1. When looking for a slow-cooker, make sure to buy one that has automated settings (ie. can turn to Keep Warm automatically by itself after a certain number of hours). Saves yourself the hassle of remembering to turn it off, now it’s truly no adult supervision required.
  2. Not all slow cooking things need to be “stewy” or “watery”. Just don’t put any liquid in the slow-cooker! Your meat will release its own liquid as it cooks as long as it’s got some fat on it. Often, I just season my meat liberally and in the slow cooker it goes.
  3. Cooking times depend on the food. Don’t cook chicken longer than 4 hours in the slow cooker or on high unless you like stringy chicken. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, should not go into the slow cooker at the start, otherwise they will be too mushy. Add them in the last hour.

Dummy Proof Methods:

  • Pulled Pork: Season a pork shoulder and put it in on low for 8-10 hours, with no additio
    nal liquid. Season as you wish (Lazy: salt and pepper, fancy: marinate/spice rub). When it’s done, grab two forks and you’ve easily got a versatile pulled pork to eat however you like.
  • Beef Stew: Layer bottom of slow cooker with onions, chopped carrots, celery. Cube some beef. Season. Add some broth, some tomato paste. Place on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoe: Poke holes in sweet potato, potatoes, other root vegetables. Afterwards, remove and mash!

SlowCookerBBQPork

Verdict:

A slow-cooker is a tool that makes life easy by helping you have enough prepared food on hand so you can stick to your goals. A worthy kitchen investment in your university times!

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Do you own a slow cooker? Have any favourite recipes? Comment below and remember to “like” us on facebook!

Kathy is a full-time engineering student! Introduced to weight training back in 2010, when she joined WARRIORS S&C, Kathy is on a continuous learning path towards better health, nutrition and getting stronger. She loves to cook and is adopting a paleo lifestyle. Kathy has dabbled in general strength training and currently has an interest in weightlifting.  A good WARRIORS Conditioning workout always pumps her up for the rest of the day. Outside of the gym, you will find Kathy watching movies, nerding out (not in AHS bro), or eating.

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1 Comment

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One response to “University Cooking: The Slow Cooker

  1. I’ve yet to do any crockpot cooking. Have to definitely get into this!

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