My partner and I are both working 9 to 5 for our first time together, and are hoping to embrace the slow cooker as a way to have a hot meal on the table not long after getting home with minimal post-quitting-time effort a couple of times a week. Looking for some advice and suggestions!
I've read the many very helpful AskMe questions on crockpots and slow cookers, but was hoping for some specific advice. Most of my experience cooking in a crockpot has produced some pretty mediocre results, but this is probably more me than anything else. In general, food ends up either too dry (meats) or too mushy (vegetables), with every odd texture in between. I am hoping AskMe can put me on the right track!
First of all, I was hoping for recommendations for good slow cooker cookbooks or online recipe collections that don't have so much sodium. A lot of the recipes I have seen, aside from simple soups and stews, involve dumping cans of things into the crock pot. That's okay once in a while, but in the interest of reducing my salt intake, I was hoping for recipes that aren't so can-heavy.
Second, and relatedly, recipes that are not too high in calories would be great, as well.
Third, I'm also interested in recipes that are good for people on a budget.
And finally, I wonder if a better slow cooker is a worthwhile investment. We have an old, very basic model (three settings: warm, low, high) and I that if we leave in the morning, some foods end up less than perfect (especially chicken of any kind). I've read of people using Christmas light timers, but I was wondering if just getting a new slow cooker with a timer built-in
is worth it.