A slow cooker is one of the handiest appliances and biggest time savers to have in the kitchen. Pile in chopped vegetables, add prepped meat and seasoning, and in a few hours, a week's worth of food (or one family-size meal) is ready to eat. Commission a cheap but dependable slow cooker and try these 11 recipes to eat healthier and save money and time this winter. (Estimated ingredient prices are recent U.S. city averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
A few tips: Browning meats and sautéing vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker can add flavor. To top off slow cooker meals, add diary and fresh herbs such as yogurt, milk, and cilantro toward the end (they can curdle and wilt, respectively, if cooked for too long). Finally, resist opening the lid and stirring, which slows the cooking process considerably (and this is already a slow cooker).