Call it a slow cooker, call it a Crock Pot… call it convenient! Since the Crock Pot was patented more than 80 years ago, people have been chopping up their food, throwing it in a heated cooking pot, and then setting and forgetting it until it’s time to eat! According to Smithsonian Magazine, slow cookers gained popularity in the 1940s, when many women began working outside the home. They would start dinner in the morning, it would cook all day, and then be ready by the time they came home. By the way, slow cookers work for men just as well as they work for women. So, fellas: feel free to set it and forget it, too, if you wish. Here is some inspiration: Slow Cooker Recipes
Leaving a slow cooker on during the day is something we’ve all done, but is that okay? Is it safe to leave your slow cooker on overnight? The answer is… there are no guarantees in life and there’s no guarantee a fire wouldn’t happen. If you’ve ever seen the show “This Is Us”, you know what that’s about. And if not, don’t Google it if “This Is Us” has been on your list of shows to watch.
What could go wrong?
Like in “This Is Us”, your slow cooker could be too old. According to The Spruce, the life span of the appliance is five to ten years. So, if you started using it when your kid was in diapers and now they’re whining about when dinner’s going to be ready, it may be time for a new one. A new slow cooker, not kid.
In addition to checking its age, check the cord! According to the New York City Fire Department, “two-thirds of all electrical fires begin in plugs or cords on appliances… Frayed cords expose the electrical wires that spark on contact with each other or anything that can ground the electrical current.”
Speaking of the cord, don’t let it touch any heated parts of the slow cooker. You’re cooking food, not cord.
Also, make sure the slow cooker isn’t close to any flammable objects like napkins, towels or curtains and there shouldn’t be anything flammable under the appliance.
To slow cook or not to slow cook?
People are going to use slow cookers for many years to come. Slow cookers are easy to use, easy to clean and they save time, which is a huge benefit, especially for busy families. However, leaving them completely unattended does carry risk. Experts tell HuffPost, people should unplug appliances when they’re not being used. Although, that does defeat the whole purpose of a slow cooker, right?
With many people still working from home post-COVID, slow cookers seem like a good option because you can slip away from your home office to check on what’s cooking. Another option may be a programmable slow cooker, which automatically switches to a lower temperature after a designated time.
Is it safe to leave your slow cooker on overnight? The bottom line, or bottom of the pot, is that leaving slow cookers unattended does carry some risk. So, use caution, and if your slow cooker is old enough to have a college degree, time to invest in a new one.
From My Kitchen To Yours
So… I don’t cook. I’m just not someone who enjoys the whole process. I have enough dishes without piling the remnants of some complicated recipe on top. Easy and simple are the keys to my game when it comes to dinner and that’s why sheet pan and slow cooker meals are ALL I do. They’re my jam. So, I thought I’d share a slow cooker recipe one of my besties told me about. It is so easy. I made it for the Super Bowl last year. You can enjoy it while you’re watching the game, patiently waiting for Usher to come out so you can relive your youth through his one million hit songs.
Chicken Fiesta Slow Cooker Recipe
- Chicken breasts
- One packet of taco seasoning
- One jar of salsa
- One package of frozen corn
- One can green chiles
- One can black beans
- Shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro (all optional toppings)
- Dump it all in the slow cooker, set it on high and forget it! In four hours, shred the chicken and add toppings. Serve with rice and/or tortilla chips.
Finally, here is another Crock Pot meal to try: Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers.