Just like any busy cook, one of my best friends in the kitchen is my slow cooker. But what do you do when you find a recipe that makes your mouth water and your stomach growl that on LOW only takes 5 hours? Depending on how far from the office you live, there is the opportunity to go home during your lunch hour and prep dinner. Or, if your slow cooker has a fancy “delay” button, then no worries. But what if it doesn’t and you can’t get away in the middle of the day? Well, this engineer has figured out a solution!
Here’s what you’ll need: An outlet timer like those used for holiday lights ($10) and a simple slow cooker with a dial, not the electric kind ($30).
Note: The electric slow cookers will not work because to turn them on you have to be home to physically push the buttons.
Here’s what you’ll do: Plug your slow cooker into the timer and the timer into the outlet. Set your timer to turn on for as long as the recipe calls for, making sure the hours you set it for coincide with when you want to eat! Turn the dial on your slow cooker to LOW (or HIGH based on the recipe). Fill ‘er up, put on the lid, and walk away!
The only disadvantage to this method is that the slow cooker will not be able to switch to “keep warm” once the timer turns off because at this point your slow cooker will also be off. I don’t consider this to be a show stopper though because I know I’ll be home close enough to the time it turns off.