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Cooking with Karina: Slow Cooking for a Fast Feast

Karina Arnold
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Slow Cooker Chicken and Green Beans

Slow Cooker Chicken and Green Beans. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Karina Arnold is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

Whenever I think of crockpots, I recall my great-aunt aunt and grandmother making Polish Bratwurst in the kitchen. It was the WURST when I was young because I could smell the thick sauces and sharp seasonings around the house all day, but when I asked my grandma when food would be ready it was always “eight more hours” or “maybe another hour or two.” Hours?! I glared at the slow cooker and begged for it to speed up. From then on, I’ve had beef (literally and figuratively) with slow cookers. What is the point when there are faster methods? 

For one, slow cookers are an excellent kitchen appliance to have when you are on the go. On days I have long classes or plan on running errands, slow cooking is a life-saver. In the morning, I throw in what I want to cook and when I get home, I have a dinner ready to eat without the work. Getting home after a long day, I am less inclined to cook a healthy meal and feel tempted to order takeout or rip open a frozen dinner. However, with slow cooking, you set yourself up for a healthy, delicious dinner. 

Slow Cooker Turkey Pizza

Slow Cooker Turkey Pizza. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

There are many crockpot recipes. Resorting to this simple equation allows you to prepare crockpot dinners months beforehand. Grab a gallon-sized freezer bag and add: 

2 lbs. chicken or turkey breast + 1 lb. vegetables + 2 Tbsp. fat + 2 Tbsp. acid + 1 Tbsp. flavor + 1 Tsp. flavor

Keep your combinations frozen for up to three months in the freezer and when ready to cook, thaw and cook on low heat for eight hours. My favorite is Lemon Chicken and Green Beans, but there are many more combinations you can try here which can feed about four people per combination. 

Slow Cooker Veggie Egg Casserole

Slow Cooker Veggie Egg Casserole. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Going out Saturday night and predict you will binge eat pizza after arriving home? Set yourself up for mid-night snacking success with this slow-cooker Turkey Pizza. Planning on having a brunch with friends and family? Try this Veggie Egg Casserole, which only takes 1 hour 30 minutes to two hours to make.

Young and naïve, I did not understand that slow-cooking would be convenient and useful when I grew up. What once seemed like a slow torture of waiting is now a fast, convenient cooking method. 

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