Pros: Perfect for small meals, cleans up easily, good for people on the go
Cons: Won't be sufficient for a large group
Busy lifestyles often lead to innovative and time-saving cooking techniques. I like the type of indoor cooking that involves the least amount of hands-on supervision, and I've found that cooking with a crock pot allows me to prepare a meal over a long period of time without having to constantly stir, turn, season or otherwise monitor the meal. With this idea in mind, and also considering that on most occasions I'm cooking just for two, I recently purchased the Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker. I own two other crock pots that I've had for years, but both are large capacity cookers. I decided I needed something a little smaller and a lot more practical, so after testing the waters, I settled on the Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker, paid $15.00 for it at Target, and took it home with me to prepare my first meal with it. Here's the skinny on this little slow cooker.
The Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker is actually a three piece unit. The crock, or cooking pot, is made of stoneware and sits inside the cooker, which is made of metal and contains the heating elements that cook the food. The cooker has plastic handles on each side for easy lifting, and the crock pot can be taken out of the cooker by holding its overlapping edges, after it's cooled off. The top that seals the crock pot during cooking is made of glass and has a handle right in the middle of the top that allows it to be lifted off very easily. The knob on the front of the cooker has three settings--off, low and high. With a capacity of 3 quarts, the unit is necessarily very small, and doesn't take up much space on my countertop when I'm cooking with it. When I finish using it, I simply place it on the floor of my cupboard, under the shelves, where it's barely noticeable.
The crock pot and the top are dishwasher safe, but can be cleaned very easily with hot water and soap. Because of the fact that the metal cooking shell is electrical in nature, it's not dishwasher safe, so I usually just wipe it down with a wet cloth after each use and allow it to dry thoroughly before storing it and using it again.
The Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker suits my purposes perfectly. I can place my food in the cooker in the morning before I leave to go to work or play golf, and when I return late that afternoon, I have a meal that's well-cooked, hot and ready to eat. All the work is done on the front end, and the cooking takes place while I'm otherwise occupied, all without any supervision or tinkering with the food. After I enjoy my meal, cleaning up takes less than 5 minutes and the unit is good to go for the next use.
One of my favorites is roast beef with vegetables. I like to place a small roast in the crock pot, along with potatoes, onions and carrots. I add one can of beer and season the food with salt, pepper, Cavender's Greek Seasoning, garlic and a touch of red pepper. I cook my meal on the low setting for about eight hours, and the result is succulent roast beef with well-marinated vegetables that's almost the perfect sized serving for two people. I haven't experimented with the high cooking setting yet, because most of my meals prepared with the Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker will take anywhere from six to ten hours, so the low setting is perfect.
I recommend the Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker for the person who is on the go. This crock pot allows me to prepare a nice meal in absentia, and the 3 quart capacity makes it perfect when I'm cooking for just the two of us. It takes up very little space, cleans up easily, and cooks a roast until it literally falls apart.
If you cook for a large family, I would suggest getting a larger crock pot, because the Rival 3 Quart Slow Cooker has limited capacity and wouldn't cook enough food to feed a big herd.
Thanks for reading.