What is the best slow cooker or crock pot?
I am looking for a slow cooker or crock pot that don't cost a lot of money. But serve the purpose of feeding my family. Something that I can set up and let it cook for a couple of hours. Something that is easy to clean and have different heating tempertures. Dishwasher safe and something that i can use recipes to cook dinner with.
I recommend the West Bend Slow Cooker, 5 quart. It's got an oblong casserole dish (with lid) that sits on a separate heating base. It's the most versatile slow-cooker because you can use the lightweight dish on a stove-top or in the oven to brown meat, cook beans, etc, and then just transfer the dish to the base for slow-cooking. The separate pieces make cleaning easy. The heating base also doubles as a griddle, so you can use it to warm tortillas or bread, or to cook sausages, bacon, or a couple of pancakes at a time. They are the Volvos of kitchen appliances; take care of them and they will last forever. You can buy a new one for about $50. If you buy an older one on-line for cheap, just make sure the inside of the dish is not scratched and the cord is not compromised. 5 quarts is big enough for most meals. Have fun, I love my slow-cooker.
I read the thread from goodhealthgourmet and I know there are mixed reviews about the Rival. I have a 6 qt. and haven't had any problems at all. I do find that it cooks a little faster than you would think, but I just adjust my times accordingly. One of the best things I've found is that when it's hot out and I'm reluctant to turn on my oven, it's perfect for cooking porkroast for BBQ pork sandwiches, even whole chickens for chicken salads. The kids love them and the kitchen stays cool.
I have had a Cuisinart PSC-400 4 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker for about a year and love it. I like that you can set it for, say, 6 hrs on low and it will automatically shift to "Keep warm" if you don't happen to remember to check it. Lots of nice features for the money.