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May 21, 2014 11:01 AM

Poor man's slow cooker?

Hello all,

I tried to search online for something, but have come up blank so far. Has anyone done something on doing a poor man's slow cooker? I don't really want to buy a slow cooker cause they are mostly used for cooking meats, and the last thing me or probably anyone needs to do is eat more meat. I just have a few recipes that call for a slow cooker and would like to try them out. I'm thinking I could just cook in a regular pot and keep the temp or flame really low. Is it really that easy?

Another reason I don't want to pick up a slow cooker is I hate to buy stuff and it just accumulates! There's only one reason I would buy one and that's if it doubles as a rice cooker. Also it needs to be for 1-2 peeps.

Any ideas or words of advice will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Sure you can cook slow in a pot either stove top or preferably in a low oven. Just search online for common crock pot cooking temperatures The beauty of slow cookers is that they require minimal monitoring. My advice is go to a tag sale & get one for $5.00. You'll find plenty of meatless recipes for them online.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zackly

      This. They are at yard and estate sales - seldom over $10. I pick them up for nieces/nephews regularly. I just scooped out delicious cooked black beans - some for tacos, some for 'moros y christianos', some for bean soup.
      Soaked overnight, next day in the pot w/onion, garlic etc
      Uses very little electricity, no heat in the kitchen, safe from burning - Beans are a much more regular part of our dinners, very little or no meat. Slow-cooker makes this very easy.

      Top-of-stove pot? I have several cast iron/enamel but this puts out no wasted heat, safe to use over-night. Ive done braised cabbage and potatoes, lots of veggie stews plus meats sometimes - but usually, lentils, white beans, garbanzo/chick-peas, black-eyes, field peas.

      i guess rice would work but I don't use it for that - pretty simple other ways. I baked sweet potatoes in the cooker - use it to serve lots of hot soups, gumbo and gravy at pot-luck and holiday dinners - no worries about burning, holds heat. When empty I add water, cover heat for a few minutes, nothing sticks and quick to clean. Thats alot for a $5 item and another I got from my MIL.
      I bet you'd like it.

    2. Use a dutch oven in your oven.

      It will likely taste better, too

      3 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        Le Creuset is the rich man's slow cooker I believe ;)

        Appreciate the conversion chart below. I have never owned a crockpot, but I do see the occasional recipe I want to try.

        1. re: foiegras

          LC sells lovely Dutch ovens but so does Lodge which are considerably less expensive.

          I bought one at goodwill for. $1 about 10 years ago :-)

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I got my Lodge DO from Costco, about the same price as a slow cooker. I love it for no knead bread.

      2. I found this handy conversion chart a few months back. I like slow food but have no desire to own a slow cooker.

        1. Costco sells a rice cooker/slow cooker combo.

          I start things on the top of the stove in an ovenproof Dutch oven and then move to a 250 oven, covered.

          1. dutch oven placed in your regular oven on low heat will braise much like a slow cooker - low, slow and covered -

            if its more about spending $ than clutter you can find a crock pot super cheap at a thrift store which will also do the same thing

            the main benefit of the slow cooker over these the electronic clock so you don't have to watch it - set and go

            apparently some rice cookers have slow cooker settings now too but I don't know the brands

            not sure what slow cookers have to do with meat per se- all in how you use it -