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My husband just bought me this slow cooker at the store. Used it today for a roast. I love the temperature probe setting where you set it to where you want the meat to get up to and then it kicks over to warm setting when that is done.
After a fair amount of research I bought this one. I got it for about $35 with coupon at Kohl's. It's my first slow cooker and I love it.
This is the one I have and is great. I like the locking lid since we take things to BBQs and stuff and it makes for easy travel.
I resisted for a very long time because it seemed like a silly thing to buy, but a rolling pin is essential and costs maybe $7. I was avoiding a lot of baking recipes for long time without realizing it. I finally bought one a year ago and easily use it 1-2 times a week.
Also when you're buying wooden spoons smaller is better, in my opinion. I made the mistake of getting some large, designer-style ones a while ago. They look prettier when you buy them, but using them is like trying to put on makeup with a spatula - they're completely unwieldy.
I also love my slow cooker for cooking dried beans, making soups and chili.
A good blender is important too. I still make do without a food processor or mixer (although I'd love to have them one day).
My suggestion? Buy a Crockpot.
It cooks on it's own. You can set it up at anytime and dinner will be ready when you're ready to eat it.
It's cheaper to cook your own food.
It's foolproof, anybody can cook with this thing.
The food is actually good!
The only benefits more expensive ones offer are things like thermometers and programmable start/stop times...And even then we're talking about [a $50 slow cooker]([link] "Crock Pot is a brand, slow cooker is the device) vs a $20 slow cooker.
Some have things that help keep the lid on during transport, if you like to cook for others..But really any slow cooker is going to be fine.
I got this one:
pros about this one:
-There is a timer on it. I use it to make steel cut oats overnight.
-The lid clips on. I can easily bring it to a potluck (yes, I live in Minnesota).
-There is also a temp probe. You can set it to shut off when a particular temperature is reached.
-It's 6 qts. I never ever used my old, smaller one, but I use this one about twice a week.
My slow cooker (Hamilton Beach Set n'Forget) came with a probe and has a setting to turn off (or to just warm) when the meat reaches a certain temperature. It's awesome. Plus, I ended up getting it half price by ordering one with a damaged box.
Point is, slow cookers are an investment. If you buy a cheap one, they will crap out on you sooner rather than later.