Slow cookers. LOTS of slow cookers.

I used to have just the one slow cooker.

This one actually:
Original Slow cooker

It didn’t get much use: a) it’s a 4 quart which was just an awkward size for me – a bit too big for one person dinners, not big enough for making ALL THE LEFTOVERS, b) most of the recipes I found weren’t long enough for me to turn on before walking out the door for work and off upon returning (please note options: low, high, warm, and off), and c) the majority of the recipes I did try ended up dried out.

It was very early in my learning to cook career (a year or two out of college maybe? heck, Adam was still in Charleston, before his stint in the Peace Corp), so I got 1 or 2 beef recipes out of that set of experiments, broken them out about once a year and moved on. What with the lack of confidence in my skills to (and frankly knowledge that I could) try and improve recipes.

Adam and I have finally upgraded the slow cooker. 6 quarts. a TIMER. the ability to tell it to cook until the probe registers a set temperature. a lid that can be clipped down for easier transport (it works really well). In short, the same slow cooker everyone gets, a Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart.

This isn’t the one seeing the most use right now. (AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH)

What happened is that it got cold around here. Rather a lot cold. And cold weather means that Adam and I stop eating only cereal in the morning – we occasionally have some oatmeal. Adam makes a good oatmeal on the stove, but between my needing to eat as close to 30 minutes after my morning antacid (yes, in addition to the not smelling thing, I have a heital hernia – essentially, every so often my stomach makes a determined assault on my esophagus with acid) and him sleeping later than I do, it wasn’t always working out. And we’d just gotten a slow cooker. So I started looking for oatmeal recipes designed to be cooked overnight in a slow cooker. I mean I knew I’d seen one on theKitchn.com . At some point.

I mentioned this to Adam, who’s response was “but… too much oatmeal”. Also, the next time he was in the grocery store to call me and go “I am standing in front of the appliances staring at a 2-quart slow cooker. It’s the right size for oatmeal for the two of us, it’s $20, and it’s coming home with me.”

So we’re using the little one of these two about 3 times a work week:
The New Cookers

What are we making?

Overnight Oatmeal
based off of Alton Brown’s version

the original
Recipe count: Um…. I found, copied, and tried in one day – fastest. recipe. tryout. ever.
Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped OR 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups milk

In a slow cooker, combine all the ingredients, cover, and set to Low heat. Let cook for 8-9 hours. Stir before serving.

Personally, I like the figs unchopped – they swell from soaking in liquid for 8-9 hours and I like the texture of biting into one. Adam, not so much. The point being, that a) it works if you don’t chop the figs and b) this is a really flexible recipe: typically Adam tosses in a spice or two, in his usual ‘oh I’ll just add a pinch of this and a dash of that’. So, I don’t got numbers for you there. But really, experiment/play with this one – make it yours.

And when I, Ms. Must-Follow-The-Recipe-Exactly, am telling you to play with a recipe, you know the recipe is more like… guidelines.

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