I own two slow cookers. I bought one (a large 4 quart size) and my mother gave me a smaller one (a one person size). I don't like using them because even on low, they seem to overcook the meal. Its not burned, it just doesn't taste right.
A while ago I bought a bag from Amazon called the "Wonderbag". Its an insulated bag that holds the heat in so your meal cooks over several hours without using electricity. I like it so much.
The way it works is that you cook the beans, or soup, or other dish on top of the stove for 10 or 15 min, and put in the bag. I usually wrap a towel around the pan because I actually use a Japanese or Korean clay or ceramic pot that has a good close fitting lid. I don't want to burn or scorch the fabric.
The wonderbag looks like a round sleeping bag with a draw string and a lid. The whole thing about the size of your curved arms with fingers meeting. I open it and place the wrapped pot inside, top it with the top and slide the string so its nicely closed. I leave it in a corner till I get home or get up and its all ready to eat.
I've used it for beans that I pre-soaked (I boil the beans for 2 to 3 min, turn off the heat and let cool). After I've gotten them hot again, I put in the bag and wait a few hours. I've cooked rice, grains, soup, casserole, etc. I don't eat meat so I do not know how it would work. I've heard it is good for making yogurt which makes sense because I have heated the milk, added the culture, wrapped in several blankets and put in the oven over night.
I've even used some of those boxed mixes for beans and rice, or quick all in one pasta dishes and they worked well. The next stop is selecting recipes from my slow cooker cookbooks to try. I purchased this because I got a bag and the company donated one to needy folks in Africa. Yes it was a bit more expensive than a slow cooker but it evens out because I am not using as much electricity.
Check it out and enjoy.
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