If you’re struggling to get home-cooked meals on the table for you and your family following a long day of work, you’re not alone—about half of American families rarely have dinner together. Even the Harvard Business Review, better known for articles about, well, business, has addressed the difficulty working parents experience in getting everyone around the dinner table and serving up something other than takeout.
It might be tempting to sacrifice family dinners in the face of work demands and hectic extracurricular schedules, but kids who regularly sit down to dinner with their parents do better on a number of health measures. According to a report in the New York Times, when kids eat with their parents, they are more likely to have lower rates of obesity, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems and better grades. And cooking at home, whether the family sits down together or not, is linked to lower consumption of carbohydrates, sugar and fat, which is of course good for just about everyone.
Despite the many advantages of family dinners and cooking at home, making it actually happen can be a challenge. But there are steps you can take to improve your odds. One is to have what you need on hand, perhaps by putting food staples on Amazon automatic-reorder or signing up for a grocery-delivery service. Another is to have thoughtful tools in your kitchen that can eliminate a few steps and even do the cooking while you’re at work.
This is where Hamilton Beach® can help. Until recently, it was not possible (or at least not advisable) to use anything other than fully thawed meat in a slow cooker. So that meant remembering to take meat out of the freezer the night before you were planning to cook it. But now for the first time, our innovative new slow cookers let you safely defrost meat and cook it to a food safe temperature all in one appliance.
The Set & Forget® 6 Quart Defrost Slow Cooker and the 6 Quart Programmable Defrost Slow Cooker turn frozen meats, veggies and more into delicious dinners. Simply add frozen meat and other ingredients to the crock, press defrost and set your cooking temperature and time. When the meal is ready, the slow cooker automatically switches to warm. After contending with the inevitable modern predicament of too little time, it’s nice to slow down and let time cook your dinner while you’re busy doing other things.
Easy family dinner recipes for your programmable slow cooker
Ready to get started? Here are three recipes created to make the most of your programmable defrost slow cooker:
Inspired by the distinctive cuisine of Tuscany, this mouthwatering dish is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy after a long day of school or work. With carrots, celery, kale, tomatoes, great northern beans and smoked sausage, this chicken stew will please every member of the family.
With only six ingredients and no slicing or chopping required, this dish is the very definition of simple. Toss it together in the morning and let the flavors cook into the chops while you work, work out, shop or play.
Why limit turkey to Thanksgiving? This easy turkey breast recipe combines paprika, sage, rosemary and thyme to give the poultry a distinct flavor and it thaws, cooks, and waits for you and your family to sit down to dinner together.