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Slow cooker recipes from readers
By Tammy Barton

A few weeks ago we talked about saving money at the supermarket by buying cheaper cuts of meat and turning them into delicious meals through slow cooking. We asked readers to contribute their favourite recipes and we've selected a few to be included here - thank you! Before we cut to the recipes, here are a few more slow cooking tips:

  • If you don't have an electric slow cooker, a heavy-based, oven-proof pot/dish with a well-fitting lid will work equally well. It can be metal or stoneware.
  • When slow cooking in the oven, red meat dishes will probably need around two to four hours at 160C-175C until they become tender. Chicken will need around two to three hours. The final time will depend on the cut of meat and quantity. If using a slow cooker, follow the instructions that came with it. The good news is that it's difficult to over-cook slow cooked food, but...
  • Check the liquid level of the dish during the cooking process. Especially in the oven, moisture will be lost to evaporation. Add extra water if the liquid level reduces significantly. Don't let the dish dry out.
  • Trim fat from the meat before cooking. This includes removing the skin from chicken.
  • Remember to pre-heat your oven if you're not using an electric slow cooker. The recipes below assume that the oven is at temperature at the beginning of the cooking time.
  • Download this meat cuts and cooking chart which explains how to match cuts of meat with their best cooking method.
Onto the recipes. I'm going to start with a suggested shortcut from one of our busy readers. It's a great tip and we don't think there's anything wrong with cutting corners in the interest of time! Maureen from Prospect in SA writes:

I don’t have a recipe, as such. I usually just add a supermarket "Slow Cookers" sachet to some chuck steak or stewing beef and follow the instructions on the packet. (The sign of a busy woman... or a lazy one!?) The McCormick Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff sachet is good, and their Slow Cooker Beef & Red Wine is yummy, too. The packet says they contain no artificial colouring or flavours.

Beef and mushroom casserole

Virginia writes, “This is a yummy recipe I found years ago in Women’s Weekly.”

1.5 kg round steak
2 medium onions
2 beef stock cubes
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups of
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
250g mushrooms
1 small tub of sour cream

Remove fat from meat and cut into 2.5cm pieces. Add peeled and sliced onions and mushrooms into slow cooker/oven-proof pot with a lid. Add wine, salt and pepper, water and crumbled stock cubes, tomato paste and stir until combined. If using a slow cooker, cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for five to six hours. If cooking in the oven, cover pot with a well-fitting lid and cook at 175C for two hours or until the meat becomes tender. Add water if the mixture becomes dry during cooking. Sour cream can be served separately or a spoonful can be stirred into each serving.

Barbecue ribsTheona tells me, “This I my favourite slow cooker recipe.”Pork or beef spare ribs on the bone, as many as will fit in your pot/cooker still racked
1 whole bottle of HP Sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 or 3 sweet dried chillies, chopped (optional) – or you could use a few dollops of sweet chilli sauce
1 cup of water
1 sachet tomato paste

Ribs may need to be separated into racks of three or four to fit in your pot/cooker. Add sauce ingredients into a bowl and stir. Layer ribs and spoon fulls of sauce into slow cooker and cook on automatic for six hours. If using a pot or casserole dish, cover with lid and cook in the oven at 160C for three to four hours or until the meat is tender. Add extra water if needed during the cooking process to ensure that the sauce doesn’t dry up. Take ribs out of pot and place them on a hot barbecue grill. Brush leftover sauce over ribs as they crisp up. Serve with brown rice and salad or vegetables.

Simple chicken curry
Nick suggests, "This recipe is easy to modify. I add whatever veg I have on hand. Sweet potato, potato, celery, carrots, peas etc. If I'm in the mood, I'll add a few pinches of spice, like ground cardamon, cumin and ginger."
1 kg of chicken thighs, skin removed
2 chicken stock cubes
3 to 4 tsp of curry powder, to taste
Medium can of pineapple in natural juice, cut into pieces
Other vegetables, chopped into chunky pieces
Half to one cup of hot water (liquid level should just cover meat and veg)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Drain the pineapple; set aside the chopped fruit and retain the juice. Combine the chicken and veg pieces in the slow cooker/pot. Dissolve the stock cubes in water and mix with pineapple juice. Tip the liquid over the meat and veg. Cook in a slow cooker on low for four to five hours or cover with lid and cook in an oven-proof pot at 170C for two hours. Check liquid level during cooking process; it should reduce and thicken, but not become dry. Add extra water as needed. Stir in pineapple pieces before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appetit!
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