Your Guide To Mastering Slow Cookers, Pressure Cookers, And Air Fryers

If you’re new to slow cookers, air fryers, and pressure cookers, they can be a little intimidating. These trendy kitchen gadgets can be a big investment in your culinary toolkit, and with different preparation methods and cook times, it can make any experienced chef feel like blowing a fuse. Fear not, kitchen warrior. We have a stack of recipes for each of these handy kitchen tools that will help you master the bells and whistles to create culinary magic.

SLOW AND STEADY

Slow cookers are the ultimate “set it and forget it” kitchen devices. Toss in your ingredients, turn it on, and in a few hours, your nose will lead you straight back to the kitchen, where a fabulously fragrant, perfectly cooked meal is waiting. It's practically wizardry, and if you use a slow cooker liner for super easy cleanup, you'll have even more time in the evening with the family. How’s that for stress-free cooking? Put your slow cooker to work with one of these amazingly easy recipes.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew

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Comfort food meets warming Moroccan spices in this delicious dish. The key is an aromatic spice blend that starts with cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and coriander. Give your chicken breasts a quick spice rub, brown ‘em in the skillet, and your work is pretty much done—toss everything else in the slow cooker, including Hunt’s® Tomato Paste for a little tang, classic stew veggies, and some dried fruit, which adds a subtle sweetness. It's a hearty, filling meal that offers a flavorful twist on a standard stew. Get your greens in and serve it with a side salad topped with Healthy Choice® Power Dressings.

Slow Cooker Beer-Braised Brisket

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Is there anything better than a brisket? Only when it's done in the slow cooker, which turns a typically ultra-labor-intensive meal into a piece of cake. First, make sure you start by spraying your slow cooker with PAM® so you don’t lose an ounce of that precious, tangy sauce to a fate of burnt bits on the bottom—it really helps speedup clean-up time, too. But the simple combo of stout beer, brown sugar, and mustard really makes the brisket sing with a smoked-all-day flavor. Slice up some buns and shred the meat for tender, finger-lickin’ BBQ bliss.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Bursting with Southwest flavor, this chicken tortilla soup is the perfect way to bring comfort food vibes to taco night. Shredded chicken and Birds Eye® Steamfresh Protein Blends Southwest Style veggies get together with a zesty blend of spices to create a warm, savory soup perfect for a chilly evening. Like things really spicy? If the RO*TEL® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies don’t bring enough heat, sprinkle in extra ground chipotle chili pepper. Top it like you would a classic chili—how about some tortilla chips for a little crunch, diced avocado, and fresh cilantro? Wrap things up with your own Marie Callender's® Mini Pie—no sharing required, and everyone can have their own favorite flavor.

PRESSURE’S ON

So you bought a pressure cooker… now what? There’s no doubt about it—when you first give it a go, this nifty kitchen tool is a little intimidating to use. But with a little practice, it might just become your favorite gadget. When meals come together in as little as one-sixth of the normal time, you can spend way less time thinking about dinner and more time finishing that never-ending game of family Monopoly or cozying up on the couch with a good book. These are all the joys of pressure cooking like a pro! Here are a few recipes you'll want to make again and again.

Pressure Cooker Beefless Chili

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Tender, spicy chili in less than an hour, with no constant stirring at the stove? Sign us up. This recipe will defy all your expectations of vegetarian chili, made with a base of savory Gardein Beefless Ground. With 87% less fat than regular ground beef, you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to see the benefits, and we pinkie-promise you won’t miss the beef. And thanks to your nifty new kitchen gadget, you can cook up dried beans in just 10 minutes—how’s that for weeknight magic? Of course, you can’t make chili without ROT*EL Original, ready to go with a tomatoey blend of herbs and spices. Best of all, this lightened-up chili recipe makes a big batch, so you’ll have dinner for days—or freeze it for last-minute meals in the future.

Spicy Korean Chicken Street Tacos

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Your pressure cooker might just be the last straw before takeout night. But when you can have delicious street tacos on the table in less time than it would take you to order in, why bother? This recipe is ready in just 35 minutes, a lightning-quick cook time that's a lifesaver on busy school nights. It’s the addition of P.F. Chang's® Home Menu Korean Style BBQ Sauce that gives this meal restaurant-quality flavor. In the pressure cooker, it combines with the chicken for the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Top warm tortillas with a tangy blend of fresh radishes, cucumber, green onion, and cilantro for a memorable meal everyone will be asking for again and again.

Pressure Cooker Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

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Creamy, smooth mashed potatoes—but make it vegan (and no one will be the wiser!). When softened up in the pressure cooker, Birds Eye Fresh Frozen Select Vegetables Cauliflower Florets make an amazing mashed potato substitute, which help up the health factor in an otherwise heavy dish. But, hey, life’s all about balance, right? So, we threw in some real potatoes for good measure. Add Earth Balance® Soy-Free Buttery Spread to the mix and you'll have a healthier side-dish alternative that’s perfect for the dinner table any time—why save it for the holidays?

OH FRY!

Is there any time when fried foods don’t hit the spot? We didn’t think so. We all love biting into our favorite crunchy, crispy foods—but, well, they’re not really everyday-friendly foods (just ask your waistline). Welcome to the wonderful world of the air fryer. The air fryer takes all the fried foods you love and re-creates them with little to no oil, so you get all the crispy, crunchy goodness with less grease and fat. These recipes will help you show off all that an air fryer can do.

Air Fryer Fried Pickles

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Who can resist deep-fried pickles? That tangy-crunchy combo of dill pickles and breading is just about as good as it gets. These air-fried fried pickles will remind you of that red-checkered basket of fried pickles at your favorite restaurant, but with a tiny fraction of the oil. Vlasic® Ovals Hamburger Dill Chips have the perfect by-the-bite size, but if you want something more hefty, give spears a try.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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Skip the freezer aisle and whip out that air fryer—once you make these air-fried chicken tenders, you might never go back to the real thing. First, marinate your chicken tenders in Wish-Bone® Ranch Dressing for a pop of flavor, and then roll them in a light, buttery cracker breading. Pop them in the fryer for just 8 minutes, and you’re ready to go. Serve ‘em with a homemade drive-through-inspired dipping sauce or a double dose of ranch—sometimes you really can’t have too much of a good thing.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Bet you never thought you could make mozzarella sticks on your own. Now you can with the help of your trusty air fryer. Simply roll mozzarella cheese in flour, Egg Beaters®, and breadcrumbs before freezing and frying at 400°F. Hot tip: You can make these sports bar favorites in advance, and then fry them whenever the craving strikes!

There’s a reason you’re seeing these three kitchen tools on just about every countertop in the country: They really are worth using. Try these recipes with your kitchen gadgets this week and you'll see how easy, efficient, and delicious they can make your next meal.

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