Do you call it a slow cooker or a crockpot? Does it even matter…not exactly.
I’ve always been fascinated by why we choose different words for the same thing and then hotly debate it.
Like soda vs pop or dinner vs supper? Mom would tell you that dinner is around mid-day and super is your evening meal, but then she also pronounces it “wrastle”. :)However this question did lead me to do some digging and find out if there really is a difference?
Is there a difference?
It turns out there is a difference and of course a new player in the cooking game, which has been shaking up the long beloved tradition of dump it and forget it meals.
Crock Pot: While Crock-pot is a brand, it’s also a specific type of cooker that involves a ceramic bowl surrounded by a heating element. It usually has only a few controls and cooks food slowly at a low temperature of around 200F. This is your standard pop it in at the beginning of the day and come home to food and a house that smells of dinner.
Slow Cooker: Often used as an interchangeable term for crock pots, it’s actually not the same at all. A slow cooker is usually metal and sits on top of a heating element allowing you to set it for long periods or remove it and restart the heating process later. None the less, most of us will still refer to anything not the Crock-pot brand as a slow cooker.
Instant Pot: Technically this is a pressure cooker, which means higher temperatures (around 240F) and faster cook times. No more set it and forget it for hours, it’s going to dramatically speed up cooking time and can eliminate the need for browning or sauteing, which is often recommended with slow cooker meals. Of course this also means, no dumping in a meal before leaving for work. Instead you’ll quickly assemble it when you get home.
I have heard there can be a learning curve with the Instant Pot because it serves so many different needs, but I’m intrigued and you might just be seeing that start to pop up in recipes.Is there a difference between the slow cooker and Instant Pot? Yes! It will change your cooking Click To Tweet
Though I wonder if the meat will be as tender? I love how quickly chicken shreds after hours of slow cooking. On the flip side, some will tell you they believe the long slow cook isn’t hot enough to kill toxins or is cooking so long it’s depleting nutrients. Things to ponder.
Healthy Sloppy Joes
While this debate was raging in my head, I got to work cooking via my slow cooker to stick to my one little kitchen change goal! I made enough to freeze if there were just the normal two of us eating, but with four it vanished lickety split.
The basic ingredients needed are the meat and the flavors, if you want to play with the veggies you can add mushrooms, carrots or celery.
Healthy Sloppy Joes
- 4 baked sweet potatoes or regular potatoes I pierce with a fork and pop in the microwave
- 1 lbs of grass-fed ground beef or ground turkey I did 1lb of each to satisfy this group
- 4 strips cooked smoked bacon optional for flavor boost
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- 1/2 red pepper chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp of chili powder
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tsp of cumin
- 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 14 oz can of diced tomatoes or 2 cups tomato sauce don't drain liquid
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add EVOO to skillet and saute onions and peppers, until onions turn slightly brown
- Add ground beef/turkey to the skillet and brown
- Move skillet contents to the slow cooker
- Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker
- Allow to cook at least 15 minutes on high, but I loved putting it on low for hours to let the flavors really meld and of course increase our appetites as we smelled it getting ready.
*Note if you opted to cook this in the Instant Pot, you’d eliminate the initial skillet time and probably only cook for 15 minutes.
Serving Options: Traditionally you’d pop this yummy filling on a bun, but we’re thinking Whole30 and Paleo…ok really I was just trying to cram some veggies down their throat without them noticing, so we skipped the bread for something more interesting.
Cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out a portion to form a little bowl and fill with sloppy joe or serve it over a salad or slice up your potato and top with the mixture.
I set out a bevvy of options and here are the bowls that were created. I’m sure you’ll be less than surprised to find the greenest one is mine, gotta get in those freggies! It’s a glorious thing to realize you can have flavor and satisfaction without unhealthy fats or sugars. Plus around here the fact that I didn’t just open a can was a call for celebration, I’m sticking to my goal to cook more!
Any regional words you love hearing people say differently?
Have you tried the Instant Pot yet?
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