I am not a fan of slow cookers.
I realize this is not how most posts about slow cookers begin, but let me explain…
I grew up in a Filipino family where chopping, pan searing, frying, chopping more, frying more, dirtying dishes, washing dishes, sharing story after story while creating dishes from scratch… this was the rhythm of love. There were no casseroles, no one-pot wonders, no easy way outs.
Now that I have a family of my own, I continue that rhythmic love story in our own kitchen. But these are different times. I don’t have a grandmother living with us to help take care of the kids, it’s just me, and hubby. Hubby works full-time in a corporate tower, I work full-time in a messy stinky kid zone. Our kids have busier schedules than we did back in the day.
Neither of us are casserole fans, and we’re both slightly picky when it comes to ingredients and taste. We previously had only found one dish that we cooked in a slow cooker that we liked, and that was pulled pork. Everything else? Meh.
Enter the Ninja Cooking System (cue angelic music).
This past summer I was one of hundreds who received a Ninja Cooking System at the International Food Bloggers Conference. It differs from a traditional slow cooker in that it has a stove top and and oven setting. You can create one-pot wonders, but you can roast, slow cook, and even bake in this pot! It has Triple Fusion Heat (TM) technology that allows your meals to cook up to 50% faster than a traditional crockpot.
So far, I’ve used our Ninja for a variety of meals and even food gifts, such as the apple butter I made over Thanksgiving. Click here for the APPLE BUTTER RECIPE from All Recipes that I used. It’s delicious!
The apple butter turned out very well, but called for using the Ninja Cooking System like a traditional slow cooker. Which is fine, but I definitely wanted to test out it’s full capabilities.
To do so, I started with the Chicken Piccata with Quinoa recipe, which you can find on the Ninja Cooking System website as a registered member, or in the recipe book that comes with the system when you purchase it. To be honest, this wasn’t our favorite dish, but we also didn’t add the capers as suggested in the recipe (hubby’s not a huge caper fan). It was great to be able to cook the chicken, quinoa, and asparagus all in one. However, just remember that even though you may be using one pot (plus an insert) for the cooking, doesn’t mean you also won’t dirty up other dishes during the prep.
I can tell you that I LOVE – absolutely love! – how easy it is to clean the Ninja Cooking System. Just a little soap & water and it’s good as new. Seriously! Coming from someone who hand washes a lot of dishes, the ease with which these pots clean is truly a joy!
The standout dish we created in the Ninja Cooking System was the beef stew. I forgot to add the peas at the end, but the dish turned out delicious nonetheless. Browning the meat took no time at all, and I actually ended up cooking the whole meal in less time than originally suggested in the recipe (I cooked it on STOVETOP HIGH for 2 hours, then low for 2 hours).
Click here to view the BEEF STEW RECIPE on the Ninja Cooking System website.
I have yet to test out the baking capabilities, but being an avid baker, you bet I will be testing this out over the holidays.
Overall, if you are looking for an incredible slow cooker option, I would suggest the Ninja Cooking System (retail value: around $200). I have a traditional slow cooker at home, and it’s just not all that and a bag of chips like the Ninja is. The stove top and oven capabilities, the super easy clean-up, the faster cooking time — all are important to me as a busy mom business owner, and I personally look forward to trying new recipes using my Ninja!
For more info, check out http://ninjacooking.ninjakitchen.com/
Disclosure: I was gifted a Ninja Cooking System. All opinions are mine.