Dinner has always been a special occasion in my family. It’s almost always served at the dining room table with records being played in the background. It helps us unwind from our day, and we’re always cooking something from scratch.

The biggest challenge in cooking for us, as well as many families, is time. I leave the house at 6:45 and  don’t get home until after 5:30. Then it’s a hustle to think of what to cook, make it, serve it, clean it up and then the next thing you know it’s 8pm and I’m haven’t had a chance to sit (other than shoveling food in my face). I’ve found some time savings with delivered meals like Home Chef, but that’s a luxury we can’t always rely on.

With the onset of fall, I want something warm, delicious and ready to eat when I come home. This way, I can enjoy family time outside of the kitchen. Slow cookers are a great solution for people with schedules like mine. The only reason why I didn’t rely on a slower cooker more often was because mine was 30+ years old. While it worked like a charm, I would be out of house longer than the 4-6 or 6-8 hours most recipes called for.  Then I found Hamilton Beach’s Set & Forget It 6 quart slow cooker, with its programmable timer and meat thermometer that put me in slow cooker heaven!

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker Grocery GalMy favorite type of food is Indian, and I’ve had a Indian slow-cooker cookbook for years that was just collecting dust on my shelf. Why? Every recipe needed only 4-6 hours which wasn’t going to work with my schedule. Yeah, I could’ve bought a timer… and at one point I did, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it! I didn’t want to arrive from work one day to see my home burned to the ground, so the cookbook remained on the shelf.

The first recipe I tried with my Set & Forget slow cooker (mind you, I’ve used this three times in 10 days – that’s how much I love it!), was a traditional yellow dal recipe. I put all the items in the cooker, used the locking mechanism to keep the heat in and cover in place. I’m not one to read the instruction manual, but I easily figured out how to program the slow cooker. In addition to the timer, this slow cooker offered low, medium and high settings, which was a nice change from my low/high settings. Five hours later and wa-la! Perfect dal for dinner. I now have a bunch of Indian slow cooker recipes earmarked to make over the next few weeks.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker Grocery GalThe locking mechanism on the Set & Forget (best name ever) slow cooker helps keep the heat in, so the food inside seem to self-baste. If your recipe calls for water or broth, I’d recommend using half of  what they recommend; you’ll have a much thicker soup/gravy/sauce/what-have-you.

Two days later, I satisfied my carnitas tooth (yes, I do have one), with Rick Bayless’ Garlickly Carnitas Slow Cook Sauce and some pork shoulder. Married to a vegetarian, I whipped up some tofu taco meat for him, and we were ready for dinner in about 20 minutes. Perfect after a long day. I loved the smell of the carnitas cooking when I came home, but my husband, said vegetarian, wasn’t a fan of the pork goodness wafting throughout the house.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerTonight’s meal (counting down the hours till I get to try it), uses rump roast I had in the freezer. I didn’t know how to cook it, so I went to the trusty interweb for some ideas. The website PaleOMG had a great recipe which featured mushrooms, onions and garlic. I prepared everything in about 15 minutes before I got into the shower.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerAs I mentioned, my husband doesn’t eat meat, so I “Set & Forgot” about it on our back porch this morning to minimize the meat smells. I wanted to use the meat probe to gauge when to turn the slow cooker off, but I didn’t know what temperature I needed the meat to be. Maybe if I had read the instruction manual I could’ve found the answer (!), but I needed to get into the shower! Instead, I set it for 7 hours on low and am confident there will be a delicious dinner waiting for me at home.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerWith school starting, daylight fading and the temperatures dropping, I cannot think of a better way to be inspired to cook a delicious, healthy meal for my family than with Hamilton Beach’s Set & Forget Slow Cooker. The 6 quart size is big enough for any large family and perfect for my small family of three. I love this product so much, I’ll be giving one Hamilton Beach Set & Forget slow cooker to one lucky Grocery Gal reader! To enter, leave a comment saying what you would want to make with your Hamilton Beach slow cooker. Get two entries if you attach a recipe/link to recipe! Contest is open until October 15, 2014. One entry per email.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with Spoon/Lid. MSRP $59.99




  1. Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Great article! I need to get a new slow cooker – this one sounds pretty sweet. I would make this beer cheese soup, because it is delicious! http://crockpotdudes.com/?p=17

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      Even though the recipe suggests to use Old Style, maybe I’ll use some of my gluten-free beer in this one (since I don’t want to drink it!).

  2. billie dough
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Chicken Tikka Masala … yum

  3. Kenneth
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Just picked up a 3.5 lb pork roast this afternoon. Thinking slow cooker a must! Yum…

  4. Kenneth
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Chili and chicken & dumplings is another big favorite for my crockpot. I agree, I am another one afraid to leave my crockpot on for 10 hours at a time while I’m at work.

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      That’s why this Set & Forget slow cooker would be just perfect for you, Kenneth! Thanks for your entry and best of luck!

  5. Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    My first meal on the slow cooker would be beef barbacoa:


    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      That recipe sounds just great!

  6. SlowCookerSally
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    My name is literally SlowCookerSally. It is on my birth certificate, for real!

    One of my favorite recipes is a whole chicken in the cooker with onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. I put some pepper and spices like rosemary, oregano or garlic. I change it up every time. Put in a 1/4 cup water. Comes out juicy and delicious! And, then after the meat is taken off you can use the leftovers to make chicken broth. Delish!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I never thought of using a whole chicken – what a great recipe!

  7. Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    This blog is going to be addicting. Especially since winter is approaching and crock pot dishes are my favorite comfort food during that time. I can’t wait to see some new recipes.

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      I agree, Rochelle! Seeing all the comments made me get all the fixins together for the slow cooker to be set for tomorrow night’s dinner.

  8. Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Simplest Pot Roast Recipe Ever

    3-5 lb Chuck Roast
    1 jar (24oz) of Pace Picante Chunky Sauce (pick your preference hot/mild/med)

    Place meat in crock pot, toss the jar of salsa on top – close lid. Set it for low 7-8 hours.

    That’s it!

  9. DiMaso Family Loves Food
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow! This slow cooker looks amazing. I love that a thermometer can be inserted through the lid! I’m wondering if the ceramic “bowl” can be removed and put into the dishwasher? A couple weeks ago, we invited our neighbors over for a Bears Game (We were secretly “setting up” a couple of friends who we thought would hit it off.) Back to the topic…. For the game, I wanted to make BBQ glazed Kielbasa but couldn’t find my crusty old slow cooker. I was devastated! The recipe is: 2 pounds of Extra Garlic Kielbasa from Bacik Deli, sliced on an angle; 1 bottle of beer, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar. Mix it all together in the slow cooker. Great appetizer for an after-school snack or having a few friends over for the Bears game. Optional: Wrap each slice of Kielbasa in bacon & secure with a toothpick. Mmmm!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure the ceramic bowl is dishwasher safe. It’s also nice enough to use as a serving dish. Yes, the thermometer is a great feature!

  10. Sara
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the article! I am convinced I need one, I’ve never had nor used one, it’s about time. I would make a brisket dish for Rosh HaShanah!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Sara! That sounds like a perfect way to make a holiday meal a little more stress-free.

  11. Tracey Greenwald
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I LOVE to use my crockpot to make family meals without a lot of fuss! It is nice to be able to put the ingredients together in the morning, go to work, and come home to a hot, finished meal!

    One of my family’s favorite recipes is this one:
    1 bag of frozen tortellini
    1 small bag of fresh spinach
    2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
    4 cups vegetable broth
    1 block of cream cheese.

    Mix all ingredients together and cook on low for 5-6 hours.


    • Grocery Gal
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      This is a perfect idea for me to make for my family – especially on days when I won’t be home in time for dinner with them. We always have some frozen tortellini in the freezer.

  12. Posted September 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Ohhhh my gosh, this thing looks magical! Like seriously it’s been enchanted. A slot for a thermometer?! So you don’t have to open the lid? Which locks to it’ll keep nosy spouses out? MAGIC.

    My fav-for-the-moment crock pot recipe is a blue cheese roast.

    a chuck roast (I use 2-3lb)
    a large onion or two smaller ones
    sliced mushrooms
    red wine
    packet of powdered blue cheese dressing mix
    a stick of butter

    Cut up the onion into chunks, like little wedges, and put them with the roast into the crock pot. Sprinkle the packet of blue cheese dressing mix onto the meat and onions. Unwrap an entire stick of butter. I mean it, just do it. Unwrap the butter and set it on top of the meat. Put the lid on and turn on the crock pot. I do “high” for six hours. After a couple of hours, when things have settled in a bit, open the lid really quick and pour in about 3/4 of a cup of red wine. You don’t need any other liquid. After a few more hours dump in the mushrooms. When the time has elapsed, the roast should be nice and tender. Insanely delicious!

  13. Megan
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I would make a vegetarian 3 bean (very healthy) chili from Weight Watchers: http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeid=374391
    It’s incredibly easy and filling. I use my parent’s old school crock pot to make it.

  14. Richelle
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Yum! Our slow cooker needs replacing; it only has two temperatures now: off, and Hades.

    My first meal would definitely be slow-cooker chili. Now that the weather is starting to get a chill, to come home to perfectly cooked, ready to eat chili sounds like a dream!

  15. Sandy Lyons
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I love making Coca Cola pot roast with onions. I serve it over egg noodles.

  16. Lisa
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I would definitely make some chicken fajitas or chili in the slow cooker. It’s perfect because you can get it going in the morning before work and by the time I get home, it’s done!

  17. ESJ
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I have recently become hooked on caramelizing onions in a slow cooker: One 5-lb. bag of onions, sliced; 1 stick of butter dotted on top; and a few granules of chicken bullion sprinkled on top of that.

    My only problem with this is that it needs about 15 hours on a low setting, so a programmable slow cooker would solve my problems!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted October 9, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      What do you use these caramelized onions on?

  18. lauren
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I use my slow cooker all the time but it’s not programmable. I’d love to have that option. I have a great chicken coconut curry recipe.

  19. theresa
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I would.make chili in the slow cooker

  20. Kris
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m a huge fan of mushroom soups in the crockpot– here’s my favorite recipe (it’s vegan-friendly!) http://www.rockoutwithyourcrockout.org/vegan-hungarian-mushroom-soup/

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted October 9, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Oh, this uses cashew creme? This sounds like a great recipe to try for the next Chicago Food Swap. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. Debbie Rose
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I’d make pulled pork!

  22. Marie
    Posted October 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I love this recipe in my slow cooker!

    Slow-cooker Roast Beef

    Key #1 The flavor is in the Fat

    Key #2 Do not open crock pot unnecessarily as there is too much heat loss.

    3-5 lb beef roast Remove mesh from roast and quarter (do not remove fat)

    1 cup warm water
    1 ½ Tbsp Beef bouillon
    1 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    3 tbsp cornstarch

    Spray slow cooker crock with Pam.

    Add roast fat side up to slow cooker

    Dissolve bouillon in warm water. Add all other ingredients (except corn starch) stir. Pour over roast. Cover.

    Turn setting to High for ½ hour to 1 hour, then cook on low for 7 hours (turning over half way through)

    Mix 1 cup cool water with cornstarch and mix to dissolve. Microwave for a minute to start the thickening process. Stir and set aside.

    Take the beef onto cutting board, cover

    Pour cornstarch mixture into crock and stir into beef juice. Quickly replace lid. Turn temp to high

    Quickly Slice off any obvious fat off cooked roast. With two large forks, quickly pull the beef into chunks….don’t make it too small.

    Add pulled beef back into crock pot. Cover. Stir in ½ hour. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve.

  23. IRENE
    Posted October 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I would love to come home to chicken soup on a cold winter night.

  24. Bonnie
    Posted October 8, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I found a lasagna recipe w/ uncooked noodles. But it goes smooshy after 4 hours. Having an automatic timer would allow me to make this during the week vs. just the weekend.

  25. lauren
    Posted October 8, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I commented earlier but didn’t link a recipe. This is the one I was talking about.


    • Ingrid
      Posted October 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Sounds yummy, going to take a stab at it this weekend!

      • Grocery Gal
        Posted October 9, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        This one does sound great! I’ll have to make it and freeze some in jars for work lunches

  26. Ingrid
    Posted October 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Chicken Paprikash … ran across a recipe in the Trib many years ago and adapted it to a slow cooker.

    2 lbs chicken breast cut up into 1″ pcs
    2 medium onions
    2 cups broth
    4 cloves garlic minced
    1 12 oz can diced tomato
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    6 tbls paprika

    cook overnight on low, season if needed. Mix broth from slow cooker with 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Again season to taste.

  27. Madeline Tucker
    Posted October 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  28. Debra
    Posted October 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I would make chicken tacos…easiest recipe ever…

    Chicken…however much you want, whatever kind you want, boneless breasts, thighs, whole chicken, whatever. I prefer boneless breasts but that’s just me.

    1 jar of salsa…whatever kind you want, hot, mild, chunky, whatever.

    Dump both in slow cooker. Cook for hours, shred chicken with fork and gently mix.

    Easy easy. Yummy yummy food for my tummy!

  29. James
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d definitely make some awesome, wicked spicy chilli. I’m looking forward to trying Indian though… great idea!

  30. Grocery Gal
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Kenneth for winning the slow cooker!

  31. Posted August 25, 2015 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Fall and back to school always makes me want to bust out the slow cooker! We love Caesar chicken to make sandwiches!

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