Lately, I've been getting a lot of use out of my crock pot. While most crock pot recipes have alternate cooking times for cooking either on high or low, I prefer to cook our crock pot meals on the lower setting. But, I often have a difficult time getting our dinner into the crock pot early enough in the day to accommodate the lower, slower cooking time.
Most recipes can also be assembled in the crock the night before, then placed in the fridge. The next day, insert the crock into the heating element. But, that also brings up another issue for me: I never have room in the fridge for the filled crock.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to get a some meals prepared a few days in advance. I decided to put my crock pot to work at night while we slept. All I did was throw the ingredients into the crock pot, set the temperature (to low) and the timer before I went to bed for the night. This works perfectly for me since I'm a night owl.
Our slow cooker will default to the keep warm setting once the timer is done. That's usually just before the time Joe leaves for work. I usually leave him a note asking him to check on the meal, give it a stir and turn it off. That way it's cooled down by the time I get up and I can then put it into a new container for either the fridge or the freezer.
This has worked really well for us, especially since I've been preparing some bigger meals to take to our family's house. Knowing that the meal is in the fridge, already prepared for whenever we are ready to leave saves me from stressing out while trying to make sure everything is ready to go at a specific time. Sure, I have to reheat dinner when we get there, but for me that's just so much easier.