Here’s the scenario: you get up early to chop the veggies and meat for that perfect crockpot recipe. Coming home that evening, the luscious aroma hits you as you walk in the door, only to sit down to a crockpot full of mush.

I work from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. outside the home. Although many times a crockpot/slow cooker recipe says it can cook for 8-10 hours, by the time we eat it, the meal is mushy. The recipe would taste so much better if it had cooked for 4 hours.

Here’s my simple solution. I plug in my slow cooker to an inexpensive wall timer (like you use to turn your lights on and off), then set the timer to cook for the appropriate time. Most of my meals cook 8 hours, and we normally don’t eat until 7 p.m., so I set the timer to turn on at around 10 a.m. Don’t forget to turn on your Crock-Pot, or you’ll be having take-out that night! And I always use the low setting to keep the pot from running dry.

The meal is ready when you get home and tastes much better because it is perfectly cooked, not mushy.