In the fall season a home cooked meal is comforting at the end of the day — especially if it's been prepared in a slow cooker.

"It's so rewarding to walk in at the end of a long day and not have to do a whole lot to get dinner on the table," said Angie Quaale, a barbecue champion who owns Langley gourmet food store Well Seasoned.

She told CBC host Gloria Macarenko that the most important thing to keep in mind when using a slow cooker is "how the recipe starts, and how it finishes."

"There's a little bit of work and a little bit of finesse to have something come out of the slow cooker that is going to maybe taste like and look like it didn't come out of the slow cooker."

In the video above, Quaale shows how to make comforting, flavourful meals in a slow cooker — and the recipes for her dishes can be found below:

Cauliflower Soup with Thai Red Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup mild Thai red curry paste (adjust quantity if you are using a hot curry paste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 can best quality coconut cream
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • ½  long red chili, thinly sliced  (optional)
  • fresh lime wedges

Method:

In a small frying pan, saute the onion and garlic. Add the curry paste. Cook until the onions are translucent, add brown sugar & fish sauce. Stir to combine. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the stock, coconut milk – stir to combine. Add the cauliflower and simmer for 4-6 hours over medium heat. Puree with a hand blender. Ladle into serving dishes and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime, cilantro and a few red chilies if you like it spicy!


Stuffed Slow Cooker Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup apple juice  
  • 2 small acorn squash, halved
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter  
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1⁄2 cups diced tart apples  
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped

Method:

Pour apple juice in bottom of crock-pot. Place squash, cut side up, in bottom of crock-pot. On top of each piece of squash, sprinkle with salt, followed by ½  T butter, ½  T brown sugar, and 1 T dried cranberries. Sprinkle apples in and around the squash. Juice lemon over the top of the apples. Cook the squash on LOW for 4-6 hours. When squash is fork-tender, place each piece on a plate and sprinkle with the almonds.

Pork Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground BC pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
  • ½  cup finely chopped onion
  • ½  cup Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha or your favourite hot sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp sesame oil   
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce
  • ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Method:

Place ground pork and garlic in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is no longer pink, about 5 - 6 minutes. Drain off any excess fat or liquid transfer to a slow cooker. Add bell pepper, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper and toss mixture. Cover and cook on low heat 2 - 3 hours. 

Stir in water chestnuts, green onions, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, cook until heated through 3 - 5 minutes. Season with additional salt & pepper as desired Garnish with peanuts & fresh cilantro. Separate iceberg lettuce leaves and serve with filling.