Nine surefire recipes your family will love and that will fit your budget to a tee.

Slow-Cooked for Comfort
Harvest Lamb Stew over mashed potatoes is a hearty, seasonal supper. This recipe also works using beef stew meat. You can make it up to 24 hours in advance and freeze any leftovers in zip-top plastic freezer bags for up to two months. Recipe:Harvest Lamb Stew
| Credit: Beth Dreiling Hontzas / Styling: Rose Nguyen / Food Styling: Angela Sellers


Slow cookers are countertop appliances with plenty of bonuses. Their moist, gentle cooking helps turn money-saving value meat cuts into fork-tender bites of flavor, leaving you with plenty of hands-off time too.

You don't have to head outside to cook mouthwatering ribs. Sweet-and-Spicy Baby Back Ribs will satisfy your cravings. Slow-simmered Harvest Lamb Stew and Braised Oxtails and Vegetables finish with tender meat and rich gravies that are just right for sopping. Turkey Breast and Herb-Cornbread Stuffing, along with an irresistible Southern side such as Candied Yams, makes an easy Sunday dinner. Don't forget dessert: Warm, gooey Rocky Road Chocolate Cake is studded with toasted pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate morsels. It's almost a s'more in a bowl.

The creativity of Test Kitchens professional Angela Sellers inspired these recipes that turn simple ingredients into full-flavored dishes. They'll surely bring the family back for seconds.

Slow cookers are great for cooking value meats that need slow, moist cooking over several hours. This method helps tenderize as it develops robust flavor and frees up the family chef for other activities. The countertop cooker saves energy because it doesn't heat up the entire kitchen or need both the oven and range-top burners. We used the following slow cookers for testing the recipes in this article.

Find the Right Slow Cooker

The Rival Smart-Pot Crock-Pot
The Rival Smart-Pot Crock-Pot ($30 to $60) was the first programmable slow cooker. Just push the touch pad to scroll through the timed cooking options. It can be set for four- or six-hour cook times, and the unit automatically cooks on HIGH temperature. To cook on LOW, set the cook time for eight or ten hours. At the end of the cook time the setting switches to WARM. Available in 5- and 6-quart sizes with and without a built-in timer. Order a Rival Smart-Pot from

The Rival Versaware Pro Crock-Pot
The Rival Versaware Pro Crock-Pot ($60-$80) is programmable with a built-in timer. Settings include LOW and HIGH; at the end of cook time, the temperature automatically shifts to WARM. The 6-quart oval stoneware liner can be used directly on the stovetop to brown meat or sauté vegetables. The liner can be returned to the slow-cooker base and programmed to cook. Once the food is done, the liner can also be used as a serving dish. Order a Rival Versaware Pro Crock-Pot from

The Hamilton Beach 3-in-One Slow Cooker Multi-Color
The Hamilton Beach 3-in-One Slow Cooker Multi-Color ($50-$75)comes with stoneware liner bowls that are 2-, 4-, and 6-quart sizes. The bowls go from the slow-cooker base to the table. They are color coordinated and nest for easy storage. The settings are LOW, HIGH, and WARM. This model does not have a timer. Order a Hamilton Beach 3-in-One Slow Cooker Multi-Color from