Because this cooking essential deserves a prime spot in your kitchen.

Summer has officially given way to fall. The change in weather and the color of leaves could only mean three things for Southerners: SEC football, chilly autumn evenings spent on the porch, and, of course, breaking out the slow cooker to make warm, comforting meals. We're already well aware of how much you love cooking things low and slow using this handy appliance. But, did you know that the slow cooker can make your life even easier depending on where it's located and positioned? When it comes down to kitchen clean-up, the best place to set it and forget it is on the stovetop.

For the cook who is busy all day but wants a home-cooked meal at night, placing your slow cooker on the stovetop is the safest and cleanest area. How many times have you left your slow cooker unattended all day, only to come home and find your countertops cracked or stained due to heat and condensation? According to the Kitchn, when you're not using your stovetop during the day, the burners on the stove are great for absorbing heat, moisture, splatters, and drips that may come from your slow cooker or crock pot.

Obviously during the busy holiday season when you're preparing a big feast for family and friends, you won't have much room on the stovetop to set your slow cooker. No worries! The next best option is to place your slow cooker on a baking sheet, a silicone baking mat, or a large wooden cutting board. All of these heat-resistant surfaces can also withstand moisture to prevent damage to your countertops.

Now that you know where you should position your slow cooker in the kitchen, here are some delicious recipes to get you started this fall.