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When you’re an empty-nester like me who delights in those rare times when the kids finally come home, you like to make those moments an Event with a capital “E.” My son is a mama’s boy, so we have a dinner party every time he comes home. This trip was his first since his wedding (to a lovely girl, I’ll share wedding photos with anyone who’s interested), so we were expecting a larger crowd than usual.
My dinner parties would be nothing without my trusty slow cooker (because you know I’m the one cooking! I don’t trust anyone else in the kitchen for these big events). I’ve had my slow cooker for 35 years, and it’s never done me wrong. So imagine my surprise when I trotted it out a couple of weeks ago and it simply wouldn’t heat up! No matter how much I jiggled it or unplugged it and plugged it back in again, my formerly steadfast companion appeared to have bitten the dust…
I had to quickly reassess. Unfortunately, they don’t make that kind of slow cooker anymore. But fortunately, after a little research, I came across the GreenPan Elite 6-Quart Slow Cooker. At 6 quarts, it was the right size, and like my old reliable, it was a sturdy and attractive stainless steel color. So I decided to give it a try, and went ahead and clicked “order.”
And I’ll tell you right now, this gadget was a true hero — and it’s now a staple in my kitchen!
What really sold me on this particular slow cooker? It was definitely higher-tech than what I was used to, but it also seemed pretty intuitive. Here are some of the main features to note:
Cooks up to a whopping 24 hours
Reaches a maximum temperature of 400 degrees
Diamond-infused ceramic nonstick coating
In-pan browning capabilities- no need to brown meat in a pan and then transfer!
Silicone side handles for moving the pot with ease
4 simple settings: Slow Cook, Roast, Brown/Sauté, and Steam
Comes with a steamer for cooking up dumplings or even some crawfish
Tempered glass lid so you can keep an eye on what you’re cooking
Little did I know, the inside pot of my (now defunct) old slow cooker was actually treated with a chemical coating to keep it nonstick. When I ordered the GreenPan Elite Slow Cooker, I learned that chemical nonstick coatings contain forever chemicals like PFAS, meaning that they don’t break down in the environment and they stay in our bodies for years. I couldn’t stand the thought of feeding my new daughter-in-law chemicals at the dinner table! I have to consider my future grandbabies, after all.
GreenPan to the rescue! My new Elite Slow Cooker uses a diamond-infused ceramic nonstick, the futuristically named “Thermolon Volt” that is specifically designed to be used in electric appliances. A little different than the nonstick used on the classic GreenPan pans, but with the same functionality. When I’m browning beef in my Elite Slow Cooker before I set it to a full day simmer, I never have to worry about scraping the bottom to make sure I get every last bit in the broth. It comes up easily, the perfect glide.
Easy To Clean
Because it’s nonstick, cleanup is easier than I ever could have imagined. Not only does food not stick to the bottom, making it simple to wipe out the pot and then rinse, but the pot is also dishwasher safe, meaning all I need to do is get the food bits out and then toss it in the dishwasher.
My son was on dish duty, and he definitely appreciated having that option!
So Many Different Ways To Cook
My formerly favorite slow cooker had two settings: high, and low. The Elite Slow Cooker has Slow Cook, Brown/Sauté, Steam, and then a temperature setting that you can set to roast dishes as high as 400 degrees.
I’ve used all the settings, and they all work beautifully. I’ve slow cooked to make my favorite buffalo cauliflower chili, sautéed veggies before they go in a soup, and steamed pork dumplings. (Putting the dumplings together was actually the hardest part – crimping together dumpling wrappers isn’t easy!)
I can make just about anything with my Elite Slow Cooker; it’s an absolute workhorse.
And it looks good, too! Unlike the awkward circular shape of your standard slow cooker, the GreenPan Elite is an attractive oblong rectangle that looks right at home on my countertop.
The stainless steel is also remarkably reflective and looks gorgeous in my kitchen.
It does come in several lovely colors (I’m just a die hard for stainless steel) – Black, Oxford Blue, and the sophisticated Cloud Cream.
Don’t believe me that this slow cooker is worthy of your special events? Take a look at some of these stunning reviews…
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My Birthday Menu
I couldn’t write this article without giving you a roundup of what exactly I made in my Elite Slow Cooker for my birthday. Warning: mouthwatering recipes ahead!
Of course, no family get together would be complete without mac and cheese.
Am I Glad My Old Slow Cooker Bought The Farm?
In a word, yes! I never knew that I may have been feeding my family toxic chemicals all these years, but GreenPan opened my eyes. The updated features of the Elite Slow Cooker also make cooking so much easier. The dishwasher-safe lid and pot are a necessity. The silicone side handles on the pot are also a total lifesaver – no more burning my fingertips when I’m pouring out a simmering hot pot of butternut squash soup into serving dishes! And the ability to brown, sauté, roast, and even steam makes the Elite Slow Cooker so much more versatile than my old one.
I can’t wait to use my Elite Slow Cooker for many more birthdays – and all the regular meals in between!