I love my slow cooker. I really do. I know it's probably a bit granny-ish but I find it so convenient to chuck a load of stuff in and then when I come home from work there's dinner! That's pretty much how I use it, I don't do anything fancy, I rarely brown meat before I bung it in or anything technical like that.
Usually, I chop up some chicken or beef, a load of vegetables and then lob it all into the slow cooker with a tin of tomatoes and it cooks up a treat. Sometimes I add some herbs or spices. That's it really. I used to be concerned about how to use it, if I should follow a recipe or anything like that, but then I just started to use it and realised - it's so easy!
This week, I did a joint of beef in it. No cutting up of the meat, I literally just put it in. I chopped up some potatoes and onions and put them on the bottom, put a little water in and then balanced the beef on top and sprinkled it with paprika. When I got home from work, I sliced the beef and served it up with the potatoes, onions and the juice from the cooker - and it was gorgeous!
Even better, both Miss Chief and Master Chief gave it the seal of approval - and a toddler seal of approval is hard won.
Obviously you have to be a little bit prepared i.e. have the food ready in the morning to put in, but my new slow cooker (a Prolex) even has a setting where you can put frozen stuff in it and it cooks it on a high temperature and then switches to the actual slow cooking - genius!
My advice is - if you have a slow cooker, don't be frightened, just use it. You'll get better if the first time isn't fantastic, and you can always blend whatever you've cooked and make it into a soup. If you don't have a slow cooker - buy one!