wemo-crockpot.JPGIf I was forced to choose my favourite small kitchen appliance, I’d be really hard pressed to come up with just one. All of the appliances I have are a favourite for a reason: my Keurig because it makes great coffee, my stand mixer because it makes baking a breeze, and my slow cooker because it puts dinner on the table on nights when I don’t have time.

Although I love it and rely on it several times a week, I know my older slow cooker has definite limitations. Sometimes it overcooks the food, and although that usually only happens when I’m away from the house for several hours, it’s a pain when it does. No one likes a dry roast, and I know if I could just turn the slow cooker down or off at a certain time, I’d avoid overcooking altogether.

That’s why, when I first heard about the Belkin WeMo Smart Wifi Slow Cooker, I knew this Smart Home appliance would be something I’d like. With built-in Wifi, I could turn the slow cooker on and off remotely, and I can’t begin to describe how excited I was about that. No more overcooking!

Matt did a great review of the Belkin WeMo Slow Cooker, and when I was asked if I would want to try out a recipe or two in it, I jumped at the chance.

I’m a fan of all things Smart Home, and I have to admit I get quite a quick out of having this Wifi-enabled slow cooker in my kitchen. To use it I just loaded the app and connected to my Wifi, then I spent a few minutes just turning it off and on, playing with the heat modes, and setting the timer. It was seamless, and although I agree with Matt that it would be nice if you could micro-adjust temperature on the slow cooker, I found the prospect of not having to be home to turn it on the most appealing.

I don’t normally use a slow cooker on weekends, and that’s mostly because we’re out all day. When you’re out all day, you tend to get home late and dinner isn’t on the table when you’d like it to be, so we tend to eat out Saturday nights.

But lately we’ve all been craving lasagna, and I have yet to find a restaurant that makes a lasagna that’s as good as my favourite slow cooker lasagna. The only problem? I knew I wasn’t going to be home all day, so if I turned on my own slow cooker before I left, the lasagna would be overdone long before I got home.

That’s where the WeMo slow cooker comes in. With it on my counter, I knew I didn’t have to worry about being out all day. I just set everything up in the slow cooker before I left and reminded myself to turn it on 4 hours before I came home. It was that simple.

Before I fill you in on how the WeMo worked out, let me share my never-fail slow cooker lasagna recipe from

tasteofhome.com.

 wemo.JPGSlow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce

1 cup water

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 package (8 ounces) no-cook lasagna noodles

4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) 4% cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

 

Directions

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt and oregano.

Spread a fourth of the meat sauce in an ungreased 5-qt. slow cooker. Arrange a third of the noodles over sauce (break the noodles to fit if necessary). Combine cheeses; spoon a third of the mixture over noodles. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

 

Once I set everything up in my slow cooker, I left the house for the day. I knew we’d be home at 8pm, so around 4 pm I opened the WeMo app and tapped for low heat to give it four hours to cook. ½ before we were to arrive home, I tapped for high heat to really melt the cheese. When we walked in at 8 pm, everything was ready to go.

IMG_2006.JPGIt was amazing. The cheese was melted perfectly, the noodles were not crispy around the outer edges, and all I had to do was grab a few plates and dinner was served.

The only tweak I made to my recipe this week was the fresh lasagna noodles I made with the Philips Avance Pasta Maker. I’ll be discussing that in more detail on next week’s Shelly’s Friday Favourites, but be sure to lookout for the review.

Slow cooker lasagna is the perfect dish to try out the WeMo Slow Cooker, and now that it was a success, I can imagine trying out stews, soups, and overnight oatmeal. With Wifi-enabled controls, I can set anything to cook or stop cooking wherever I am.

The Belkin WeMo Slow Cooker is coming to Bestbuy.ca this spring. I know I’m going to be picking up this Smart Home small appliance as soon as they hit the shelves. While we wait, take a look at some of my other favourite kitchen appliances.

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The best lasagna starts with fresh pasta. Try making your own with a pasta maker.

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Top your slow cooker lasagna with freshly grated cheese

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Serve up dinner in style with cooking utensil sets