From dinner to dessert, slow cookers can be a cook’s best friend

Top this dark chocolate cake with peanut butter, caramel, ice cream, whipped cream or just take it in with a big glass of milk. Is it faster to bake a brownie cake in the oven? Yes. But using the slow cooker is an open invitation to eat it while it’s still warm. No cooling on a baking rack here. Serve with vanilla ice cream and top with melted peanut butter (or caramel) for dessert nirvana. Adapted by Nicole Hvidsten from the Food Network. (Nicole Hvidsten/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

White chicken chili as a southwestern flair. The addition of chiles and corn give this warming chili a little Tex-Mex flair. Using masa to thicken the chili also is a fun touch that’s in line with the flavor profile. Adjust to your spice tolerance and your preferred bean-to-meat ratio. Adapted from the Food Network by Nicole Hvidsten. (Nicole Hvidsten/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

As we rush through another week of preparing meals, call on the trusted appliance to lend a hand.