These slow cooker recipes are for you. Yes, you who recently invested in your first slow cooker and haven't the faintest clue how to use it. They're handy for some of you who have cracked it out once or twice, but used the same fail-proof slow cooker chicken recipes each time, and occasionally they're for you who uses your slow cooker every day and even gave it a name. But mainly they're for you, who bought yours a while ago and just let it sit there, dutifully keeping a tiny patch of the countertop dust-free. You know who you are.

The invention of the slow cooker (not to be confused with the pressure-cooker) has changed the gastronomic landscape of many cultures and cuisines across the world. It has freed families that previously took all day to prepare their stews, tagines and curries to attend to other work and responsibilities, and given busy individuals more diverse and interesting dinner options to come home to at the end of a long day.

Slow cooker recipes are wonderful to use for those tougher and cheaper cuts of meat. The low cooking temperatures in the ceramic bowl, maintained over several hours means that all the fibrous muscle and connecting tissue is melted until the meat is tender and falling-apart.

The controlled moist-heat cooking process involved in slow cooker recipes can be applied to any number of dishes including pot roasts, casseroles, soups and ragouts. Some searing pans are also slow cooker-compatible these days, so all the tasty juices from sautéing are kept in, while your meal simmers away unattended. Just perfect for the 'can't be bothered cooking' you.

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