Crock pots, which many home cooks have banished to the back of a storage closet, are the hip “new” kitchen appliance. With a host of new features—from programmable temperatures to digital timers—these kitchen workhorses are making a culinary comeback.

“Winter is right around the corner, and nothing says comfort like coming in your front door and smelling a delicious and nutritious dinner just a few moments away,” says Odette Smith Ransome, chef at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

“Crock pots, the wonderful invention of the late 1970s, make all that possible. They are a busy family’s lifeline. Many professional chefs are big fans of crock pots. Pretty much whatever grandma did can be done in a crock pot. Try some of her recipes and see for yourself.”

Treat yourself to a new cookbook that showcases hearty recipes for your organic kitchen: