I believe that everyone is not very strange to the slow cooker; their biggest advantage is that they can work all day without the need for people to look after.
The slow cooker is not only easy to use but also a good helper for home cooking. But do you know how to use the slow cooker correctly?
Let’s take a look at it!
Many people think that slow cookers are just for making soups and stews. Yes, slow cookers are great for this, but they are more versatile than this.
Think outside the usual comfort soups and stews and look forward to your slow cookers, such as grilled, casserole, and patties.
You can even make tarts in a slow cooker: just heat the water in the slow cooker, then pour the egg into a safe baking pan and place the cutlery in hot water.
One of the most common slow cooker errors is that each formula is filled with liquid, but unless you cook or stew, you don’t need extra liquid.
If you add liquid to each recipe, you may eat too much of the remaining food once the cooking time is over. Your evaporation in the slow cooker is much lower than in an oven or stove.
As a result, any water in your ingredients, vegetables, meat, poultry, etc. will infiltrate.
Start with less fluid than usual, and consider your ingredients to provide all the water you need.
Adding too much liquid is not the end of the world, but it will change the texture and flavor of the dish.
In general, it is best to add dairy products such as milk and cheese at the end of the cooking time. If you stew them for a few hours, they will condense or rupture.
The slow cooker takes time to heat up, and each time the lid is closed, heat is released, which increases cooking time.
Unless you need to add other side dishes to the slow cooker, it is not easy to open the lid of the slow cooker.
Many slow cooker recipes such as grilled meat and soup may take 8 hours or more to cook.
However, thicker recipes (such as casseroles or patties) without large amounts of liquid may burn at the edges after a few hours. Save these dishes, so you don’t go back to the charred dinner.
In general, peeled chicken breast is a versatile cooking meat. However, this cutting is so lean and quick to cook. There is no good reason to use your slow cooker to do this.
Cooking chicken breast in a slow cooker will only dry the meat, which will change the taste and texture of the dish.
Save the chicken leg and thigh a slow cooker and cook the chicken breast in another way. Few things can destroy vegetables like mushy and tasteless.
To avoid this, cut the rich vegetables such as onions and carrots into larger pieces than usual, and add delicate vegetables such as spinach at the end of the cooking time.
If you are trying to cook ham or grilled meat, it is not suitable for slow cookers, cut a piece, then put it in the refrigerator and cook it.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Slow Cooker
Though slow cookers are generally very easy to use, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your new Slow Cooker.
The slow cooker is ideal for cooking things that require slow cooking, such as hearty stews, braised meats such as pot roast, and chili. One thing to remember is to add the ingredients to the slow cooker before heating it.
If you add cold ingredients to a hot slow cooker, you may crack the slow cooker’s bowl. Add cold ingredients to the slow cooker while it is still cold, and then heat it slowly. If you are cooking your Slow Cooker to make something like a stew or a chili, where you’d like to cook it for a long time, make sure to cook on the low setting.
This is especially true if you plan on leaving the house. Cooking on the low setting will allow the flavors to mingle gradually and will keep the stew from burning – and it will also be less of a fire hazard if you are not home. You may not have known that Slow Cookers can also be used to roast meats like chicken.
Just cover the bottom of the slow cooker in aluminum foil, add the meat (pre-marinated to your taste), and cook slowly for several hours. If you are using ground meat in your slow cooker, in something like chili, it is a heart-healthy idea to brown the meat on the stovetop first before adding it to the slow cooker.
This reduces the amount of fat in the meat and also improves its taste. And if you’re cooking with heavy or root vegetables, like potatoes or carrots, you should cut them into small chunks and put them towards the bottom of the slow cooker, so they have access to more heat. These vegetables take longer to cook than most foods, so you want them to cook easily.
And even though slow cooker is generally used for slow cooking, some ingredients shouldn’t be added until the end of the cooking process. Foods like pasta, noodles, milk, cream, and ground or dried herbs can burn or break down if cooked for too long and can ruin the taste or composition of your stew or chili.
So if you are using these things, it is fine, but just add them in the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking. One last thing – even though it is tempting, try not to open the lid of the slow cooker while you are cooking!
The whole point of using a slow cooker is to seal in the heat, and when you open the lid, you lose heat – enough to need an extra 20 minutes of cooking every time you open that lid! So keep the lid closed – you will be able to enjoy the aroma of your cooking anyway!
Hopefully, these tips will help you get the most out of your Slow Cooker. Enjoy your slow cooker and the many versatile things you can use it for in the kitchen!
Many of the favorite recipes can be adapted easily to the crockpot, which is also known as a slow cooker. However, there are simple steps or rules to follow to make cooking successful.
Listed below is a list of ingredients along with DO and DONT‘s. Besides, you also find the basic temperature and time guide for converting these flavorful recipes. Keep in mind these tips to make cooking with the slow cooker dishes a lot exciting and flavorful.
It is one natural characteristic of liquid to decrease in amount while in slow cooking. Dishes that contain pasta or rice, a cup of liquid is usually enough.
Rice and Pasta
Recipes that require cooked pasta to be added later should cook the pasta until slightly tender before adding into the pot. Then, add an extra quarter of liquid per quarter uncooked cup of rice.
Particularly, use long grain converted rice to achieve the best results. Moreover, for long-cooking recipes, add cooked rice shortly before serving.
For best results, soak the beans overnight before cooking it in the crockpot. Then, before adding any acidic ingredients or sugar; perhaps, the beans should be softened either using the slow cooker or boil it using the stove.
Recipes that include salt, tomatoes, or other acidic ingredients, it is important the beans should be tender before the cooking process begins.
Herbs and Spices
Be careful when cooking spices and ground herbs as they tend to dissipate over a long period of cooking time. Therefore, it is best to add them to the pot just before the cooking time ends
Organic whole herbs released its flavors over time. Hence they are a good choice for cooking in the crockpot.
Of course, as always with cooking, you should adjust your seasoning according to your taste before serving it.
Milk and Cheese
Keep in mind when the recipe you cook includes sour cream, milk, and cream as these breakdowns over a long period of cooking time. Hence, add them to your cooking recipe during the last minute of cooking.
Condensed cream soups are excellent substitutes for milk and can be cooked for a longer time. On the other hand, low-fat cream soups can be used in any recipe as a substitute.
Also, keep in mind cheese generally does not hold up over a long period of cooking time. Hence, add them to the recipe once the cooking time is at its near.
Simply add water to cover only the ingredients in the soup. However, you can add more after cooking whenever necessary. Furthermore, for milk-based soups, add 1 to 2 cups of water during the last minute of cooking. Stir it while adding and use evaporated milk for this purpose.
Vegetables that are dense such as carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables that are root-based, should be cut no larger than 1 inch thick. Place them first so that they are at the bottom of the crockpot as these vegetables take longer to cook.
7 Safety Tips for the Slow Cooker
As easy as they are to use, slow cookers can pose a health risk if the food is not cooked properly.
The federal Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends the following.
- Keep perishable foods refrigerated until prep time. If you cut meat and vegetables in advance, store them separately in the refrigerator.
- Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker.
- Match the amount of food to the capacity of the slow cooker; check the owner’s manual for suggested amounts. Make sure you add the right amount of liquid.
- Never place a cold stoneware insert into a preheated slow cooker. Let them heat up together.
- If the power goes out during the process and you are not at home, discard the food even if it looks done. If you are at home, finish cooking it by some other means such as on a gas grill or at a neighbor’s.
- Don’t put a hot stoneware pot into the refrigerator; a sudden change in temperature can lead to cracks. It’s better to transfer any leftovers into a shallow container and store that in the refrigerator.
- Don’t reheat leftovers in a slow cooker. Instead, use a conventional stove or microwave and heat to an internal temperature of 165° F. After that, you can return the food to the slow cooker for transport or serving.