In today’s fast-paced world, it’s ironic that a device called a slow cooker (also known as a crockpot) can actually help you save time! The slow cooker allows you to prepare the components of a meal before work or at some convenient time during the day. The cooking meal can then be left unattended while you get on with other things. The meal is planned so that it is ready at your regular dinner time.
So you’re not stuck doing labor intensive tasks over a stove, right at the end of the day when you are most tired and hungry!
The slow cooker is a very simple electric appliance: a tightly covered pot that cooks food at a low temperature for a long period of time. Many people think of one-pot recipes as being limited to stews or soups. The fact is just about anything can be cooked in a slow cooker! Meat entrees, soups, vegetarian, and even dessert!
Slow Cooker Tips
Get one with a removal pot. These can be lifted off the heating base and placed on the stove top. If you choose to, you can brown meats or sauté vegetables and there will be no extra dirty pans. You can also prepare the ingredients the night before, place the pot in the refrigerator and be ready to go the next morning.
Size – Slow cookers and crackpots come in different sizes ranging from 1.5 quarts to 7 quarts (1 quart = 4 cups). Choose one that is compatible with the size of your family.
Do a Test Run – Select a recipe and do a test run on a weekend when you’ll be around the house. This way, you can monitor the progress and note the amount of time your cooker needs. Most cookers have Low, Medium and High settings. Those settings will be at different temperatures, depending on the manufacturer. Even two different cookers from the same manufacturer might NOT require the same time for the same recipe.
Fill the slow cooker to 1/2 or 2/3 full only – If the cooker is too full, the food will not cook evenly.
Keep the lid on! – Every time you lift the lid, it can take up about 20 minutes to regain the lost heat, thus extending your cooking time.
Test for Doneness – Use a food thermometer to make sure that the meat and poultry have reached a safe internal temperature.
Visit slow-cooker.com for more info about slow cookers, including lots of recipes.
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