Choosing & Using a Slow Cooker

Choosing & Using a Slow Cooker
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slow cookerSlow cookers, commonly referred to as a Crock-Pot, are great time savers for anyone who enjoys a hot meal at the end of a busy day. Simply assemble your meal in the morning, or the night before, and forget about it until dinner time. The fabulous aroma of home cooking fills your house and all you have to put together is a side dish, salad, or maybe some warm bread.

Choosing & Purchasing

When you head out to the store to get your slow cooker, be sure to get one that is large enough to suit your needs. If you live alone or there are only two or three people to feed, the small to medium size will work just fine. If it's family meais you'll be preparing, you will want to purchase a larger slow cooker. Be sure to choose one with a removable ceramic crock. Not only are they easier to clean, but you can assemble your meals the night before, and then simply pop it into the cooker and turn it on. While you can find slow cookers at thrift stores and garage sales, you can also purchase one quite inexpensively at any discount department store.

Using Your Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are wonderful for things you would normally prepare on the stove top, such as soups and stews, sauces, chili, etc. By preparing these types of things in the slow cooker, you free up your time to make other dishes or sides.

Always put vegetables in first. Vegetables take longer to cook than meat does, so for layering purposes, start with vegetables, then meat, and finally seasonings and small amounts of liquid. Pastas or instant rice should only be added during the last 30 minutes of cooking time, or as your recipe directs.

Avoid "peeking". While the urge to sneek a peek at the meal that is tempting your tastebuds, you will add 20-30 minutes to your cooking time. Lifting the lid during cooking allows valuable heat to escape.

Slow cookers are designed to do just what you would expect, cook slowly. Most recipes will call for cooking times of 8-10 hours on the low setting. If you simply do not have that much time, you can adjust your cooking time down by 2-3 hours and increase the temperature to high.
 

About The Author

Amanda Formaro is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children. She loves to bake, cook and make crafts. She is the craft expert for FamilyCorner.com and Kaboose.com. You can see her crafty creations on Crafts by Amanda and her delicious recipes on Amanda's Cookin'
 
 

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