Quick Prep, Slow Cooker

Original Image by Christopher Paquette via Flickr
Original Image by Christopher Paquette via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

I’ve only had a week of classes so far, but I can tell once I get into the swing of things, the days will be hectic.  My roommate recently brought from home her crock pot and I’m excited to use it for the upcoming months. I know

With a crock pot, you can make more than just soup.  In actuality, it can be used to make full blown entrees.  If time isn’t on your side and you want to have several meals for the week, using a crock pot can lessen the burden of getting food on the table.

Tips to maximize use of your slow cooker:

  •  If possible, keep slow cooker 6 inches from walls or other appliances to limit obstruction of heat
  •  For ideal cooking, the slow cooker should be between 1/2-3/4  filled
  • Consider how much time you want to allot to cooking.  Lower settings tend to take 8-10 hours for completion while a higher setting will take 4-6 hours.
  • To ensure prevention of overcooking, use the “warming” setting of slow cooker if applicable, or make sure you’re available to turn the slow cooker off after the allotted hours
  • So you’re not scrambling to get all the chopped ingredients into the slow cooker before heading to work, do all necessary prep work the night beforehand
  • Slow cooker’s aren’t as “picky” about the type of meat–using less expensive meats, such as pork or lamb shoulder will still taste great, without breaking the bank.  Increasing the amount of vegetables in the slow cooker be more nutritious as well.
  • To prevent oil accumulation in the slow cooker, trim the fat from meat before putting in the slow cooker.
  • Less is more when it comes to adding liquid.  You don’t have to worry about thickening the food or making sure there’s enough “sauce” if you’re adapting from a standard recipe.  If you’re adapting a recipe for a slow cooker, use a 1/3 of the suggested amount of liquid for slow cooker as the liquid won’t evaporate.
  • Root vegetables can take longer than meat and other vegetables, it’s suggested to place near heat source, which is at the bottom of the pot

Recommended converted cooking times:

  • 15 – 30 mins, cook it for 1 – 2 hours on High or 4 – 6 hours on Low
  • 30 mins – 1 hour, cook it for 2 – 3 hours on High, 5 – 7 hours on Low
  • 1 – 2 hours, cook it for 3 – 4 hours on High, 6 – 8 hours on Low
  • 2 – 4 hours, cook it for 4 – 6 hours on High and 8 – 12 hours on Low

Do you currently have a crock pot in storage? Why not pull it out and throw some ingredients in the morning and come home to a deliciously made meal for dinner?

I know using the crock pot will make my life easier, while not having to rely on Ramen on a daily basis.  There’s tons of recipes on line that can provide guidance on how to prepare a great meal. This weekend I’m going to put pork chops in the slow cooker and have it all ready to eat for the upcoming week.

Source: http://www.thekitchn.com/back-to-basics-how-to-use-a-sl-114636


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