Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Tips
Every diva should know about his/her slow cooker or crock pot and I've compiled a bunch of tips for you. But first, I should start off by explaining the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot:
Difference between a Slow Cooker and a Crock Pot
A Slow Cooker is made of ceramic, heats from the bottom and generally has more advanced temperature settings. A Crock Pot is made of metal, heats from the sides and generally has more basic temperature settings. It is a kind of slow cooker.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Tips:
- Some models run hotter than others and cook faster while others heat slowly and more gently. Most models are run best on low for a longer period of time
- Make sure your slow cooker is cleaned and lined before using. While not necessary, a foil collar and liner are much better.
- The purpose of a foil collar and liner is to 1. make the lid fit snugly while cooking 2. make for easy removal of food after it is cooked and 3. make for easy clean up after the meal.
- How to make a foil collar:
- make 5 layers of foil into 2 strips about 4 inches wide and long enough to line the lip of the slow cooker
- wrap around the lip of the slow cooker but leave loose enough that it will easily be removed after cooking
- How to make a foil liner:
- Line the slow cooker first with the foil collar.
- Take 2 large sheets of foil and cover the bottom and sides of the slow cooker, leaving extra foil hanging over edges
- Don't over cook the food. You will end up with mushy bland pasta and vegetables and dried out meat. Always follow the instructions.
- Slow cookers come in various sizes that range from extremely small to very big. They can be oval to accommodate roasts, poultry and other things or the original round shape.
- Use high fat content cheeses and butter to add richness to the dish...in small amounts though.
- Browning is also a way to add richness and flavor to the dish.
- Use pasta toasted with oil in the microwave to achieve the proper texture in the dish..toast for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds
- Do not leave protein out on the counter before putting in the slow cooker
- Do not use frozen protein in the slow cooker as it may not cook thoroughly and make you ill
- Wait until near the end to use fresh ingredients that cook quickly
- Leave the lid on while cooking. Do not open to stir or look at the dish
- Pre-cooking vegetables can make for less liquid in the dish and make it more cohesive
- Don't be afraid to spice it up, the more you can flavor the dish, the better it will turn out
- The slow cooker is excellent for making healthy, homemade dishes that are so easy to clean up