Cook Fast With Your Slow Cooker!
by Tony Buel
It may sound strange to hear, but this handy appliance called a Crock Pot (also known as a slow cooker) will actually save you time in the kitchen! The Crock Pot allows you to prepare all the ingredients that go into a meal before you actually start your busy day. This meal in the Crock Pot can then actually prepare itself unattended while you get on with other things.
You simply plan your slow cooked meal so that it is ready to eat at your normal dinner time. This way you won't have to go through the mad rush of getting a meal together at the end of the day - when you are most hungry and tired!
The Crock Pot is a fairly simple kitchen appliance: a covered pot that cooks your food at a low temperature for an extended length of time.
Many people think of Crock Pot recipes as being limited to soups and stews. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fact is, just about anything can be cooked in a slow cooker: Soups, stews, meat entrees, vegetarian meals, and even desserts!
Here are some basic Crock Pot cooking tips.
Get a Crock Pot with a removable pot. These can be lifted off the heating base and placed on the stove top. If you choose to, you can saute vegetables or brown meats and there will be no extra dirty pans. You can also prepare the ingredients in it the night before. Then simply place the pot in the refrigerator and you'll be ready to go the next morning.
When it comes to size, Crock Pots and slow cookers come in different sizes ranging from 1.5 quarts to 7 quarts. Choose one that is compatible with the size of your family.
During a weekend or some day you will be around the house anyway, pick a recipe and try it out. You can monitor the progress and take note of how much time your slow cooker will need. Then just duplicate the steps and you know your meal will be perfect on those days when you will leave it unattended to do all the cooking for you!
Most cookers have Low, Medium and High settings. These settings will be at different temperatures depending on the make and model. You may initally need to try a recipe out for this reason as well to take note of how long it takes.
Do not overfill the Crock Pot - 1/2 to 2/3 full is the most you should put into it. Anymore than that and the food will not cook evenly.
Keep the lid on and keep it on! Whenever you lift up the lid it can take about 20 minutes or so to regain the lost heat!
And above all, enjoy the delicious aroma wafting through your home!