More leisure time and a homemade meal? Save money on groceries, use less electricity, and enjoy better flavor? You bet! And with a slow cooker, you don’t even have to be there while your dinner cooks.
With the invention of the original Crock-Pot® in the 1970s, we’ve been able to layer ingredients in our slow cookers, leave the house for work or play, and come home hours later to an inviting, aroma-filled house and evening meal. Rival still manufactures the Crock-Pot®, but many other manufacturers are in the game with competitive models. The “crockpot” moniker has become an icon for any slow cooker.
It’s easy to adapt your favorite oven or stovetop recipes to slow cooker cooking:
If your dish normally cooks in 15 to 30 minutes: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours High or 4 to 6 hours on Low.
35 to 45 minutes: 2 to 3 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.
Up to 3 hours: 4 to 5 hours on High or more than 8 hours on Low.
Other tips for successful recipe conversion:
- To eliminate excess fat, remove skin from poultry and trim excess fat from meats before cooking. Pre-brown and drain meats before adding to the crockpot, especially ground meats.
- Brown chops and roasts to caramelize the outsides for richer flavor and an attractive appearance.
- Vegetables, especially root vegetables, cook more slowly than meats, so cut pieces uniformly and add them at the beginning.
- Most stews, soups, and other braised dishes require less liquid. If you end up with too much, pour it into a saucepan and reduce it until flavorful and thickened. If you need more liquid, it can be added at the end of the cooking time.
- Add dairy products close to the end of cooking.
- Uncooked rice requires standard liquid amounts. It cooks fast, so add it to the slow cooker during the last hour of cooking on High or 2 hours on Low. It is better to cook pasta separately and add it before serving.
- Most slow cooker liners are removable, allowing you to fill it up to a day before cooking. Remove the stone liner and assemble the casserole in it; cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
- Spices tend to lose their power during long, slow cooking; be ready to re-season towards the end.
Delicious Paula Deen Slow Cooker Recipes to Try: