So you’ve got your brand new crockpot and are rarin’ to go get cooking. There’s literally a whole world of recipes out there you can start trying, and creating a variety of interesting crock pot meals has never been easier. There are some cooking tips that can save you a lot of headaches later on, however. While using your slowcooker is a breeze compared to most appliances, keep in mind these tips before you dive in.
- Browning any meat on the stovetop before adding it to your slow cooker can give you a better taste, as well as cutting down on the fat. Draining the meat and patting dry before adding it to the crockpot can help make the dish healthier.
- To ensure evenly cooked vegetables (especially dense ones like potatoes and carrots), cut them no larger than in 1-inch thick, and make sure they’re placed on the bottom so they get even heat.
- If the recipe calls for any milk or dairy product, don’t add it until the last hour of cooking. They break down over the long cooking period.
- Add any noodles to a recipe during the last hour as well. They also don’t hold up well over long periods of time, and will break down.
- Don’t ever lift the lid to slow cooker during the cooking process! Every time you take it off, you lose heat equivalent to 30 minutes of cooking time.
- Don’t ever subject your crock to sudden changes in temperature, like pouring cold water inside right after it’s done cooking. This can cause cracks in the ceramic dish.
- Herbs can be tricky sometimes. Any whole herbs, such as cloves, work best over long periods, so adding them at the beginning of the cycle is a must. Ground or dried herbs can lose their flavor quickly over the long haul, so these must be added close to the end of the cycle for best results.
There’s no better way to save time than and create great meals by using a slow cooker. If you keep in mind these simple tips you’ll be ensured a great dinner for you and your family!