Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crock Pot Tips

Here are some crock pot tips. While I am far from an expert, I do use it at least once a week.

1. Crock pots are generally safe to leave on while you are not at home. Just be sure to keep it away from any hand towels or paper towels and make sure the cord is not touching the unit or is not twisted in a way that it would relax and touch the unit while you are gone.

2. If you will be gone all day, cook something like red meat or a whole chicken, so that it will not be overdone with the longer cooking time. Also, cook the dish on low.

3. Be sure to read through the recipe. Sometimes a recipe calls for adding sour cream or someother ingredient near the end of the cooking time. Fine if you will be home, but a bummer if you planned on walking in the door and eating.

4. To have a side dish ready, use a programmable rice cooker or make rice or pasta ahead, store it in the refrigerator and reheat when you arrive home. You could even stir the precooked rice into the slow cooker and it would warm up quickly.

5. A crock pot will not operate correctly if there is not at least 1/2 cup of liquid in it. You can use water or broth, wine, etc. Usually, the meat juices will accumulate to add to the liquid, be sometimes it gets absorbed, so either keep an eye on it or start with 1 cup of liquid to be safe.

6. Pay attention to the crock pot size called for in the recipe. A 3 1/2 qt. crock pot is the standard round size, a 5 qt cooker is the larger, oval size.

7. I prefer crock pots that have the ceramic inserts. I feel that these heat more evenly then the kind with the heating element only in the bottom of the unit. I have never had a problem with things burning in this style of crock pot.

8. The lid and the bowl of the ceramic crock pots are dishwasher safe. The metal base is not. Clean the base with a soapy cloth - do not submerge it.

9. Try not to open the lid often. Crock pots heat slowly and lose a lot of heat quickly, so if you are opening the lid a lot, you may not be cooking at the right temperature and your dish may not be done on time. Crock pots are low maintenance - enjoy it and go do something else!

10. I found this great blog: A Year of Crockpotting, it has some great looking recipes and the author is a lot of fun. I just found it, so I have not made anything yet, but a lot of the recipes look very yummy! You can also find over 1800 recipes here and here. Now, if you cannot find something that works for you out of 1800 recipes, you are just not trying!

found this on michelles blog Leaving excuses

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