Can you crock pot?
Can you crock pot?
This is the time of year where nothing cuts the chill like a hot meal. But let’s face it, the absence of warmth in these winter months does not mean an absence of business!
And after a long, cold day, the last thing you want to do is wait for a warm dinner to cook!
Set it the night before or morning of and be greeted after work with the delicious smell of a steaming hot meal!
To help you reach your crock-potting-potential, below you’ll find the top ten tips for slow cooking culinary masterpieces. Bon Appetit!
- Time (& temperature) is money: A general rule of thumb is that low settings will take twice the amount of time as high heat settings; adjust accordingly based on your schedule and desired eat time
As a general guide:
15-30 minutes in oven/stovetop = 1.5=-2.5 hours on high = 4-6 hours on low
35-45 minutes in oven/stovetop = 3-4 hours on high = 6-8 hours on low
50 min. = 3 hours in oven/stovetop = 4-6 hours on high = 8-10 hours on low
- Precious space: Don’t overcrowd the crock! Around one-half to two-thirds full is the most you’ll want to go with a crock pot. More than that and even cooking won’t happen.
- Frozen is a no-go: Let frozen meats and vegetables fully thaw before adding them to the crock pot. Why? The longer these foods sit in the danger zone (40*F – 140*F) the higher risk for food-borne illnesses.
- Forget the fat: Trim excess fat from pieces of meat or remove skin from birds to lower fat content of meal and prevent a greasy end product from forming.
- Equality for all: Try to make all pieces of food the same size – this helps ensure even cooking.
- Bottom to top: Place the heartier, root vegetables (think potatoes and carrots) at the bottom of the crock pot and other vegetables and meat on top.
- Shut it: Keep your crock pot lid closed to help keep heat inside and keep the cooking process on track.
- Don’t dairy too soon: Wait to add the dairy product (any yogurt, sour cream, etc.) until the last 15-20 minutes of cooking (any longer and they’ll break down, resulting in an off flavor and texture). *cream based soup recipes specifically made for the crock pot should be fine, just follow recipe directions
– Same goes for pasta, cooked beans and small vegetables – these all need only 10-20 minutes to cook.
- Divide and conquer: Get more out of your crock pot by doubling up and making two things at once! Just make a divider with cardboard and foil and cover with a plastic crock pot liner to give your cooker 2 sections.
- Think outside the crock: Crock pots are also great for making drinks (think hot apple cider), snacks (like chex mix or granola), or keeping sauces/toppings warm (just place in glass jar and stick inside a water-filled crock pot.