Foodie Friday: 10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Slow Cooker

Although the thermometer doesn’t always show it in September, there’s a lift to the air and a tint to the trees that says here in the South it’s turning to fall.

That means slow cooker season is here. (Hooray!)

Here are 10 tips to using your slow cooker (also called a crock pot) to dish up nutritious, frugal and delicious dinners on those busy, chilly evenings ahead:

1. Plan ahead, prep ahead. Chop ingredients the night before and store them in containers in the refrigerator (not in the crockpot bowl itself). In the morning, throwing dinner together and setting the slow cooker is a snap.

2. Fill the slow cooker no more than three-quarters full (two-thirds full is better), so that all the food will reach a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

3. Don’t use frozen foods - all foods should be defrosted before being added to the slow cooker. This is another way to help reach that 140-degrees F temperature and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria

4. Keep the lid on. Because slow cooker lids seal tightly, if you’re converting a regular recipe into a slow cooker one, use about one-third less liquid than the recipe calls for.

5. The liquid only needs to cover the meats/vegetables in the slow cooker.

6. Layer foods according to cooking time. For instance, if you have root vegetables, place them on the bottom of the crock, closer to the heat source, and place the faster-cooking meat and other vegetables on top.

7. Add flavor by browning the meat and vegetables beforehand. Deglaze the skillet with a little liquid and add all those bits to the slow cooker, too.

8. Some ingredients, like tomatoes, mushrooms, some spices, zucchini, pasta, rice, fresh herbs and dairy products are best if added in the last half hour to hour or cooking time.

9. Cut up whole chickens or large roasts into smaller pieces so they’ll cook more evenly in a slow cooker.

10. Trim all visible fat off of meats and don’t use added oil when cooking in a slow cooker. It’s not needed with the longer cooking times, and leaving the fat on the meat will often make the whole dish taste fatty.

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes

Visit us on Pinterest for healthy slow cooker recipes, including Crockpot Mexican Chicken, Italian Wedding Soup, Pulled Pork Tacos, Chai Spiced Sweet Potato Bisque and more!


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