Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chef Tip: Crockpot Do's and Dont's

Crock pot or, Slow Cooker, cooking has made a huge comeback in the last 10 years or so. An old favorite in the 70's to get dinner on the table with less effort, is now a favorite with more and more moms for the same reason! We are all just too busy to cook sometimes! And who needs the stress? Crock pots are so popular now, there are groups online dedicated to women who use them for every meal!
You can check out MY FAVE group on Cafe Mom here: http://www.cafemom.com/group/896/
and here: http://www.cafemom.com/group/9604/

So I wanted to share some simple tips to make your crock pot last long, and keep you CCing as long as possible! So here we go....

Do's and Dont's of Crock Pot Cooking:

Do spray the inside of the crock with a nonstick cooking spray before every recipe to prevent sticking and to make cleanup easier.
Don’t preheat an empty crock before adding food, unless specified in the directions.
Do cut root vegetables into small cubes no larger than 1-inch squares to ensure they cook in about the same amount of time as the meat.
Don’t use an extension cord—you’ll risk overturning the pot.
Do layer root vegetables on the bottom of the slow cooker beneath meat and poultry, as they cook more slowly.
Don’t place frozen foods directly into the slow cooker unless a recipe specifically calls for it, as it throws off the heating of the contents.
Do fill the insert with solid ingredients first. Place the insert in the base, and then slowly add liquid to avoid splashing and heavy lifting.
Don’t use the slow cooker insert in the microwave or on the stove top.
Do brown meat on the stove top before adding it to the slow cooker to add a deeper, richer flavor and color.
Don’t fill the cooker more than three-quarters full, as heated contents will expand, or less than half full, which will cause food to cook too rapidly.
Do check food for doneness at the time suggested in the recipe for a minimum amount of cooking.
Don’t add strongly flavored vegetables like broccoli until the end of the cooking cycle, so as not to flavor the entire pot.
Do add tender vegetables, pasta, seafood, dairy products and fresh herbs in the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking.
Don’t stir or turn the food unless a recipe specifies that you do so.
Do transfer leftovers to refrigerator or freezer storage containers within two hours after they finish cooking.
Don’t add seasonings at the beginning of the cooking cycle. The flavor of dried herbs and spices will concentrate and fresh herbs will break down and dissolve.
Do put fresh herb sprigs in a cheesecloth bag, then remove and discard the bag and the cooked, blackened herbs before serving.
Don’t wash the hot stoneware with cold water—it could crack the crock.
Do
precook ground meat and sausage to render out the fat before the meat is added to the slow cooker.
Don’t use abrasive cleansers or tools that might scratch the slow cooker’s surface.

2 comments:

ChuckleTushy said...

these are great tips thanks so much for sharing them. i just love the look of your blog.

Ragazza Bella Couture said...

Oh, thank you, and your more than welcome! I cook in my crock pot all the time! :)

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