Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker

Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker

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by Phyllis Good
     
 


From the Fix-It and Forget-It slow-cooker experts, and the thousands of followers of the Fix-It and Forget-It.com blog and Facebook page, comes a book chock-full of tips for using your slow cooker.

From the Fix-It and Forget-It slow-cooker experts, and the thousands of followers of the Fix-It and Forget-It.com blog and Facebook page, comes a book chock-full of

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Overview


From the Fix-It and Forget-It slow-cooker experts, and the thousands of followers of the Fix-It and Forget-It.com blog and Facebook page, comes a book chock-full of tips for using your slow cooker.

From the Fix-It and Forget-It slow-cooker experts, and the thousands of followers of the Fix-It and Forget-It.com blog and Facebook page, comes a book chock-full of tips for using your slow cooker. This is the book to turn to, whatever your slow-cooker question or dilemma.

For example—

Do I really have to brown the meat before putting it into the slow cooker, even if the recipe tells me to do that?
Can I cook a dish in half the time on High if the recipe tells me to cook it on Low?
How can I convert a stove-top or oven recipe so it can be cooked in a slow cooker?
How do I keep chicken breasts from overcooking in a slow cooker?
I don't have a baking insert. How do I "bake" a cake without one in my slow cooker?
How can I get meat loaf or lasagna out of the slow cooker without breaking it and ruining its appearance?

The collection includes real-life tested tips, plus stories of slowcooker successes and disasters, unusual discoveries, and slow cookers' role in special occasions. A handy resource for new and experienced cooks, from those who love their slow cookers and have learned by doing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781561487745
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
09/15/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
908,181
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

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Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker


By Phyllis Pellman Good, Cheryl Benner

Good Books

Copyright © 2012 Good Books
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-9065-1



CHAPTER 1

Choosing a Slow Cooker


Features


1. I look for a removable crock. I used to have a 3-qt slow cooker that was all one piece and I had to worry whether or not I got the cord wet or water in the electrical unit.

Tamie Jamison, Kennewick, WA

* * *

2. My slow cooker has a seal with locks on the lid so it doesn't spill on the go. I love this feature.

Suzanne Steinbaecher, Lancaster, PA

* * *

3. I love a locking lid! It keeps little noses out of the slow cooker, and it's great for taking to a potluck. Also I like slow cookers to have a "warm" feature so I don't overcook food.

Nancy Wright, Decatur, AL

* * *

4. My next slow cooker needs to have the lock on the lid so I can carry soup in it for church meals.

Sara Dismore, Harrison, MI

* * *

5. I've noticed glass lids fit better than plastic ones, so I look for a slow cooker with a glass lid.

Arlene Hall, Houston, PA

* * *

6. Mine doesn't have a lid rest. I'd love if it had a piece that allowed me to just tilt the lid back. It seems like I always get too much water back into the crock when I lift the lid.

Amy Schultz, Lancaster, PA

* * *

7. I love that the newer slow cookers have more cooking settings to choose from, including just to hold the food on warm when it is done.

Sheila J. Moline, Reno, NV

* * *

8. I like the programmable slow cookers that go to warm automatically when the cooking time is done as I don't always get home at the same time.

Barbara Delcogliano, Colonie, NY

* * *

9. I love the auto high-to-low feature! It cooks on high for part of the time, then on low for the remainder.

Tracy Gossoo, Naples, NY

* * *

10. I do not like slow cookers with pre-set cooking hour times. I often use mine for times that are in-between the pre-set times.

Paula King, Wauseon, OH

* * *

11. I like the ones that are digital, have a removable base, and a place for steam to escape.

Tajuana Rhodes, Kansas City, MO

* * *

12. I have a programmable 6-quart model that has a locking lid so I can travel safely with it. It includes a large plastic serving spoon that snaps onto the lid handle. I can set the slow cooker for time or temperature. It comes with a thermometer probe, and when the meat reaches the internal temperature which I have programmed into the unit, it switches to warm so as not to overcook the dish.

Karen Arn, Helena, AL

* * *

13. I love a retractable cord.

Jean Moulton, Windsor, ME

* * *

14. I wish I had the clip on the lid for the serving spoon. Mine are always on a small plate in front of the slow cooker and it looks messy.

Edward Engelman, Menasha, WI

* * *

15. I have a divided crock, and I don't like it because the smaller side cooks much faster and dries the food out.

Patty Bouteiller, Young Harris, GA

* * *

16. I'd love an insert that would enable me to cook two dishes in the same crock without having to buy yet another machine.

Julie Hamilton, Lititz, PA

* * *

We include tips from various viewpoints so you can make your own fully-informed decision. For example, some cooks love their divided crocks and some do not. Think of this book as a circle of cooks discussing their experiences and preferences. We hope you benefit from all of that as you decide how to proceed.


17. I have a divided crock in my slow cooker but the divider isn't removable. To me, it's not worth the expense since the foods have to be spooned out and they need to cook the same amount of time. I can accomplish more using 2 slow cookers!

Nancy Kelley, Orlando, FL

* * *

18. I have one cooker that has a divided crock so you can make two completely different dishes at the same time. Handy!

Kris Sloan, Centralia, WA


Accessories


1. I use a cake pan and a small trivet to raise meats or items I'm cooking and love them both!

Sandy Olson, Turton, SD

* * *

2. I trimmed a cookie rack to fit into my crock under my chicken to keep it raised from the grease.

Colleen Van Dyke, New Holstein, WI

* * *

3. A rack to cook meat out of the drippings is nice. I use my expandable vegetable steamer for that purpose now.

Martha Deaton, Fulton, MS

* * *

4. An accessory I wish I had for my slow cooker ... Hmmmm — perhaps Brad Pitt to help me cook?

Gaille Robertson, Wheat Ridge, CO


Size and Shape


1. The most important consideration is the size. There is no reason to get a huge one if you are only going to be cooking for 1 or 2 people; that is how I got one of my slow cookers from my mother-in-law!

Rebecca Dumas

* * *

2. I knew I wanted a large slow cooker to cook whole chickens, ham shoulders, and turkey breasts. I have a smaller slow cooker just for vegetable dishes and side casseroles.

Donna Davis, Horse Cave, KY

* * *

3. I like a large slow cooker because I like to make a lot, and then I freeze it or share it.

Melissa LeClair, Frederick, MD

* * *

4. Purchase a large slow cooker, even if you have a small family. Oval-shaped slow cookers work well to accommodate roasts.

Cathy Fraser, Albuquerque, NM

* * *

5. I look for oblong cookers to allow room for the baking insert (loaf pan) for breads and cakes, as well as long cuts of meat such as pork loin.

Melinda Myers, Mount Joy, PA

* * *

6. Over the years I have had several different types. I prefer oblong because meat cuts seem to fit better.

Tammy Fazenbaker, Baltimore, MD

* * *

7. I prefer oval so whole chickens fit better.

Tracy Gossoo, Naples, NY


The Case for Owning More Than One Slow Cooker


1. I wanted one to use when cooking at home for just my husband and me. I also wanted one large enough to take food to a big gathering or when hosting a group in my home. The shape doesn't really matter to me.

Sharon Yoder, Doylestown, PA

* * *

2. I have various sizes because most likely I won't need the same quantities of various foods. For instance, I use my largest one for a whole ham, and then the smallest to heat up and keep the gravy warm until serving time.

Sharon Miller, Holmesville, OH

* * *

3. I keep my extra slow cooker for baking potatoes because it doesn't have a removable crock. It's like having a portable oven.

Tess Vowels, Belle, MO

* * *

4. There are so many reasons for owning more than one slow cooker! I can double recipes. I can prepare a variety of appetizers for parties. I can enhance my party theme by having different types of slow cookers, such as my football cooker. I can prepare meals that require a more shallow crock in my oval shape, and I can prepare large meats in the oval also. My round, deeper crock cooks hotter, so I prepare foods in it that I want to cook up faster.

Rebecca Key, Boulder City, NV

* * *

5. I use two slow cookers for a typical dinner: one with a vegetarian recipe and one for my meat-eating husband.

Bernadette Smith, Hibbing, MN

* * *

6. I own more than one slow cooker so I can come home to a whole meal instead of just the main dish.

Delilah Swinford, Anderson, IN

* * *

7. I can do more than one dish at a time. I can pick the correct size for the recipe. I can let a friend borrow one and still have one at home to use!

Paula King, Wauseon, OH

* * *

8. Having a family of four, I have found that a 3-quart slow cooker is the ideal size. For 20 years I made many dinners with just one size. When the lid for my old 3-quart slow cooker broke, I found a 2½-quart which cost the same as an entire brand-new slow cooker, but the new lid also fit perfectly on my old 3-quart slow cooker, so I kept it. Then, when my neighbor cleaned out her closet, she gave me her 6-quart slow cooker.

Now that my husband and I have an empty nest, I bought a 2-quart slow cooker, the perfect size for just the two of us.

Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to an oval electric roaster which saves on energy costs. I was so impressed I got one for myself. After reading the instruction manual, I discovered it can also function as a slow cooker.

My family has grown to include in-laws and grandchildren. Thus the addition of a 17-quart roaster/slow cooker. My collection of slow cookers is now at six!

June S. Groff, Denver, PA

* * *

9. I do not use dividers in the slow cooker. However, with multiple slow cookers, I don't see as much of a need for a divider as I can just put something in the second slow cooker instead.

Noel Bigelow, Bellefontaine, OH


Other Considerations


1. Before buying a slow cooker, think ahead about the things you want to prepare in it.

Tajuana Rhodes, Kansas City, MO

* * *

2. I own a pretty red slow cooker and it brightens up the table!

Michele Rough, Mifflinville, PA

* * *

3. I asked for a slow cooker for Christmas a year ago, but my husband wanted to be sure it was an acceptable gift (afraid that buying me an appliance for a holiday would get him in trouble) so he checked with my best friend before buying it!

Robyn Buck, Willow Street, PA

* * *

4. I suggest everyone should give slow cookers as wedding gifts. That's how I got my first one, and I fell in love. The husband is long gone but that slow cooker is still here!

Suzanne Steinbaecher, Lancaster, PA

* * *

5. I gave slow cookers and slow-cooker cookbooks to my children for Christmas this year. They are busy with children and jobs, and I wanted them to have the chance to learn about how convenient slow cooking is.

Deb Slater, Stilwell, KS

* * *

6. I pick slow cookers up at rummage sales when I see a size I don't have.

Edward Engelman, Menasha, WI

* * *

7. If you ever break your lid, try going to the thrift store to find an old slow cooker that is the same size. I made a cardboard template of the lid I needed so I knew what size I was looking for.

Rebecca Dumas

* * *

8. When using a slow cooker for the first time, keep an eye on it throughout the day to see how fast or slow it is cooking so adjustments can be made. Don't plug it in and forget it the first time you use it. I have a slow cooker from the 80's which cooks hotter than the newer cookers. It gets hot more quickly and cooks at a higher temperature. You learn as you go.

June S. Groff, Denver, PA

* * *

9. I wanted a slow cooker, but with so many choices out there, I could not commit. After several months of research, I finally chose a 6-quart oval slow cooker to handle large batches and cuts of meats. Our kids are small now, but I know someday they will be eating much more, and I will be able to make meals and freeze leftovers.

Karen Arn, Helena, AL

* * *

10. Fill your slow cooker with water and heat it on high for 1 hour. Use a thermometer to find the temperature of the water. It should be at 300° F, or whatever your owner's manual indicates.

Carol Eveleth, Wellman. IA

* * *

11. When I first got my slow cooker, I filled it with water and set it on low for 2 hours then checked the temp with a thermometer. I turned it to high for 2 more hours and checked it again. I like to test this every year just to see where I'm at.

Colleen Van Dyke, New Holstein, WI

* * *

12. I have multiple sclerosis and only have use of one hand. The simpler the preparation and cooking, the better, so I love my slow cooker. Using the cooking bags is a blessing to me because clean up is easier. I recommend slow cooking to people that have disabilities such as myself.

Bonnie Denny Schoeneman, Mantua, OH

CHAPTER 2

Stories About the First Time


Beans


1. I bought a 2-quart Rival slow cooker and a Rival hard-bound cookbook. I put dried beans, seasoning and water in the slow cooker at bedtime, turned it on, and let the beans cook overnight. By lunchtime, they were all done and not overcooked. I never had to soak them or anything. I liked that since I didn't really have to be bothered with the soaking.

Nancy Kelley, Orlando, FL

* * *

2. I made chili. It was a disaster because I added salt to dry beans and they never got soft.

Therisa Wilson, Brownsville, OR

* * *

3. The first recipe was a pot of pinto beans and they turned out great. I had always cooked them on the stove and it would take all day. The slow cooker really did not reduce the time a great deal; but I didn't have to worry about them burning. It was amazing.

Sheila Diggs, Lubbock, TX

* * *

4. One Super Bowl Sunday my hubby invited all his friends over, but I was bushed from a long, hard, busy Saturday night at the restaurant I work at. I wondered what could I make for 20 people when I wasn't too happy to be cooking for a crowd again.

I made chili in my slow cooker. Then I made cornbread, corn salad, and brownies with other stuff I had on hand. My husband was stoked. Needless to say I got the rest I needed, and now it is a tradition.

Gayle Hall, Harbor, OR


Beef


1. I got everything ready to cook while we were away at church. Upon arriving home from church, I looked forward to walking in and smelling the mouth-watering smell of pot roast. We smelled nothing.

I forgot to plug it in.

Bonnie Denny Schoeneman, Mantua, OH

* * *

2. I had just begun to date my future husband. As he is an army reservist, his unit had to do their Annual Training which lasted 2 weeks.

Well, the night before he came home, I baked banana nut bread, browned a roast and cut up vegetables. I took my slow cooker to work that morning and proceeded to cook his roast in the break room at the clinic where I worked. The smell drove everyone, including the patients, crazy.

Needless to say he asked me to marry him 4 months after that and 17 years later, he still brags on my cooking.

Sally Skupien, Spring, TX

* * *

3. The first recipe I made in a slow cooker, which my boss gave me as a housewarming gift when I lived alone, was a Mexican-inspired steak stew. It was delicious!

Shelby Sill, Dallas, TX

* * *

4. I received my first slow cooker as a bridal shower gift in 1982. We were newly married and both busy working, so I made many meals in the slow cooker (and still do).

My first try was beef stew. I was pleasantly surprised at how tender the beef was cooked.

My mother-in-law told me to always buy a beef chuck roast for stew and to cut it up myself into chunks instead of spending more money at the grocery store to buy pre-cut stew meat. I still take her advice today.

Audrey Romonosky, Austin, TX

* * *

5. Unfortunately, my first slow cooker dish was a disastrous beef stew. I had never used a slow cooker before and had no idea that opening the lid and stirring every hour was a "nono".

Tina Schwab, South Attleboro, MA

* * *

6. As a young married woman, I tried Irish stew first, but I overfilled the crock. The stew simmered over and down the sides and cooked the finish right off the metal surface! But the stew was delicious; I still make it regularly.

Amy Giannini, Zumbrota, MN

* * *

7. The first recipe I made was in 1982 for boeuf bourguignon. The recipe came with the slow cooker. It was absolutely fabulous.

Over the years I lost the recipe and have not found one as delicious to replace it. I am continuing my search.

Alys Corbin, Brick, NJ

* * *

8. I think my best recipe would be my first one which was a hamburger casserole. It calls for a lot of fresh foods, but when we were stationed in Okinawa, Japan, I could not get them as easily, so I was able to adapt the recipe to a canned version.

Melissa LeClair, Frederick, MD

* * *

9. My first slow cooker experience was as a young bride 30 years ago. I prepared a roast with one cup water and one package onion soup mix and went to work. I worried all day long about the house starting on fire.

When I got home, there was the most delicious roast ready to eat. I served it on buns with au jus. My husband thought it was the best meal ever.

Laurie Gunter, Woodbury, MN


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker by Phyllis Pellman Good, Cheryl Benner. Copyright © 2012 Good Books. Excerpted by permission of Good Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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