Slow Cooker Meals
A slow cooker is designed to cook savory, slow-braised meats and vegetables. When your schedule gets hectic, your slow cooker is an indispensable time-saver.
The beauty of slow-cooker cooking is that you don't need to fuss over your dish. Just prepare your ingredients early in the day; in six to 12 hours, you'll have a hearty, one-dish dinner!
- Leave that lid on. Even a quick peek inside your slow cooker allows heat to escape and lengthens cooking time by 15-20 min. To see inside, just spin the cover of your slow cooker until the vapors drip off.
- Cut back on liquids. Because slow cookers cook food at low temperatures, liquids don't reduce. In fact, as meats and vegetables release their natural juices, the amount of liquid inside the slow cooker will increase. If a recipe calls for what seems like a scant amount of liquid, resist the temptation to "correct" it.
- Hit bottom. Place densely textured vegetables such as potatoes or carrots and large cuts of meat at the bottom of the cooker. Proximity to the heat source and immersion in liquid ensures even cooking.
- Not all foods do well under slow cooker conditions. Delicate herbs such as basil or cilantro lose flavor; frozen vegetables turn to mush; fish dissolves into nothing; and shrimp becomes leather-tough. Quick-cooking ingredients like pasta and rice and fresh herbs should be added during the last hour of cooking.
- It's best to leave your slow cooker on the same heat setting throughout the entire cooking cycle. However, if you’re pressed for time — or if a dish seems to be cooking too fast — one hour of cooking on high is roughly equal to two and a half hours on low.