I am so thrilled to have KM Logan, author of The ABCs of Freezer Cooking guest posting on crock pot cooking today! (I think I've broken almost all of these commandments at some time or another. *blush*) Be sure to leave her a comment, and then visit her blog or go check out her ebook at Amazon!
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You’re combing through Pinterest pictures and you find an amazing looking crock pot recipe. The pictures are simply gorgeous and you can just imagine how this beauty will smell simmering in your own slow cooker. You consider licking the screen but your husband is sitting nearby so you resist the urge.
So you follow the link to the original food blog, jot down the ingredients and directions and head to the store the following day. You’ve got the ingredients all prepped, you’ve got your slow cooker on the counter, and you’re ready to make some culinary magic. With the slow cooker set to low, you can’t wait for dinner in 6 hours.
Your family is home from their daily activities, and they settle around the table. You don your best June Cleaver (or Mrs. Brady) smile and lift the lid of your crock pot only to find an EPIC FAIL, a Pintrosity, the grossest thing you’ve ever made.
Maybe your meal was goopy, maybe it was burnt, but whatever it was it wasn’t edible. Is there anything more frustrating? (Okay I’ll give you waiting in line at the Secretary of State’s office or DMV, but this ranks pretty high too.)
I cannot tell you how often this has happened to me with my slow cooker meals even when I was following a “tried and true” recipe. It wasn’t until I learned that if you follow some basic rules when cooking with your crock-pot that your recipe will almost always turn out well.
I give you:
The 10 Commandments of Crock Pot Cooking
1) Thou shalt read your slow cooker instruction manual. Every slow cooker is slightly different, your instruction manual will give you tips and tricks specific to your model.
2) Thou shalt not simply take a recipe designed for the oven and extend the cooking time. Thou shalt use these tips and your slow cooker instruction manual to alter the recipes for the best results.
3) Thou shalt not fill your slow cooker over 75%-80%.
4) Thou shalt add in delicate vegetables in the last 45 minutes of cooking only and dairy in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
5) When you are trying a new recipe thou shalt keep an eye on it while it is cooking. Add more liquid as needed. (Note if you do add more liquid to a recipe mark it down so next time you can just set it and forget it)
6) Thou shalt not put frozen meat in your slow cooker but frozen vegetables are fine.
7) Thou shalt layer your food with what is least likely to burn on the bottom and most likely to be overcooked on the top.
8) Thou shalt wrap food in aluminum foil that you do not want simmering in juices.
9) Thou shalt brown ground beef first and drain its fat. Likewise thou shalt trim excess fat from all meat and remove skin from poultry.
10) Thou shalt not just leave your food on low for 14 hours if you’ll be gone all day. Very few recipes need that much cooking. If you are frequently in situations where you can’t get home to turn your crock pot to a keep warm setting consider purchasing one with an automatic timer.
Now it’s your turn. What commandments of crock-pot cooking would be on your list? Have you ever had a culinary disaster take place in your crock pot?
KM Logan is the author of Amazon’s best-selling The ABC’s of Freezer Cooking and writes devotions for women at KMLogan.com. You would bless her socks off if you stopped by to say hi.