It’s no secret that I love my slow cooker. It makes feeding the family while running the house and running after the toddler so much easier! Not to mention, cheaper and healthier than ordering a pizza at the last minute because I didn’t cook something for dinner.
I’ve been slow cooking meals for many years, and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way that make the whole process easier and the results better.
1. Leave it alone.
This one is really, really hard, but slow cookers are designed to basically do their own thing while you leave it alone. The way they cook food depends on retained heat, so every time you open the lid “just to check on it” you release a bunch of heat and increase the cooking time.
2. Watch the “warm” time
If you know you’re going to need to leave your crock pot on the warm setting for a longer while, turn it to warm a little earlier. Leaving your food to “warm” for too long can leave you with over-cooked (or burned!) food, and that sucks.
3. Grease lightning!
A quick spray of your favorite spray around the sides of your crock pot will make your life much easier. Just a little bit of PAM goes a long way. This is a step I forget to do about 2 out of 3 times.
4. Uniform cuts
Knife skills are a basic kitchen skill that will take your cooking to another level and maybe even make you enjoy it. When chopping vegetables and meats for your slow cooker, try to keep everything about the same size – if half of your potatoes are 2 inches square and the rest are much smaller, you’re going to end up with some mush and seriously weird, inconsistent texture. Chopping all of your veggies and meats to a similar size ensures that your food cooks evenly and consistently.
5. Don’t overfill
Slow cookers perform best when you don’t over- or under-fill them. Aim to have your slow cooker about 1/2 to 2/3 full for best results.
There you have it! These five tips should help you love your slow-cooker and make some seriously delicious meals for your family. What’s your favorite slow cooking tip or recipe? Share in the comments or join the discussion on Facebook!