Slow cooker meals are a great time saver for the busy body and also a great way to not have to do dishes. Before you try any of our fix’-em and forget’-em slow cooker meals, look over these helpful hints.
- Prep the Night Before, and all you’ll have to do in the morning is toss your ingredients into the bowl and flip the switch.
- Place root vegetables in the bottom of the slow-cooker bowl, then top with chicken and or meat pieces. This way the vegetables will be covered by enough stock or sauce to keep them tender – and the meat will be insulated from over cooking.
- The slow-cooker’s long-simmer method tends to dissipate the flavor of dried herbs so be sure to adjust the seasoning at the end of the cooking process. If you have fresh herbs, you can also toss those in at the end.
- Resist the urge to remove the lid off the cooker and stir the ingredients. Especially in the initial stages of warming – the pot will lose a lot of valuable heat.
- During long hours of cooking, milk, sour cream, cheese and heavy cream tend to break down and curdle. For best results stir these ingredients just before serving.
- Browning chicken or meat before slow-cooking is not necessary. But if you have the time, caramelizing the meat will add a richer flavor. I like to avoid using ground meat or poultry in the cooker as I find it turns to mush.
- Never fill the bowl to the brim – if you do bubbling can occur and make a huge mess. I like to leave at least 2 inches from the top.
- If the recipe produces more sauce than you want, you can simply remove the meat or chicken from the bowl at the end of cooking time and set aside – covering with foil. Turn the slow-cooker on to high and place the lid back on. Bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes and let the sauce reduce.
- To make clean up easier, try the bowl liners that I mentioned about with the pulled pork recipe. Just be careful to move all the food before lifting the liner.
Be sure to give these tips a walk through and try some of the above recipes. If you have any slow cooker recipes and would like to be featured on zesty, please email me and we will work together on sharing your recipe. I hope you have a great Friday and a super weekend and just a reminder that I will be blogging from California next week but everything should stay on track.