Tip 1. Have you noticed that crock pots don’t say anywhere on the pot what size they are? I find that annoying, especially since I’ve looked up all of mine on-line but still can’t remember. Yesterday I was making a new recipe that used a 4 quart crock pot and I wasn’t sure which one of mine was a 4 quart. The first one I checked was a 2.5 quart and the second was a 5 quart. Apparently I don’t have a 4 quart. I might have to remedy that as soon as possible. Anyway, I’m tired of looking up the size so I wrote it on the side of the crock pot with a sharpie. Problem solved.
Tip 2. My 5 qt crock pot seems to run hot. I didn’t know if it was just my imagination or if it really did run hot. The other day I got a new crock pot recipe magazine called Fix-It and Forget-It, Our Best Slow-Cooker Recipes 2011. In the magazine it said that some of the newer crock pots cook at a very high temperature and the magazine gave a method for checking your crock pot. Here’s how you do it:
- Place 2 quarts of water in your slow cooker.
- Cover. Heat on low 8 hours.
- Lift the lid. Immediately check the water temperature with an accurate thermometer.
- The temperature of the water should be 185 degrees. If the temperature is higher, foods may overcook, and you should reduce the overall cooking time. If the temperature is lower, your foods will probably not reach a safe temperature quickly enough, and the cooker should be discarded.
My crock pot checked in at 196 degrees. No wonder my recipes are getting done too quickly. But now I know.
Tip 3. You can cook bread in your crock pot. I haven’t done it yet but I’m going to try it. You need to have a crock pot that allows you to put a bread pan in the crock or you can get a special insert for baking bread.
Tip 4. Don’t lift the lid on your crock pot while you’re cooking something. Every time you do, you need to add 15 or 20 minutes to your cooking time.
Tip 5. Remember this rule: 1 hour on high counts as 2 hours on low – in case you need to cook faster or slower than the recipe says.
Tip 6. Spray your crock with Pam before using it and clean up is a bit easier.
Tip 7. A timer will allow you to cook a dish for 6 hours even though you’re away for 8 hours. For food safety, make sure all ingredients are chilled before cooking. Program the cooking to start no longer than 2 hours after you leave. Cooked food should not stand for longer than 2 hours after the cooking time ends.
Tip 8. There are usually two heat settings on a slow cooker: low (200 degrees) and high (300 degrees). You might need to stir some recipes occasionally to prevent scorching. However, you’ll need to add 15 or 20 minutes to the cooking time every you stir.
Tip 9. Your slow cooker should be filled at least half full and no more than 2/3 full for ideal cooking.
Tip 10. And finally, if you don’t have a rice steamer or don’t like cooking rice on the stove, use your crock pot.
- 2 cups white or brown rice
- 1-1/2 tbsp. butter
- 3-1/3 cups broth for white rice, 3-2/3 cups broth for brown rice
Grease crock pot. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for 2 hours for white rice or 3 hours for brown rice. Stir once. Perfect rice.