In today's busy world, easy crock pot recipes
are a must to have in your recipe file.
Set up the slow cooker before you leave the house and hours later come home to a house filled with wonderful smells of a fully cooked meal. The nice thing about it... if you are late getting home the meal will not be dry and over cooked. Shorter preparation and fewer dishes keeping cooking and clean up simple. And for the novice chef, it doesn't get any easier than this. Fill it and turn it on.
My preferred crock-pot has a removable liner as they are much easier to clean. The very first crock-pot I owned did not have the removable liner. After using it once I came up with the idea to use a cooking bag. I figured they worked great in the oven, why not in a crock-pot. It worked and was the easiest cleanup of all.
As time went on I accumulated wide assortment of sizes to use with various crock pot recipes. The small one is perfect for dips and hot sauces.
Crock pot recipes are great for the cheaper cut of meat, such as Beef Pot Roast. The slow cooking process makes the meat tender, juicy and bursting with flavor.
Suggestions and basic tips for using your crock-pot.
1. Trim any excess fat from the Beef Roast as too much fat may cause the meat to over cook. Pat meat with paper towel to absorb excess moisture and package residue prior to putting in the pot. If meat is highly marbled you may want to brown first to eliminate fats. Also browning adds color and helps in flavor development.
2. Ground meats must be cooked in a skillet before cooking in the crock-pot.
3. Pork should be well trimmed. Pre-brown ribs, roasts and other fatty cuts by broiling for 20 minutes, drain well. If using chops, choose 1 inch cut loin chops, rib chops are to fatty and too small to cook nicely.
4. Seafood should be added during the last hour of cooking time, or it will overcook and have a rubbery texture.
5. Watch how much Liquid you add, the more fat the meat has, less water or liquid is needed. There doesn’t need to be a lot of it, just enough to cover the bottom in most cases. The juices within the meat will mingle with the other liquid during cooking to create more of a stock. For roasts and stews, pour liquid over meat. Liquid can be water, broth or juice. Wine would be added in the last hour of cooking time.
6. 140 degrees is the temperature the food needs to reach as quickly as possible. For food safety reasons, it's a good idea to cook on HIGH for the first hour to quickly bring the temperature up to 140 degrees. Then turn the dial to low and finish cooking.
7. Keep the crock pot covered and avoid peaking, heat escapes and cooking time will have to be extended. If cooking on LOW, there is no need to stir it. While using HIGH hear for short periods, occasional stirring improves the distribution of flavors.
8. If adding dairy product such as milk or cream, add during the last hour of cooking. A cream soup can be added in the beginning a cook all day.
9. The crock pot should be filled 1/2 way. Either adjust your recipe or use a different size crock pot.
10. When using vegetables in your slow cooker, fibrous veggies like carrots and potatoes should be cut or chopped roughly the same size and added to the pot as the first layer as they cook slower than meats in the moist heat of the slow cooker. More delicate vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and mushrooms should be added 30 to 45 minutes before the meal is done.
11. For casseroles, spray the inside of the liner with cooking spray before you fill it to make cleanup easier.
12. Use whole leaf herbs and spices for best flavor for all day cooking. If ground herbs and spices are used, they should be stirred in during the last hour of cooking.
13. Beans must be softened completely before adding to sugar or acid foods which has a hardening effect on beans and will prevent them from softening.
|Pork Roast||6-7 lbx||9 1/2 hours||7 1/2 hours|
|Pork Loin||3-4 lbs||6 hours||5 hours|
|Poultry**||6 lbs||7 1/2 hours||6 1/4 hours|
|Beef Roast||3-4 lbs||8 hours||5 3/4 hours|
|Stew Meat||3 lbs||6 hours||4 3/4 hours|
|Fish***||2 lbs||3 1/2 hours||1 1/2 hours|
Note: All cook times are approximate. Appropriate cook time varies according to specific meat characteristics for fat content and connective tissue as well as other ingredients added to dish including liquid, size of meat cubes, type of vegetable, size of vegetable dice, how high slow cooker is filled, etc.
* Large Pork butt or pork shoulder ** Whole chicken, Bone-in turkey breast *** If fish is stirred in after Crock-Pot® slow cooker has been fully heated to stabilization/simmer point, it will cook within 15-30 minutes.
Other Crock Pot Recipes