A slow cooker is the ultimate convenience tool in the kitchen. Use these tips for amazing results with any slow cooker recipe.
The crockery cooker must be at least half full and no more than two-thirds full. If necessary, add an extra potato, carrot, or onion to fill the cooker to the halfway point.
Cut potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and other dense vegetables into bite-size pieces; place them in the bottom of the cooker. Add tender vegetables, such as fresh or frozen broccoli, green beans, or peas, at the end of the cooking time and cook on the high-heat setting 30 minutes or until tender.
Trim any fat from the meat and cut roasts larger than 2 1/2 pounds in half. If desired, brown the meat. Place the meat on top of the vegetables.
Remove skin from poultry pieces before cooking.
Brown all ground meats, poultry, and sausage in a skillet over medium heat. These products must be completely cooked before you place them in the crockery cooker.
Reduce by about half the total amount of the liquid in your recipe.
Use quick-cooking tapioca for thickening stew and sauces, or thicken the juices with cornstarch and flour in a saucepan at the end of cooking. For each cup of liquid, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.
Milk, cream, and natural cheeses break down when cooked for long periods of time. Canned condensed cream soups and packaged white sauce mixes can be used to add creaminess. Evaporated milk also can be used if you add it during the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time. Stir cheese into the finished dish just before serving.
Rinse beans and place in saucepan. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand about 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans before adding them to crockery cooker.