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 "Slow Cooker Tips:..." 
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Post "Slow Cooker Tips:..."
Slow Cooker Tips: 6 Easy Ways to Maximize Flavor and Get the Most from Your Crock Pot
by: Jamie Jefferson





If you are trying to get away from today's preservative-laden fast food and convenience foods, it's time to rediscover your slow cooker.

Slow cookers aren't just for grandmothers. On a busy day, who doesn't love to come home in the evening to a hot already-prepared meal? Whether it's a succulent pot roast, savory tender chicken or a simple casserole, slow cookers create amazing aromas and even better meals – and many slow cooker recipes make enough food to feed your entire family (and then some).

The best thing about a slow cooker, of course, is that it frees you to do other things while the food is cooking. You can place all of the ingredients into your crock pot or other slow cooker, and your food will be ready and waiting when you arrive home.

Slow cooker recipes abound these days (especially on the Internet) and, to find them, all you need to do is search for the name of the traditional dish followed by +”slow cooker recipe.” But there are a few easy tips that will help you maximize flavor and ensure a mouth-watering meal, every time.

Here are six tips for creating delicious home-cooked meals in your crock pot.

1. Use a recipe specifically created for slow cookers. If you are dying to convert a traditional recipe to a slow cooking recipe, there are some rules to follow. For example, unless you're making soup, you'll typically want to decrease the amount of liquid you add. Because a slow cooker retains moisture, you can sometimes end up with more liquid at the end of the cooking time than you had when you started and this can dilute the flavors of your dish.

2. Caramelize onions and brown meat beforehand. Many slow cooker recipes call for you to put all of the ingredients into the crock pot raw – and that's perfectly fine to do. In fact, that's going to be the most efficient way to go, if you are using your slow cooker as the ultimate time saving device that it is. But you can dramatically enhance the flavor of your final dish by browning your meat or chicken and sauteing your onions before you add them to the pot. This step also reduces some of the fat content of your recipe.

3. Less expensive cuts of meat work just fine. When you are slow cooking, you can choose the cheaper cuts, such as chuck steak. Because the meat is cooked slowly over time, these less expensive cuts will melt in your mouth by the time they are finished.

4. Cut your vegetables into small pieces. Unless you like your vegetables on the crunchy side, cut them into smaller pieces. Put potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables on the bottom or against the sides of the pot. (This will ensure that they get maximum heat.) Again, you can also saute onions before adding them, if you find you prefer this taste.

5. Experiment with fresh herbs. Few things add more savory flavor to a meal than fresh herbs. Use fresh herbs in the place of dried herbs in your recipes,If you are trying to get away from today's preservative-laden fast food and convenience foods, it's time to rediscover your slow cooker.

Slow cookers aren't just for grandmothers. On a busy day, who doesn't love to come home in the evening to a hot already-prepared meal? Whether it's a succulent pot roast, savory tender chicken or a simple casserole, slow cookers create amazing aromas and even better meals – and many slow cooker recipes make enough food to feed your entire family (and then some).

The best thing about a slow cooker, of course, is that it frees you to do other things while the food is cooking. You can place all of the ingredients into your crock pot or other slow cooker, and your food will be ready and waiting when you arrive home.

Slow cooker recipes abound these days (especially on the Internet) and, to find them, all you need to do is search for the name of the traditional dish followed by +”slow cooker recipe.” But there are a few easy tips that will help you maximize flavor and ensure a mouth-watering meal, every time.

Here are six tips for creating delicious home-cooked meals in your crock pot.

1. Use a recipe specifically created for slow cookers. If you are dying to convert a traditional recipe to a slow cooking recipe, there are some rules to follow. For example, unless you're making soup, you'll typically want to decrease the amount of liquid you add. Because a slow cooker retains moisture, you can sometimes end up with more liquid at the end of the cooking time than you had when you started and this can dilute the flavors of your dish.

2. Caramelize onions and brown meat beforehand. Many slow cooker recipes call for you to put all of the ingredients into the crock pot raw – and that's perfectly fine to do. In fact, that's going to be the most efficient way to go, if you are using your slow cooker as the ultimate time saving device that it is. But you can dramatically enhance the flavor of your final dish by browning your meat or chicken and sauteing your onions before you add them to the pot. This step also reduces some of the fat content of your recipe.

3. Less expensive cuts of meat work just fine. When you are slow cooking, you can choose the cheaper cuts, such as chuck steak. Because the meat is cooked slowly over time, these less expensive cuts will melt in your mouth by the time they are finished.

4. Cut your vegetables into small pieces. Unless you like your vegetables on the crunchy side, cut them into smaller pieces. Put potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables on the bottom or against the sides of the pot. (This will ensure that they get maximum heat.) Again, you can also saute onions before adding them, if you find you prefer this taste.

5. Experiment with fresh herbs. Few things add more savory flavor to a meal than fresh herbs. Use fresh herbs in the place of dried herbs in your recipes, and add additional fresh herbs to taste. Fresh basil often complements Italian dishes. Rosemary and thyme taste delightful with pot roast. Experiment and find what works for you and your taste buds.

6. Try to avoid opening the lid. When you open the lid of a crock pot, you let out the steam and moisture, and this will change your cooking time (by as much as 20 minutes). It's important to follow the recipe closely, add each ingredient when the recipe calls for it – and then leave your slow cooker alone!

and add additional fresh herbs to taste. Fresh basil often complements Italian dishes. Rosemary and thyme taste delightful with pot roast. Experiment and find what works for you and your taste buds.

6. Try to avoid opening the lid. When you open the lid of a crock pot, you let out the steam and moisture, and this will change your cooking time (by as much as 20 minutes). It's important to follow the recipe closely, add each ingredient when the recipe calls for it – and then leave your slow cooker alone!

About The Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Susies-Coupons.com and Momscape.com, where you can find Cooking Coupons: http://www.momscape.com/coupon-codes/cooking.htm and Walmart coupons: http://www.momscape.com/coupon-codes/wal-mart.htm
The author invites you to visit:
http://www.momscape.com




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Sun May 30, 2010 10:52 am
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