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School has started back and that means busy schedules for the entire family. Homework,
afterschool activities, club meetings, how will your family get a hot meal that doesn’t
come from a drive through? If you have a slow cooker, you have a safe way to make
a healthy meal for you and your busy family.
Follow these principles, and you’ll be creating warm, hearty recipes all year long
that your family will think you spent hours on in the kitchen.
The low heat on most models is about 200 degrees F. so cooking on low is a safe method.
Don't use whole chickens or roasts; cut the meat or poultry into chunks to ensure
If it is to full food may cook incorrectly.
Worried that you need to open the lid to stir what is in there. Don’t be, it's usually
Cooking on low heat takes about twice as long as cooking on high heat. A general rule
of thumb is that "low heat" means about 200 degrees and "high heat" is about 300 degrees.
The ceramic insert in a slow cooker can crack if exposed to sudden temperature changes. I always like to fill my slow cooker crock the night before and then put in the refrigerator.
Before putting in the base the next morning, I always add the insert and then allow
them both to warm up at the same time. Also when finished cooking, avoid putting the
hot ceramic insert directly on the cold counter; put down hot pads or a dish towel
You will get better results. We brown meat before adding to the slow cooker because
it improves the flavor. Also if your recipe calls for you to dredge your meat in flour
before browning, you will get a thicker sauce, many times it will make its own gravy.
Fat retains heat better than water, so fattier foods, like meat, will cook faster
than less fatty foods, like vegetables. For more even cooking, trim excess fat off
of meats. If you're cooking a dish with both meat and root vegetables, place the vegetables
on the bottom and sides of the insert and put the meat on top. The vegetables will
act as a rack and allow the fat and juices from the meat to flavor the vegetables.
Adding dairy products, like sour cream, milk, or yogurt, early in the cooking process
tend to break down in the slow cooker, and you will not get the desired taste and
texture you are wanting.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind, such as, liquid is not going
to evaporate, so cut back on the liquids by about 20 percent. Whole herbs and spices
need to be reduced by half in the recipe while ground herbs need to be added in the
last hour of cooking.
One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Gravy. The pork
chops are so tender they may fall apart when removing them from the crock and make
the most delicious gravy.
Combine flour, dry mustard, salt, and garlic powder in a shallow dish; dredge chops
in flour mixture and set aside. Combine remaining flour mixture and broth in a 3-1/2
quart slow cooker. Stir well to eliminate lumps. Pour oil into large skillet; place
over medium-high heat until hot. Cook chops in hot oil just until browned on both
sides; place in slow cooker. Cook covered on high 2 to 2-1/2 hours (low 5 to 6-1/2
Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com