Monday, February 18, 2013

Crockpot-ology 101

The crockpot hit the market back in the early 1970’s and was an overnight success. It quickly became the best friend of every cook on the planet. Hey, who wouldn’t want something that would slowly and deliciously turn out meals that had previously taken a lot more time and effort to prepare? With a crockpot, we no longer had to worry about: 
  • Food scalding and sticking to the pan
  • Having to prepare dinner after working or chasing the kids around all day
  • Using multiple pots and pans to cook what could be done in one ‘pot’
  • Heating up the oven during the dog days of summer

Crockpots use a combination of low heat and steam to cook foods to moist and tasty deliciousness. There are usually only two settings: HI and LOW, but that’s really all that is necessary. Plus, they are very easy to use. Simply put the ingredients in the crock, put the lid on, turn the dial to “LOW” or “HI,” and come back when dinner is ready.

There is virtually no way to burn food in a crockpot. And, as long as you don’t fill it to the brim, it won’t spill over during cooking time. However, there are some things you do need to remember when cooking with a crockpot: 
  • Putting raw meats such as turkey breast, chicken breast and stew meats in the crockpot is fine, but ground meats need to be browned in the skillet before using in a crockpot - unless you are fixing a meat loaf.
  • Vegetables cooked in a crockpot will lose their nutritional value due to being slowly cooked and for longer periods of time.
  • Meat cooked in a crockpot will retain its moisture, but if over-cooked, it will lose its taste. Follow recipe directions regarding time.
  • Follow cleaning instructions precisely to insure your crockpot has the longest life possible.
  • Purchase liners for your crockpot, making clean-up even easier.
  • Crockpots are great for serving hot drinks as well as foods.
  • Don’t use steel wool to clean your crockpot.
  • If you find your crock is losing its no-stick finish as it ages, using cooking spray will eliminate the problem.

Using a crockpot is a wonderful way to save time and energy, while eating healthier. Here are some great crockpot recipes featured here Busy Moms Recipes.

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