With summer right around the corner...I thought this might be good to know!
HOW TO ADAPT REGULAR RECIPES TO CROCKPOT COOKING
In most cases, all ingredients can go into your Crock Pot in the beginning and cook all day. Many preparatory steps are unnecessary when using the crock pot. A few hints:
- Allow sufficient cooking time
- Cook with cover on
- Remember liquids don't "boil away" as in conventional cooking. Usually you'll have more liquid at the end of cooking instead of less.
- It's "one step" cooking: many steps in the recipe may be deleted. Simply add ingredients to the crock-pot at one time and cook 8 to 12 hours (add any liquid last).
- Vegetables do not overcook as they do when boiled in your oven or in your range. Therefore, everything can go into your crock-pot at one time. Exception: milk, sour cream or cream should be added during the last hour.
If recipe says 15 to 30 minutes, cook in crockpot 1 1/2 to 2 hours on HIGH, or 4 to 6 hours on LOW
If the recipe says 35 to 45 minutes, cook in crockpot 3 to 4 hours on HIGH, or 6 to 10 hours on LOW
If the recipe says 50 minutes to 3 hours, cook in crockpot 4 to 6 hours on HIGH, or 8 to 18 hours on LOW
Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require at least 8 hours on low.
Use less in slow cooking -- usually about half the recommended amount. One cup liquid is enough for any recipes unless it contains rice or pasta.
Herbs and Spices:
Leaf or whole herbs and spices are preferred, but their flavor power may increase -- use half recommended amount. If you use ground herbs and spices, add during the last hour of cooking.
Dried beans, especially red kidney beans, should be boiled before adding to a recipe.
Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of unsalted water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Discard water after boiling.
Beans must be softened completely before combining with sugar and/or acid foods (sugar and acid have a hardening affect on beans and will prevent softening).
After boiling beans 10 min., reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Soaking in water, if desired, should be completed before boiling. Discard water after soaking or boiling.
Generally not necessary. Stir in chopped or sliced vegetables with other ingredients. The only exception is eggplant, which should be parboiled or sauteed, due to strong flavor.
Since vegetables develop their full flavor potential with slow cooking, expect delicious results even when you reduce quantities. Because vegetables take longer to cook than meat, slice or chop them when possible and place in bottom of crock-pot with meat on top.
Pasta and rice:
If recipes calls for cooking noodles, macaroni, etc. Cook before adding to crock-pot. Don't overcook - just till slightly tender.
If cooked rice is called for, stir in with other ingredients. Add 1/4 cup extra liquid per 1/4 cup of raw rice. Use long grain converted rice for best cooking results in all-day cooking.
Milk, cream and sour cream tend to break down during extended cooking. When possible add during last hour of cooking. Condensed soups may be substituted for milk etc. and can cook for extended times.
Some soup recipes call for 2 to 3 quarts of water. Add soup ingredients to crock-pot then add water only to cover.
If thinner soup is desired, add more liquid at serving time.
If milk-based recipes have no other liquid for initial cooking, add 1 to 2 cups water. Then during last hour of cooking, stir in milk or cream as called for.
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