What's The Best-Slow-Cooker
For Your Needs?
Crockpot Shopping Soon?
The best-slow-cooker is what accommodates your family size and meal plans the most. Slow-cooker-liners will make quick clean up a breeze too which saves on time and energy.
Families are just too busy nowadays, don’t you think?
Especially two-income families who aren’t home for the day, and have a million things to do when they get home.
In my house, we don’t have children’s schedules to worry about anymore, and still, we have trouble feeling totally organized
and on top of things as much as we would like to be.
Just not enough hours in the day I find sometimes.
Fully home-cooked meals don’t happen as much as we would like, except on week-ends, and it really shouldn't be like that.
Thank goodness for a programmable-slow-cooker.
Even with no-one home, a sensible and delicious meal is slowly cooking away, ready for us when we return. This is the greatest advantage of slow cooking food for sure.
Are you considering purchasing a crock pot, or “slow cooker” (as they are also referred to) to give weekly meals a bit of a boost when you don’t have time?
The chances of serving a wonderful meal are increased if you know of a few tips before buying.
Nobody wants to come home to a pot full of mushy food, and yes, even the best-slow-cooker can do that if not used properly.
Crock pots come in all different shapes and sizes.
A five quart slow cooker is a nice size. Of course the bigger it is, the more quantity you can cook in it. This is the best-slow-cooker for some families for more volume.
We had a little one that came as a bonus with a larger crockpot, and it was suggested for soup. Wouldn’t really do here for that purpose, but I thought it would be a great size for keeping a dessert sauce or a bit of gravy warm while dinner was being eaten.
Maybe it would be good for someone at work, who can plug it in to keep their soup warm for lunch. Anyway, a nice little extra to have around. If you get a chance to get a bonus small size cooker, do it.
Oval-shaped Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are round or oval-shaped mostly. There is one that is more rectangular and square.
I happen to have a Hamilton-Beach oval-sized, which is quite identical to the picture shown, and to me, this type is the best-slow-cooker.
I’ve had many crock pots, but I like this one because it accommodates those longish type roasts you get sometimes.
Not all cuts of meat come in perfect evenly sized square or round chunks. The oval just seems to give me more room as well for potatoes and carrots and onions to throw around the meat.
If you have a large family, the more room there is, the better for more food items. And that also translates to "leftovers" and no need to cook a second night.
An inner pot or “core” within the appliance itself is nice.
You can lift this item out and have it on the table for people to help themselves for seconds. This pot can also be no-stick
which means no scrubbing. Keeps nicely in the fridge too. No need to transfer to a second dish. A great feature I think you will agree makes the best-slow-cooker.
By the way, have you ever tried slow-cooker-liners?
This handy item gets rid of having to soak the slow cooker pot
of heavy baked on messes. You won’t have to scrub at all, as
it’s made of a special heat resistant material and strength. It just looks like a piece of heavy saran wrap.
Place it in the cooker, fill with your food and cook as usual. It’s just like a piece of parchment paper, and cooks and bakers know how useful parchment is.
The slow-cooker-liner will fit oval and round crockpots nicely.
The Best-Slow-Cooker Has Numerous Settings
You will find that some slow cookers have just two settings – high or low.
Other programmable-slow-cookers have 3 - low, medium and high. Other settings are programmed in number of cooking hours, and
can go up as high as ten hours. This certainly provides options.
A nice feature of the best-slow-cooker is the option to keep your meal warm, but not actually cooking.
This allows for the obvious and is handy to use until people are ready to sit down and eat.
As you experiment and cook different dishes, you will get to know how certain meals cook in terms of times and settings.
Try it out over a weekend when you are home just to see.
You’ll see what cooking times need adjustments and what ones don’t. Programmable-slow-cookers don’t guarantee perfection unless you set it properly in the first place.
Be sure to pick up some slow cooker recipe books. Usually your new appliance will come with one. Any slow cookers I've ever
bought always did. Of course, there are thousands of recipes
online you can tap into as well. Very easy to find!
Once you’ve mastered a few “dinner” recipes, don’t forget that desserts are cooked in slow cookers too. Everything from sauces
to cakes can be made in your crockpot. Puddings are popular.
The best-slow-cooker to me, offers this type of option.
One of the most important things to remember about crockpot cooking, is that you need some liquid to start with.
Granted, most of what you put in there will release liquid, but
that’s not until later. Start off with at least a little stock
or water, just enough to cover the bottom.
Make good use of the room you have. Make sure your slow cooker is at least half full to utilize it to it's full potential. And
remember, the more food you have in there, the slower the food
will actually cook, but it will be cooked evenly and not overdone if the settings are right.
Foods can still dry out if in the cooker for longer than they need to be.
Meats are placed on the bottom, as they take the longest and are the largest item. They will remain moist from the stock. ‘
Some people caution about cooking whole chickens even in the best-slow-cooker there is, as they say that a high internal temperature needs to be reached, and that this doesn't happen
easily with a whole chicken.
I have cooked a small whole chicken myself, but still, be aware
of this fact. If you feel safer cutting up your chicken into smaller pieces, that might be the best way to go for you.
Now, I’ve always been accused of ruining good cuts of meat – any kind; I like meat very well done, and hence the accusation.
So, for that reason alone, I don’t worry about the chicken and of course, I'm still here to talk about it. No harm done!
The rule is though, meats should cook for three hours at least to be sure that perfect internal temperature is reached. If
you have settings that range in a higher number of hours, you
will reach that temperature ok.
Cook in your slow cooker like you would in the oven. It makes sense that the “softer veggies" don't have to be added into the
cooker until closer to the end of cooking time.
The tougher ones like carrots or potatoes, can be put in at the start. This way, nothing turns to soupy mush. Most people use the layering effect like they would in a casserole or stew done in the oven.
The best-slow-cooker for you will be determined by your time schedule, size of family, and what types of food you like to eat.
And the best thing overall? You don’t even have to be
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