Most people fall into two categories....

Slow cooker lovers.... OR Slow cooker bashers!

I happen to fall in the "LOVER' category and I would like to spread the love around and share some tips to help any "bashers" gently move into the "lover" category...
Playing to your slow cooker's strength and knowing how to avoid it's weaknesses will produce great tasting dishes with little effort and time in the kitchen!


  Forget logos like... "set it and forget it"! 

If you have believed you can dump all the ingredients of a recipe into a slow cooker and forget it, no wonder you are not a fan!
To get the best flavor and texture when slow cooking foods you need to do a little prep work! It will pay off in big flavors and tender food!

Here are a few tips that will make a big difference in cooking with slow cookers!

1.  Choose the right meats.

Choose meats that are tough or dense.  Slow cookers make tough meats like chuck roasts, briskets, short ribs, shanks, game meat and pork butt (shoulders) beautifully tender and scrumptious!

Whole chickens, bone-in turkey breasts and thighs, with the skin on, can also be moist and not overcooked if timed just right.

Personally, I avoid using boneless or skinless chicken in slow cookers. It tends to overcook and get a mealy texture.

2. Brown meats and vegetables.

Browning meat brings out that luscious caramelized flavor that we all love. Take the time to brown meats and  veggies like onions and celery before adding them to the slow cooker... your dish will taste so much better!

3. Choose the right vegetables.

Dense or fibrous vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips, onions, garlic, turnips etc. cook the best in a slow cooker. Add them to the bottom or sides of the slow cooker. 

Avoid canned veggies... they are already overcooked!

Thaw frozen vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker.

4. Add the right amount of liquid.

Little or no evaporation occurs during cooking time so don't overdo the liquids! Here is a good rule of thumb...

2 TBS liquids for sauces
1/4 cup liquid for stews
1/2 ~ 2 cup liquids for soups

Using too much liquid waters down the flavor of the overall dish.

5. Don't add all ingredients at once.

Not all ingredients can be cooked for the same length. Seafood, tender vegetables, cooked chicken, pasta, dairy products and fresh herbs should  be added to you dish at the end of cooking time. This will prevent mushy or curdled food. Just make sure they are hot and cooked through!

Head over to StoneGable's Facebook page to see great slow cooker  tips from my FB friends!

Look for more Slow Cooker tips next week in 10 BEST SLOW COOKER TIPS, Part 2!

Click HERE for a 21 of my favorite slow cooker recipes.


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