For those of us who have used a crock pot before…the secret is out. They are amazing – a “must-have” for family meals!
So how long have families been slow cooking their dinners?
The act of slow cooking has been going on for hundreds of years – ever since people started using an iron pot. People would hang food over a fire to cook, but unfortunately, it would take hours and hours.
Everyone knows how great it is to come home to a yummy smelling house and the relief that dinner is already done. I often hear complaints, however, about food drying out or not tasting as good as it normally would. There are definitely some rules of thumb that will make every crock pot meal delicious.
Cook meats with bones and/or fat. Have you noticed how dry chicken breasts become in the crock pot? Thighs however never dry out. Often times, it’s the cheaper cuts of beef and pork that are full fat. That’s an extra bonus. These fatty meats do not dry out in the crock pot.
If you are planning on using lean meat, be sure to use plenty of liquid. Don’t forget that liquid cooks out of the crock pot, so you will want to use more than you would in a conventional pot.
Unless you are cooking dried beans, 6 hours should be max cook time. This is often not possible for people who work and are gone all day. Sometimes you have no choice but to cook a dish for more than 6 hours. In this case, I suggest putting your meat in the pot frozen. This will eat up some of the cook time.
For an easy side dish, stretch tin foil loosely over the top of your crock pot – leaving room for the lid to still fit on. Place vegetables, small pats of butter, and seasonings on the tin foil. Secure tin foil with clips to the handles of the pot. Cover with lid and cook along side of (or on top of) your main dish.
For an anytime, any meat crock pot meal; Combine 1 can of beef broth, 1 package of onion soup mix, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of red wine or red cooking wine. This is great with any meat. My favorite is pork tenderloin.
There are endless amount of recipes you can cook in a crock pot – pulled pork, lasagna, soups, desserts, dips, breads and more.
So if your crock pot is buried in your cabinets as many people’s are, take it out and remind yourself how easy a family meal can be!
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