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Slow Cooker: A Primer for Novices

Slow cookers are the most efficient way to prepare a nutritious and delicious meal with minimal effort. This guide will instruct you on how to get the most out of your slow cooker and how to use it effectively. Also included are savory recipes on how to use your slow cooker!
There is something extraordinary about a meal cooked in a slow cooker. The food prepared in a slow cooker is like a warm hug in the form of a favorite recipe. Not to mention, it is the ideal method for preparing a nutritious meal in minutes!

And since we can all see that life is becoming increasingly hectic, it only makes sense to know how to use a slow cooker. Society is becoming increasingly “busy all the time,” and we must keep up with the changes while feeding our families nutritious food.
If you have a slow cooker but haven’t used it in a while, it’s time to give it another try. If you have never used this handy appliance, now is the time to start!

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about slow cookers. Try one of my most popular recipes, and pick your favorite!

WHAT SIZE SLOW COOKER DO I NEED?

First, you must understand that slow cookers perform optimally when they are between two-thirds and three-quarters full.

  • Choose the 3-quart size if you use your slow cooker for small meals with few leftovers.
  • A 5-quart slow cooker is of average size and can accommodate three to four people.
  • The 6-quart slow cooker is ideal for cooking for large groups and large quantities.

TIPS FOR USING A SLOW COOKER

  • Care should be taken not to overfill or underfill the slow cooker: When learning how to use a slow cooker, one of the most important rules is how much food and liquid to add to the pot. The heat must circulate effectively, and a constant temperature is also essential.
  • Preparation: Wash, chop, and prepare your ingredients in advance to save even more time. Consider preparing and filling the pot the night before and refrigerating it for cooking the following day.
  • Do not open the lid: Tempted to sample the food or curious to observe its progress? You will slow down the cooking process. Open the slow cooker lid only when the recipe specifies.
  • The dairy is added at the end: If the recipe calls for dairy, add it at the end, or the dish may curdle.
  • Watch the seasonings: Spices that have simmered all day will become more potent than those that have only been cooked for one hour.
  • Utilize only fresh ingredients: Eating clean is so healthy. I use fresh and wholesome ingredients to prepare a nutritious and delicious meal.
  • Learn about your stove: When using the slow cooker for the first time, read the manual and note how long your favorite dishes take to cook. Because each slow cooker is unique, cooking times can vary slightly.
  • Spend less on meat: Less expensive cuts of meat slow cook exceptionally well in a slow cooker. With a long, low-temperature cook, bottom roasts and chuck roasts become very tender.
  • Sear and sauté first: Before placing the meat in the pot, it should be seared to achieve the best results. And onions, for instance, taste better when first sautéed.
  • Firm vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and turnips) should be placed on the bottom. Meat is placed in the center, with lighter vegetables on top.
  • Pay close attention to the liquid: an excess of liquid is undesirable. Because there is little evaporation, slow cookers are designed to be used with a small amount of liquid.

HOW TO USE A SLOW COOKER FOR OVEN POTS

You will love your slow cooker so much that you want to use it for virtually all your cooking, including stovetop recipes. This is not an exact conversion of the stovetop to slow cooker recipes, but I have compiled estimates:

  • A 15- to 30-minute stovetop recipe will require approximately 1-2 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.
  • A 30-minute to one-hour stovetop recipe may take two to three hours on high and five to seven hours on low.
  • One to two hours on the stove will require three to four hours on high and six to eight hours on low in the slow cooker.
  • A recipe that requires 2-3 hours on the stovetop may take 4-6 hours on high and 8-12 hours on low in the slow cooker.

SLOW COOKER PANTRY STAPLES TO KEEP ON HAND

Once you become accustomed to using your slow cooker, you will quickly develop a list of go-to recipes. It’s always convenient to have the ingredients needed to use the slow cooker immediately on hand.

  • Quinoa is an abundantly nutritious plant-based protein.
  • Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are the best source of fiber.
  • Canned, no-added-sugar, diced tomatoes
  • Low-sodium consommés
  • Starch from arrowroot for thickening
  • Your favorite spices

HOW TO USE YOUR SLOW COOKER FOR FROZEN MEALS

The slow cooker is designed to save time. You’re good to go. Throw a few ingredients into a pot.

In addition, there is another way to save time bonus! Check out my post on slow cooker freezer meals for complete information, but in the meantime, allow me to elaborate.

It is straightforward to prepare the ingredients for a few meals in advance and store them in a reusable freezer bag for up to three months. You can confidently serve a delicious meal on the busiest of days.

SLOW COOKER MEALS FOR MEAL PREP

I am a fan of meal prep – you should already know that! And I am happy to report that slow cookers can also be used for meal preparation! Delicious shredded chicken cooked in a slow cooker. It is easily incorporated into recipes that can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and six months in the freezer in meal prep containers.

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls are one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare chicken.

Why do I like slow-cooked chicken so much? It’s basic. Because chicken is rich in protein, it aids in the development of muscle mass. It is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for cell repair, disease prevention, and other functions.

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