Slow Cooker Tips and Techniques ~ 7 Hints for cooking amazing meals in your Crock Pot

By | March 4, 2017

Is your crockpot gathering dust? Here are 7 slow cooker tips and techniques that will have you making amazing meals in no time. Click to learn how to put your slow cooker to work for you.

Is your Crock Pot languishing in the back of the kitchen cabinet, gathering dust? Well dust it off! Here are some great slow cooker tips and techniques that will have you creating amazing meals for your family in no time.

As a busy working mom of 4, I use my slow cooker at least twice a week.   I simply spend a few minutes in the morning putting all the ingredients in my Crock Pot and that’s it.  The slow cooker does all the work for me!  I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a meal hot and ready to go at the end of a long work day.

More and more moms are working these days – whether from home, like me, or in a traditional 9-5 job.   After a long day at work, all I want to do is relax.  The last thing a harried mom wants to do is to have to cook dinner. A slow cooker can be the perfect kitchen solution for the working mom! A crockpot can make your meal preparation much life simpler by letting you combine ingredients in the morning and letting it slowly cook while you’re off to a job or other activities.

When you arrive home and open the door, your mouth will water in response to the delicious smells coming out of the kitchen. Your dinner is ready and waiting, just as if you had a chef working for you. Slow cooker recipes are designed to deliver healthy, well-cooked meals that aren’t mushy or overcooked.

Here are some slow cooker tips and techniques that will help you turn out delicious meals for your family every time:

Add herbs and seasonings near the end of the cooking time

Some slow cooker recipes call for 8 to 10 hours of cooking.  Such a long cooking time can lessen the effectiveness and flavor of some herbs and seasonings if you add them at the beginning. To make sure your meal remains flavorful, add your seasonings in the last hour of cooking for dried herbs or the last 30 minutes if you are using fresh.

Use a slow cooker roasting rack

Prepara Metropolitan Meat RackPrepara Metropolitan Meat Rack

Want delicious roasted meat without having the hassle of basting and constantly babysitting the roast in the oven?  Then prepare your roasts in the crockpot!  The secret is to use a slow cooker roasting rack in your slow cooker to keep the meat up out of the cooking liquids.  Just trim any excess fat from the meat and refer to your slow cooker instruction manual for cooking times.  To make a complete meal, add some root veggies around the meat.

You can get slow cooker roasting racks in a variety of sizes and shapes.  The circle and oval racks work well with today’s slow cooker designs.  Just measure the size of the inside of your crockpot to ensure that you get one that fits.

Another benefit of roasting in your slow cooker?  The meat will release its own liquid as it cooks.  Don’t throw this liquid away – you can use it to make some absolutely flavorful gravy.

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Place vegetables on the bottom

If you’re using a slow cooker recipe that calls for vegetables requiring extra cooking time (such as carrots and potatoes), place them at the bottom of the crockpot and put the meat on top of them.  Being closer to the heating element will help them cook more quickly.

Use a slow cooker with a timer

Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow CookerHamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker

If you are going to be gone all day, you don’t have to worry about someone being home to switch the crockpot over from cooking to warming.  Just get a slow cooker with a timer.

I love the fact that my slow cooker has a digital timer.  I simply set the cooking time and when it is up, the crockpot automatically switches to the warming setting.

I never have to worry about overcooked food and the meals are always piping hot and ready to serve when I get home.

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Use a slow cooker with a removable crock

I think we can all appreciate tips that help us have less dishes to wash, right?  If  you use a slow cooker with a removable crock, your meal can go right from the cooker to the table – no serving dishes required.  So that’s a few less dishes to wash – yeah!

Most slow cookers on the market these days do have the removable inner stoneware crock, but some of the smaller ones may not.  So you should always check before you purchase to make sure.

Use silicone grilling gloves to handle hot slow cooker crocks

Silicone Heat Resistant Grilling BBQ Glove SetSilicone Heat Resistant Grilling Glove Set

If you are going to put the stoneware crock right on the table for serving, I highly recommend getting a pair of silicone grilling gloves to protect your hands.  Those crocks are extremely effective at holding heat and can be super hot.  Standard kitchen potholders are not adequate to protect your hands when lifting out the crock and moving it to the table.  I learned that the hard way!

Silicone grilling gloves are heat resistant up to 425 degrees so you don’t ever have to worry about getting burned from the sizzling hot stoneware crock when you are removing it from the slow cooker.
The one downside to grilling gloves is that they are quite thick.  Some of them are shaped like kitchen mitts and it can be hard to get a good grip on items with them.  That’s why I like these silicone grilling gloves.  They have 5 fingers which gives you a better grip on the item you are carrying – which is just perfect when you are holding a heavy, steaming hot crock filled with food.

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Use a slow cooker liner bags to make cleanup a breeze

The last thing a busy mom wants to do at the end of the meal is to scrub out a crockpot with cooked-on food.  Fortunately there is a way to avoid the cleanup hassle – always use slow cooker liners.  You simply add a liner to your slow cooker before you add any food.  Then prepare your recipe as normal and cover with the lid.  Your meal will cook right in the liner.

When the meal is over, just throw the liner away and put your clean slow cooker back into your cabinet – no scrubbing required!  Cleanup really doesn’t get much easier than this.  I do all my crockpot cooking with slow cooker liner bags these days.  I don’t know how I lived without them.

Best Slow Cooker Recipe Books for the Busy Moms

If you are a busy mom, it’s time to dust off your slow cooker and put it to work producing delicious meals for your family!  Here are a few of my recommendations for the best slow cooker recipe books to help you plan your meals.

Five Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker CookbookFive Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker CookbookSlow Cooker RevolutionSlow Cooker RevolutionFix-It and Forget-It: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes!Fix-It and Forget-It: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes!

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Is your crockpot gathering dust? Here are 7 slow cooker tips and techniques that will have you making amazing meals in no time. Click to learn how to put your slow cooker to work for you.

I hope these slow cooker tips and techniques have been helpful to you. Do you have any tips to add? If so, leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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