- Have a meal at home in the slow cooker eliminates the temptation to order take-out which is often less nutritious and more expensive. This
- kitchen appliance makes it possible to have a houseful of guests, yet have your home smelling great. It is also a good way to entertain while freeing up the oven and stove-top for other uses.
- The slow cooker is a time saver in many areas of cooking. Browning meats before cooking takes time and often the meat dish gets dried out as it cooks slowly. A good rule of thumb is to not brown meat if you plan to cook it for more than an hour.
- You can add all the ingredients in a slow cooker, cover it and let cook to get rid of some of the excess moisture. This makes it possible to have moist flavorful dishes without adding any extra fat or oil.
- There are many recipes for making desserts in a slow cooker. Buttermilk brownies, apple cake, bread pudding are just a few that come to mind. Still others recommend using your slow cooker as an ice cream maker because you don’t have to stir the custard while it cools down.
- Slow cooking is also an excellent way to prepare bulk meals ahead of time for freezing. Soups, stews, chilies and casseroles are quick and easy when prepared in advance in this manner.
- The slow cooker is especially helpful to those on a weight loss plan. A meal cooked with this cooking appliance takes less fat and calories, yet has the taste appeal people expect. It is also an excellent kitchen appliance for working parents or anyone who eats lunch at work. Your home can still smell like freshly baked bread while you are gone all day.
- Food cooked in the slow cooker is generally more nutritious than canned food, TV dinners or fast food fare since you control what goes into it. You can avoid adding extra salt and preservatives by choosing fresh ingredients that are low in sodium, sugars and fats.
Slow Cooker Tips and Safety
If you are hesitant to have your slow cooker on and cooking while you are away throughout the day, consider cooking foods during alternate hours that you are home, even while you sleep. Cool down the foods when they are finished cooking, storing it in the refrigerator prior to reheating it in the stove or oven for a meal later.
Here are some basic tips and safety rules to follow when using a slow cooker:
- During cooking, never fill a slow cooker more than 2/3 full as foods expand as they cook. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least one cup of water per pound of meat.
- Be sure that the lid fits securely on the crock to avoid unvented heat and steam buildup that can cause breakage. Also, do not lift the lid until cooking is complete.
- If you wish to store cooked foods, cool them completely first and then refrigerate in airtight containers within two hours. Freeze leftovers within two to three days for best quality.
- Slow cookers heat contents gradually; be careful when removing or stirring foods not to allow steam burns from escaping food. Do not let the cord dangle over counter or tabletop, and do safely place it where it cannot be tripped over or pulled down.
- As summer heat turns on, think about using your slow cooker more often! You can use while vacationing, while camping or even while you are out boating during your weekends..