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Yesterday we talked about how football season started in my house and how that means little league times three for me. That’s because I have three boys playing little league football this year and a daughter who swims on a swim team. That means every weekday night we are at four different practices at four different places but the times all overlap. I decided that I need to find a good answer to making dinner even though I won’t be home. Otherwise we will end up eating lots of fast food, sandwiches, cereal and hot dogs! Yuck! The need for good healthy but quick dinners made me think I need to start using my crock pot, or slow cooker, again. What makes me keep drifting away from using my crock pot? I’m just not sure. I decided I better track down some crock pot tips and tricks to see if I can start using the crock pot and have it become habit.
It seems like cooking in a crock pot would be so easy that you wouldn’t need crock pot tips and tricks. Not so! A quick internet search showed me I wasn’t the only one who had trouble sticking with using a crock pot. There are so many reasons that people don’t stick with crock pot cooking long term. Many of those reasons are remedied by paying attention to these tips and tricks.
Have a Plan
Just like with any other cooking; having a plan for dinner is a must. Have your recipe and ingredients ready ahead of time. This is one of the best crock pot tips and tricks there is – no plan means no success with crock pot cooking.
Good Crock Pot
It might be tempting to buy a cheap and featureless crockpot, but don’t be fooled. You will want a crock pot with more than the basic model and features. A programmable crock pot is ideal. With varied temperatures and times you will be able to do so much more than the basic warm and hot manual setting crock pot.
If you use a crock pot that is the wrong size, your recipe might suffer. Having too much in your crock pot or too little in your crock pot will cause it to cook unevenly. It will cook too quickly or not enough. This is another one of the most important crock pot tips and tricks.
Don’t overfill your crock pot. Just like when you use the wrong size crock pot, a too full crock pot will lead to uneven cooking and food that is not fully cooked. Check your owner’s manual for details on your specific crock pot but many experts say don’t fill it over 2/3 full.
Use the Lid
Don’t forget to use the lid. The lid helps the crock pot maintain proper temperature during the cooking time. Uncovered crock pots may cook slowly and unevenly. This is another of the most important crock pot tips and tricks.
Easy Clean Up
Look for a crock pot with a removable crock – don’t settle for one that is built in to the base. You can put the crock right in the sink for easy clean up. Want it to be even easier? Purchase disposable crock pot liners. You’ll toss the mess in the trash and have a clean crock pot. Super easy!
Have more crock pot tips and tricks? Share them with us – we love to hear from you.