Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slow Cooker Tips

I know this statement may generate a lot of comments, but here goes, a Slow Cooker and a Crock-Pot are the same thing.  Just like we call a tissue, a Kleenex, we call a slow cooker, a Crock-Pot.  Crock-Pot, was originally a trademarked name of the Rival Company.  The Crock-Pot was introduced to the American kitchen in 1971 and we fell in love with it!

I like to use my Slow Cooker all year long, but it seems I use it more in the fall and winter months.  I love to come home on a cold day and open the door to my kitchen and be meet with the warm delicious aroma, of a home cooked meal, ready and waiting for me in my Slow Cooker.

My new cookbook, Busy Woman's Slow Cooker Cookbook, is not for sale yet, but below are a few tips from the book.
Here are some handy tips for the Slow Cooker:

Cooking time in all recipes are approximations, affected by how much food is in the cooker, humidity, the temperature of the ingredients when you add them; so note that cooking times in the recipes are ranges only.

To make cleanup easier, spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray before adding food.

If a recipe calls for a meat to be browned, brown  it in a skillet.  The recipe will be better, it will enhance the flavor and decrease fat.

A Slow Cooker is great for tougher cuts of meat.

It is usually better to thaw meat before placing it in the Slow Cooker.  It will cook faster.

Fill the Slow Cooker between 1/2 and 2/3 full.

Add root vegetables to the Slow Cooker first, then add the meat.  Root vegetables cook slower than meat.

Cut vegetables into smaller pieces to ensure proper cooking.

Don't remove the lid during cooking unless a recipe calls for it.  Every time you lift the lid you will slow the cooking time by 20 to 30 minutes.

Don't leave food in the Slow Cooker.  Remove food within one hour.

Don't reheat food in a Slow Cooker because it takes too much time for food to reach a safe temperature.

Don't add water to clean the Slow Cooker until it has cooled.

Don't use metal utensils; use rubber, plastic or wood to avoid damaging interior of the Slow Cooker.

Check back on Friday, when I post my Slow Cooker recipe for, 
Pepper Steak Roast!

Sign up as a follower to enter my monthly, Cookbook Giveaways!
The first Friday of each month, I draw a name from my followers, to win my cookbook and other prizes.
This month I am giving away 4 cookbooks! 
Three Iowa State Fair Cookbooks!
My Cookbook!

I will be drawing a name from my followers to win four cookbooks, this Friday, October 1st.   The contest is open to all of my followers, regardless of where they live.   If your name is drawn and you have a blog, I will mention your blog address on my "Fast Food Fridays" radio show on the The Passion Radio Network, and then post your blog address on my blog. 
Sign up as a FOLLOWER for your chance to win!

Check out my blogging buddy, Bo's Blog (say that three times fast), Bo's Bowl.   Not only does he have great giveaways,  his recipes are incredible!  One visit to his blog and you will see why I faithfully follow it.
Also check out my friend Pam's blog, Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner,  for more great recipes!  Once you read her blog, she will be your friend too!


  1. I never use a slow cooker...I think I need to get it out and experiment. Thanks for all the tips.

  2. I agree that they are the same thing, but when I recently purchased one for my MIL, it appears that Crock-Pot is now a stand-alone brand and Rival's product is now simply called the Rival Slow Cooker. Both are under the parent company Jarden, which is part of Sunbeam. Not that it matters at all; it was just something I noticed when I was shopping for one last month.

    One of my slow cookers is a Hamilton Beach brand; the other is a Crock-Pot. Other than their sizes, they cook/work exactly the same.

  3. Brilliant tips! I love my slow cooker!
    x x

  4. I use my slow cooker a huge amount during winter. I go along with every one of your tips. Diane

  5. Bo, you should try it! You can make almost anything in a slow cooker.

    Annie Jones, you are correct, Crock-Pot is now a stand alone company.

    Thanks Hanna!

    Diane, I will be checking your blog for slow cooker recipes!

  6. I have been using slow cooker/crockpot for at least 40 years and now I have 2; a large one and smaller one ther is perfect for the 2 of us.
    Enjoyed all the great information you share.
    I would be very very upset if someone would take my slow cooker away. Great post!

  7. I wish I could tell you how many times I have debated about getting a new slow cooker. Sold me old 70's model many years ago during a move. It is just the two of us and we are retired..that is why I hesitate. Would I really use it. Anxious to see that cookbook of yours.

  8. I have two slow cookers, one is small, the other is medium, been using both of them for more than ten years. Looking forward to your slow cooker recipe, it will definitely help me to plan more delicious meals, as my number of recipes using the slow cooker is I'm afraid, very limited! I usually use them for Chinese soups or herbal drinks! Thanks for all the wonderful tips. Have a nice day!

  9. I really need to get a slow cooker as I never did replace the old one. I've been like Susan, debating it but it certainly would make meal time easy. Which one would you recommend? Thanks for the great tips, Linda!

  10. I never knew there were people who thought the slow cooker and crockpot were two different things..lol I LOVE mine! This looks like such a wonderful cookbook! believe it or not, people over here..as in the netherlands don't use a crockpot. When I went looking for one in the stores they looked at me like I had two heads. I finally found one and paid dearly for it. I dont use it as much as I did back home but mostly because the cuts of meats are waaaay more expensive over here.

  11. I recently got a "crockpot" type slow cooker, and just started using it. The one I got for a shower gift is the kind that the pan comes off and you can use it stove top to brown something if needed. I use that more for just cooking a chicken or pork, not a whole meal. Thanks for the tips, I needed them! Looking forward to more recipes!

  12. I love my slow cookers too Rita!

    Susan, get a small slow cooker. Wal-Mart has one for $10.00. You would use it I am sure!

    Kitchen Flavours, I would love to see your Chinese soup recipe! Is it posted on your blog?

    Pam, I have several different slow cookers, but the one I use the most is one my son got me for Christmas a few years ago. It is the Hamilton Beach 3 in One Slow Cooker. You get a 2 quart a 4 quart and a 6 quart crock so you always have just the size you need. It is like getting 3 slow cookers in one and it only takes up the space of one slow cooker. I love it! My mom uses the programmable Crock-Pot and she loves it! Don't tell her I know, but she is getting me one for Christmas.

    Sonya, I bet you have some funny stories about trying to explain what a slow cooker is! I am laughing just thinking about it!

  13. Great tips! thanks!
    I've always thought slow cooker and crock pot are the same. Except for a slow cooker that my mom had once... It was very shallow with a fitted lid and fit on a heat plate of some kind. She'd put a flat piece of meat in it with veggies and by the time we got home from church it was done.

  14. Lyndsy, I love that kind of slow cooker! It is one less pan you have to clean when you can brown in the same container that you slow cook in.

    McVal, I know for some people it is hard to believe that they are the same thing. Even though I had done research on the subject, I asked the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen to make sure I was right about them being the same.

  15. I still have my first Crock-Pot from 1974! And, it still works like a dream! Love it.

  16. Thanks Linda! I read the reviews, etc on Amazon for the Hamilton Beach and it sounds great. So I will be looking for it. Then I saw your recipe for Mexican Chicken Dish in your "My Kind of Cooking". That is a must try as soon as I get the slow cooker! Thanks again!

  17. I have yet to venture into the world of crockpot cooking. I need to break down and purchase one. I have heard so many good things about them, and your post certainly underscores this!


  18. I also love to come home from work to a nice hot dinner! I love my crockpot!

  19. I love my slow cooker!! great tips.

  20. Dear LInda, I am honoured by the appreciation you made in my blog and I am too happy and proud to get you as a follower....THanks a lot...pls do visit again....

    I am proud to follow you....will be in touch with you....

  21. Thanks for all of the tips! I'm really interested in this new cookbook. I've been trying to use my slow cooker more often (I think I'm impatient..)

  22. Usually i use slow cooker to cook Chinese herb chicken soup.

  23. I am a slow cooker/crock pot fan!!! I love adapting regular recipes for the slow cooker. Can't wait to get your cookbook. I love to find new recipes.

  24. I am a follower now! I love using my slow cooker!

  25. My "slow cooker" is a dutch oven on the Big Green Egg, ha ha.

    Actually we do own two slow cookers, both Rivals. We just don't use them a whole lot. Maybe I'll get your book for Alexis to give her some ideas.

  26. Great selection of books, I like the big illustrations, those could be the best companion for my brand new slow cooker

  27. love my slow cooker ,can't live without it! would love these cook books !