Amy's Blog

Slow Cooker Secrets

Slow Cooker Secrets

I can’t imagine life without it! My BFF these days is my slow cooker! Seriously! As a busy working mom it’s a life saver! If I can just get up five minutes earlier in the morning to throw a few ingredients in the slow cooker, I can handle whatever the day brings. No matter how crazy it gets, I just keep smiling. I know the house will smell amazing when I walk in the door and a delicious dinner will be waiting. Love that! Also, I love the fact that I don’t have to hit a fast food restaurant on the way home. That can get expensive, not to mention it’s not very good for you!

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you need to get one! I mean like today! If you do have a slow cooker and it’s harvest gold or avocado green and from the 1970’s, it may be time for a new one! LOL! The heating elements can burn out over time. Or, they just don’t work like they should.

After quite a bit of use, my slow cookers were also looking really beat up and just plain ugly. I was missing a lid. Let’s just say it was time! Big time! I’m a huge fan of my new 6 Quart Nesco Slow Cooker. I love it because I literally can leave it and forget it. It has a digital panel so I can set it to cook on low for 8 hours and if I don’t get home from work on time no big deal. After 8 hours it will automatically go to the warm setting so when I walk in dinner is done perfectly and the house smells amazing.

I’m teaming up with Nesco to spread the word about their slow cookers and some of their other great appliances, like their amazing roasters and digital pressure cookers. They are my key ingredients to getting dinner on the table for my family on crazy busy work days. Click Nesco to learn more!

Okay…time to share some of my slow cooking secrets and tips!

First of all use a slow cooker liner. They rock! You’ll find them right at your regular grocery store in the aisle with the foil and plastic wrap. No scrubbing the pot after dinner. Cleanup is a breeze! Love that! Don’t have a liner? At least spray your slow cooker well with cooking spray.

If you have the time to brown your meat in a skillet with a little oil before putting it in your slow cooker it can really boost the flavor! No time to do that? I get it. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day. Just make sure to season whatever you’re cooking really well.

Also, it’s important to have a great braising liquid. Don’t just use water. Think beer, wine, juices, stock, and cream soups. You want your dish to have great flavor!

Cheaper cuts of meat like beef chuck and rump roasts, and pork butt roasts are meant for the slow cooker. They need to be cooked low and slow so that they get tender and wonderful.

If you’re putting veggies like potatoes, carrots, and celery in with that roast, I like to wait until the last hour or two of cooking to add them. That way they won’t overcook.

When it comes to cooking chicken in the slow cooker, I use boneless chicken breasts rather than bone-in chicken. I don’t want to hassle with picking out the bones at the end of the night. I bet you don’t either. Chicken breasts cook much quicker than a beef or pork roast. They need just 4 to 5 hours on low. So, keep that in mind if you’re going to be gone longer than that. You can throw frozen chicken breasts in your slow cooker. They will take a little longer to cook than the thawed, about 6 hours.

Got leftovers? If your slow cooker has a removable stoneware liner, you can refrigerate that liner with its cover. Just make sure it cools down a bit before putting it in the fridge.

Keep a Lid on It! Resist the urge to take off the lid and peek at your meal. Opening the slow cooker lets heat escape and slows cooking. Only open it 30 to 45 minutes before the low end of the cooking range to check doneness.

So, what are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes? I have so many! In the winter, when it’s cold I crave all those great crockpot comfort foods like my Yankee Pot Roast.

Yankee Pot Roast

My Hot Beef Sandwiches are amazing, too!

Hot Beef Sandwiches

I can get a little fancy in my slow cooker too! My Heavenly Chicken served over angel hair pasta is totally company worthy!

Same goes for one of my all-time favorites my Just Leave it Beef and Wine. This recipe is near and dear to my heart. It was passed down to me from my grandmother. Just dump your cubed chuck roast, 3 cans of cream soups, dry onion soup mix and lots of dry red wine and like the recipe says, leave it!

Just Leave It Beef and Wine Ingredients and Nesco Slow Cooker

She served it with mushrooms over butter egg noodles. With a salad to start, bread, and a nice dessert it was always a hit at her dinner parties. Mine too! Click Always a Hit at My Dinner Parties to read more.

Just Leave It Beef and Wine

On the lighter side, try my Southwest Chicken Stew! It’s delicious, and nice and healthy too!

Slow cookers aren’t just for dinner! You can make delicious dips in them, like my Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip! It’s perfect for the big game!

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

You can make great sides in them too!

My Slow Cooker Stuffing is moist and delicious and frees up oven space.

Slow Cooker Stuffing - Yumm!

When I’m roasting a turkey there is just no more room in there. I make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes too and yummy Crockpot Glazed Carrots.

You can even make breakfast in your slow cooker. Throw together my Overnight Apple Oatmeal before you go to bed and wake up to a delicious breakfast! Not to mention your house will smell amazing!

Slow Cooker Apple Oatmeal

So this winter, why not give that slow cooker a workout? I have a whole chapter of slow cooker recipes in each of my 2 cookbooks. Click slow cooker recipes to see a bunch of recipes here on my website. I’m always working on new ones so check back soon! And, hey, if you have any good slow cooker recipes please share! I’d love to feature them on my website!

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