Slow cook your way to happiness.
I’m in love with my crockpot. Who else could I get to cook dinner for me while I’m off doing other things? I’ve looked high and low for an Alice (from Brady Bunch fame) to come and help me out, but I can’t find or afford her. Crockpot to the rescue. And I’ve realized that a recipe doesn’t have to start out it’s life as a crockpot recipe. These tips will help you convert your favorite recipes, so they can cook themselves while you do more important things, like deal with your Marcia’s latest drama or find out who broke that vase while playing ball in the house.
1. Most soups can be made in the crockpot – Two things to keep in mind:
- Be careful when making cream soups in a slow cooker. You’ll need to add the milk or cream at the end of the cooking time.
- Make sure the recipe will fit in your crockpot. If it makes too much, you could cut the recipe in half or just use the crockpot to heat up leftovers for another time.
3. Use other crockpot recipes as inspiration or for cooking guidelines. I always made Calico Bean Soup on the stove. When I decided it needed to cook itself without me watching over it, I wasn’t sure how much liquid to use as I never measured that before, but went by what the beans needed. I found a recipe for a bean soup on A Year of Slow Cooking and went by those measurements. I also saw where Stephanie used chicken broth and decided that would be better than the water I was using. Her bean soup recipe was different (it might have been a black bean soup), but it held great ideas for converting my recipe.
4. Any baked meat can be done in a crockpot instead of the oven. Whole chicken, chicken pieces, roasts, chops etc. Add sauces and seasonings, put the lid on and let it do its thing.
5. Most recipes that finish in the oven or have some baking time can be made in a slow cooker. Try to figure out what the time in the oven is doing for the food. Is it intended to crisp, thicken, heat, cook from raw to well done? For instance, Honey Mustard Chicken Wings were to be browned on the stove, sauce added and then finished in the oven. This would have kept the sauce thicker, like a glaze. I decided that I could live without the pretty glaze and a thinner sauce was ok for me too, so I finished them off in the crockpot.
6. Recipes that have cooking time on the stove top can also be done in the crockpot. We’ve covered soups already, but other recipes like Chicken ala King, taco meat, or even hot sandwich fillings, like Sloppy Joes or Sloppy Cubanos can be fixed and ready to go by dinner. If the recipe calls for ground meat, that will need to be browned first. Most of these types of recipes can be done on low.
Have you found happiness with your crockpot?