Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slow Cooker/Crockpot

Today we are going to talk about Slow Cookers and what to look for in one that you might want in your kitchen.

The basic ones have four settings; Off, Low, Hi and Warm.  You place it on the one you want and it cooks at that temperature until you change it.  The advanced ones are programmable and some even have probes.  These you can set the length of time at hi or low and then have it go to a warm holding cycle.  They are great for cooking one pot meals, soups and stews, large pieces of protein (beef, pork, lamb, chicken) and side dishes.

Older Slow Cookers and some on the bottom of the price range do not have removable crocks.  They still work well but are harder to clean up when you are done.  The crock is made of stoneware and is fairly non-stick.  The newer ones have a stoneware crock that is removable and thus easier to clean as you can submerge it in water.  That is something you can't do with the non-removable ones.

Slow Cookers mostly come in both round and oval shapes.  The main price range for them runs from around $30 to $80.  There are those that cost into 3 figures too.  The typical size runs from 4 to 6 quart.  Again, you can find them smaller and larger.  You can find a good variety of them at Kohl's and QVC for example.

Slow Cooker
I would recommend having a 6 quart oval Slow Cooker that is programmable.  The Slow Cooker that I have also has the probe.  It is a nice option but I really don't use mine that often.  This type is going to be in the $50 to$80 range.

I have had several over the years.  The ones in the lower price range have a tendency to have hot spots while cooking.  It will be along part of one side usually.  I have not noticed that in the ones from the higher end of the price range.

Slow Cooker Apart
If you haven't ever tried one, please ask a friend who has one what they think of a Slow Cooker.  I think you will find it really does help your lifestyle and saves you time.

Tomorrow is a recipe for "Chicken Wild Rice Soup" and it can be done in a Slow Cooker or on the stove top.  I hope you enjoy the soup.

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