This guide is designed to help you adapt recipes to the Crock-Pot® slow cooker — your own favorites and prized recipes collected from friends, food companies, newspapers and magazines. Our aim is to save preparation time with fewer steps and dishes… and to keep cooking simple. In most cases, all ingredients can go into your slow cooker in the beginning and can cook all day. Many preparatory steps are unnecessary when using the Crock-Pot® slow cooker. A few hints:
- Allow sufficient cooking time.
- Cook with cover on.
- Do not add as much water as some recipes indicate.
- Remember — liquids don’t “boil away” as in conventional cooking. Usually you’ll have more liquid at the end of cooking instead of less.
- It’s “one-step” cooking: many steps in recipes may be deleted. Add ingredients to the stoneware at one time and cook as directed (add any liquid last).
- Vegetables do not overcook as they do when boiled in your oven or on your range. Therefore, everything can go into the slow cooker at one time. EXCEPTION: milk, sour cream or cream should be added during last hour of cooking.
PASTA AND RICE
If recipe calls for cooking noodles, macaroni, etc., cook before adding to slow cooker. Don’t overcook — just until slightly tender. If cooked rice is called for, stir in with other ingredients; add 1/4 cup extra liquid per 1/4 cup of raw rice. Use long grain converted rice for best results in all-day cooking.
Use less in slow cooking — usually about half the recommended amount. One cup of liquid is enough for any recipe unless it contains rice or pasta.
Generally not necessary! Stir in chopped or sliced vegetables with other ingredients. ONLY EXCEPTION: eggplant should be parboiled or sauteed, due to strong flavor. Since vegetables develop their full flavor potential with slow cooking, expect delicious results even when you reduce quantities. Because vegetables take longer to cook than meat, slice or chop them when possible.
HERBS & SPICES
Leaf or whole herbs and spices are preferred, but their flavor power may increase — use half the recommended amount. If you use ground herbs and spices, add during last hour of cooking.
Milk, cream and sour cream tend to break down during extended cooking. When possible add during last hour of cooking. Condensed soups may be substituted for milk, etc., and can cook for extended times.
Some soup recipes call for 2 to 3 quarts of water. Add other soup ingredients to slow cooker; then add water only to cover. If thinner soup is desired, add more liquid at serving time. If milk-based recipes have no other liquid for initial cooking, add 1 or 2 cups water. Then during last hour of cooking, stir in milk or cream as called for.
- Health professionals recommend that you get no more than 30% of your total DAILY calories from fat.
4 1/2 & 5 QUART MODELS
- All recipes in this book may be prepared as shown for the 4 1/2 and 5 quart model. If desired, recipes may be increased by one-half. When a recipe may be doubled, it will be indicated by a footnote, if a recipe is increased, cooking time may need to be extended.
- The size and shape of the 4 1/2 and 5 quart Crock-Pot® slow cooker is ideal for larger roasts (3 to 5 pounds), baking hens (3 to 4 pounds), and picnic hams (up to 5 pounds). These weights depend on shape, extended cooking times may be necessary for these larger cuts.
5 1/2 & 6 QUART MODELS
- Important: When using the 5 1/2 or 6 quart model, all recipes may be used but should be doubled according to the guidelines below:
- Liquids in soups, stews, sauces, or meat and vegetable combinations should be increased by one-half and not doubled. For example: the recipe in the book calls for 1 cup of liquid. Begin with 1 Vi cups when doubling the recipe; add liquid only if necessary. NOTE: When doubling casserole recipes which contain rice or pasta, it is necessary to double the liquid along with other ingredients.
- Do not double strongly flavored food such onions or herbs and seasonings such as garlic, pepper or chili powder. Begin by increasing by one-half. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary, just before serving.
The size and meat cuts may also be increased. Follow these hints:
- Meat quantities in casseroles, soups, stews or sauces should be doubled.
When a recipe calls for “One whole 3-pound fryer”, use two whole chickens of a similar weight.
- Beef roasts, pork roasts or hams should be increased but not doubled because vegetables are included due to the size and shape of the meat cuts. Use 4 to 5 pound roast or ham.
- Trim fats and wipe meats well to remove residue. (If meats contain fats, brown in a separate skillet or broiler and drain well before adding to cooker.) Season with salt and pepper. Place meat in cooker on top of vegetables.
- For roasts and stews, pour liquid over meat. Use no more liquid than specified in the recipe. More juices in meats and vegetables are retained in slow cooking than in conventional cooking.
- Most vegetables should be thinly sliced or placed near the sides or bottom of the stoneware. Meats generally cook faster than most vegetables in a slow cooker.
- Use whole leaf herbs and spices for best and truest flavor for all-day cooking. If ground herbs and spices are used, they should be stirred in during the last hour.
- Because there is no direct heat at the bottom, always fill the stoneware at least half full to conform to recommended times. Small quantities may be prepared, but cooking time will be affected.
- A specific liquid called for in a recipe may be varied if an equal quantity is substituted.