Tuesday, February 1, 2011

{A Load of Crock: Crock-Potty Training!}

{For those of you who are like me...{you haven't done a whole lot of slow cooking until now} I hope this is helpful! This is a compilation of all my research and trial and error over the last couple months. This was a really fun month of blogging to plan out and I really hope you enjoy it! Please Please Please feel free to leave comments with suggestions, tips, recipe links, or any other wisdom you would like to contribute! I hope this can be a very community focused month and we can all get to know each other better :) So lets get started! First and foremost you will want to gather your materials...}

{Slow Cooking Staples}

:measuring cups
:measuring spoons
:a large measuring pitcher if you have one
:chicken broth
:spices {good spices to have on hand are all spice, thyme, bay leaves, cinnamon, seasoned salt and of course salt and pepper.}

{I’m sure we all have books full of recipes we love but don’t really know how we could make these old favorites into slow cooking friendly meals. It’s not as hard as you would think. If you follow these general guidelines, you can make all your favorite dinners into easy set it and forget it meals.}

How to convert a recipe for your slow cooker:

{cook time guidelines}

normal cook time                                            slow cook time

           15-30 mins                                                      4-6 hrs on low or 2 hrs on high
               35-45 mins                                                      6-10 hrs on low or 3-4 hrs on high
              1-3 hrs                                                             8-18 hrs on low or 4-6 hrs on high

{Remember you will need to keep an eye on you cooker the first time you convert a recipe because this does involve some guess work on your part. Try to resist the urge to  lift the lid on your cooker though, as you will let out your “oh so important” heat! It can end up altering the cook time of your recipe. I recommend getting a crock pot with a clear lid so you can see in and not be tempted to “peek”.}

{Some general rules for altering a recipe for the slow cook method}

+When making soups be sure to add your liquids such as broth, water, or cream last. Some recipes will call for cooking veggies or meat first and then adding broth later on.
+Cook your veggies at the same time as your meat. You don’t need to pre cook your veggies either, though they should be cut into somewhat smaller pieces. Happily you don’t need to worry about overcooking veggies in a crock pot because it cooks so slow. A meat and veggie combo should cook for somewhere in the range of 4 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low.
+always add dairy such as milk, sour cream, yogurt, or cream later in the cooking process, as they should be refrigerated until you must add them.
+Always reduce herbs and spices by half the normal amount, otherwise they can be quite strong. You can always season more later but you usually can’t season less.
Pasta should be cooked before being added to your cooker
+when cooking rice use a 1/4 cup of extra liquid for every 1/4 cup of rice you use.

{Planning Ahead}

{When slow cooking it is best if you can plan ahead. This could mean running to the grocery store, thawing your meat, or simply choosing your recipe (especially if you need to convert it). After all, a slow cooked meal cannot be started 10 minutes before dinner. By planning your meals in advance you can save time and money for yourself in the long run. For example, on Monday you can roast a chicken for dinner, on tuesday you can use the carcass to make broth, Wednesday night you can have soup for dinner, and Thursday can be fried rice using any leftover chicken bits. You can extend this even more depending on the size of your chicken and the demands of your family. If it’s just you and maybe one other person, you could stretch it out for most of the week! I can see your grocery budget shrinking all ready! :)}

{See you guys tomorrow!}

.::love ali::.


  1. I love this! Thanks for sharing. It's such a pain to get home at 5:30 and try to figure out supper. This will definitely come in handy!

  2. I'm so glad you're doing this! We received an awesome slow cooker as a wedding gift and I really want to make the most of it.

  3. My mother-in-law is making a slow cooked lamb and lentil curry as I write this. the bonus of slow cooking is that it makes your house smell yummy all day long!!!
    Jess @ Kiddins

  4. I totally agree Jess!! And i miss youuuuu!!!

  5. Maybe this will motivate me to use our new slow cooker that has never been used.

  6. I'm really excited about this. I can sure use the help!

  7. Here is a great easy/inexpensive recipe that is super good!

    Cheesy Chicken

    Place 4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts in your crock pot and cover with 2 cups of your favorite salsa. Cook at high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
    After 4-6 hours, remove the chicken breasts to a plate and shred with a fork. Return to crock pot.
    Cut 12 ounces of Velveeta cheese (or similar product) and add to chicken and salsa. Continue to cook on low until cheese is melted, stirring to combine all ingredients.
    Serve with corn chips or wrapped in a tortilla.
    Hope you enjoy!