When you’re cooped up during social distancing, you may not want to make extravagant meals nor do you want yet another TV dinner. What’s the perfect solution? Slow cooker meals! They’re both easy and delicious. But unless you’re an expert, you probably make mistakes. Here’s the top mistakes to look out for!
1) Adding Frozen Food
It is not recommended to cook frozen meat as there is a risk that bacteria could grow before the meat reaches a safe temperature. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight or a simple defrost in the microwave before adding it to the pot.
2) Taking A Peek
This is one that is hard to resist. The house smells amazing and you want to make sure everything is going smoothly. But just one peek into the crockpot can add up to thirty minutes to your cook time. So resist the temptation and wait.
3) Buying Expensive Cuts
When you use a slow cooker, know that your meat will be tender. So don’t waste your money on high-end steak. You could have filet mignon tenderness with the cheapest cut the supermarket has. Go ahead and try it yourself.
4) Using The Wrong Size Of Cooker
We usually use what we have on hand. But use a cooker that is too small and you food won’t cook, use one that is too large, and it’s like cooking in a skillet. Find the right size for your family and stick with it. Or buy a multi-pack with different sizes.
5) Using Chicken With The Skin On
Cooking chicken with skin in the oven or stovetop is ideal. You get that nice crispy sear that you know you love. But try it in the crockpot and you’re left with mushy, slippery skin. If you like the skin, try cooking your chicken in the oven until the skin is golden before using it in the crockpot.
6) Adding Fresh Herbs Too Early
Normally, fresh herbs are the way to go. But when it comes to crockpots, you can usually steer clear and go for pre-packaged dry herbs. If you do add fresh ones, make sure you do it minutes before the food is done.
7) Not Searing Your Meat
How often does a recipe say sear the meat first and you just forget it and throw the raw meat into the pot? This is a big no-no. If you want the highest quality meals possible, sear your meat first and you won’t be sorry.
8) Incorrect Layering
Layering your veggies, meat, and so on incorrectly can result in uneven cooking and even raw food. Follow the recipe to a tee to avoid this, and when in doubt, place root vegetables on bottom and meat on top. Fast cooking veggies can go on top of everything.
9) Cooking Dairy Products
Any chef will tell you that cooking dairy in a pot is rarely ideal. Even a slow cooker can’t cook it slow enough. If you do have to add dairy to your recipe, mix and cook it beforehand and add it near the end of your cook time.
10) Using Too Much Alcohol
Some recipe call for alcohol. This is fine. But when you’re cooking your food slowly, it may not get hot enough to eliminate the alcohol content and will leave your food saturated. Cut back on the amount and you will thank yourself later.
Check out the video below for the full description on each point!
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