Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Stovetop to Slow Cooker

Put a few ingredients in a slow cooker, turn it on, and come home at the end of the day to a hearty homemade supper. Here are some hints for getting top results every time.

Convert Your Favorites
You can adapt many conventional recipes for the slow cooker. Any oven or stovetop recipe that has some moisture in it—whether from water, broth, wine, sauce, or canned soup—should work beautifully in your favorite appliance. Just keep these things in mind:
•Cut all liquid amounts in half when adjusting recipes for the slow cooker.
•The low heat setting is approximately 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and high heat is about 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
•For every hour you'd cook something in the oven or on the stove, allow 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. (When in doubt, turn it on low and leave it all day or overnight.)

Meat Matters
While you can cook just about any kind of meat in the slow cooker, some are better candidates than others. Chicken on the bone and cheaper, tougher cuts of beef, pork, and lamb turn succulent and fork-tender under the gentle, moist heat of the slow cooker.

Hint: for maximum flavor and a more appetizing color in the finished product, remove the skin from poultry and trim visible fat from meats, then coat the meat lightly in flour and brown it in a hot skillet before adding it to the slow cooker.

The Finishing Touches
As your dish nears the end of its cooking time, it's time to add the finishing touches. If there seems to be too much liquid, remove the lid and turn the pot up to high, allowing some of the water to cook out.
•If you'd like to thicken or enrich the sauce, now is the time to stir in cream, sour cream, shredded cheese, or a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in a little cold water. The liquid needs to boil in order for the cornstarch to thicken it into a sauce.
•Brighten up the flavors with salt and pepper, lemon juice, or vinegar, and maybe a handful of fresh chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro.

Along with these hints from, be sure to read the tips on how to adapt recipes from Hamilton Beach®.

Hamilton Beach®: How to Adapt Recipes
You can convert your favorite recipes to slow cooker recipes if you learn these important differences first:
1.Liquids do not evaporate in a slow cooker. So unless you are cooking rice, pasta, or beans, reduce amount of liquid to 1/2 of the amount called for in your recipe.
2.Fresh vegetables produce the most desirable results. Potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic should be washed and cut in uniform pieces, then placed in the bottom of the crock. Canned and frozen vegetables produce overcooked dishes.
3.When cooking rice or pasta, make sure you have an adequate amount of liquid for proper cooking. Converted rice will hold its shape better.
4.Tender foods such as pasta, asparagus, and snow peas should be added in the last hour of cooking.
5.Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and sour cream should be added in the last half hour of cooking.
6.Seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and fish should be added in the last 15-30 minutes of cooking. Once the recipe has finished cooking, add seafood and cook just until done.
7.Ground beef should be browned and drained before slow cooking to remove grease.
8.Spices and seasoning: slow cooking does not intensify spices. In the test kitchen, we recommend adding spices in the last hour of cooking.
9.Use fresh ingredients for the best results. Canned foods take less time to cook.
10.Time conversion chart for a slow cooker filled at least 2/3 full:

Conventional Recipe Time  
  Slow Cooker Time on High  
  Slow Cooker Time on Low  
30 min.
1 1/2 - 2 hrs.
3 to 4 hrs.
1 to 2 hours
4-5 hrs.
8-9 hrs.

What are some of your favorite stovetop recipes that you’ve recreated with your slow cooker?


Thesea re excellent tips for new people learning to use a slow cooker! Thank you!