Admit it or not, everyone wants a go in the kitchen. Cooking is a fantastic skill to have, not to mention it adds to a person’s charisma. In the golden age of technology, it’s so easy to learn and one does not need to start making fancy meals like a top chef. Start simple. Like slow cooker meals! They’re easier to do and quite delicious. And if you’re wondering about the dont’s, then here you go.
1.) Taking a peek
So you’re excited and curious. We get it. But the slow cooker wants you to resist peeking. Why? It took all that time to cook your meal and opening the lid to peek CAN actually add thirty more minutes to your cooking time. Fight the urge brought about by the smell and colors. Like the great Jedi Masters say, Patience, young padawan.
2.) Using expensive cuts
Don’t spend so much on pricey meats. The slow cooker has the power to make any cut tender and juicy. Trust us, you can get away with using cheaper cuts. Go on and see for yourself. Your wallet will thank you later.
3.) Not searing the meat first
When a recipe says to sear the meat first, do it. Searing caramelizes the meat’s surface, enhancing that wonderful meaty flavor. Don’t miss the quality of a well-seared meat. Plus, it looks really cool when plated.
4.) Cooking skin-on chicken
Who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin? Cooked in a pan on a stove or an oven, chicken skin becomes golden brown with a wonderful texture. But in a crock pot? It becomes mushy and sort of rubbery in texture. Unappetizing. Like searing, do so first on a stove top before popping it in to the slow cooker.
5.) Fresh herbs
No, that’s not a typo. For slow cookers, dry herbs are preferred. They work better over a longer period of cooking. If you must use fresh herbs, don’t add them at the very beginning of cooking. Toss them in at the end so they keep their freshness and flavors.
6.) Using the wrong size
One size does not fit all. The right size makes all the difference in the world. Use one that’s too small and your food won’t really cook. Use one that’s too big and you guessed it, overcooked. Get the right size for you and the number of heads you’re cooking for.
7.) Adding dairy too soon
Milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, and the like too early in the process then you’d better have your bathrooms ready. It will mess up your insides good as dairy products do not like warm temperatures. Add them in the last half hour to allow them to blend properly into the dish. Careful now.
8.) Using too much alcohol
Alcohol. Now we’re talking. But just like drinking, too much of it spoils the fun. At least for crock pots. The idea is to let the alcohol content evaporate but with the lid on tight, then nothing’s really escaping. Not unless you want your food to taste like wine.
9.) Cooking with frozen food
It’s not a good idea to toss in frozen food, especially meat straight in to the slow cooker. The risks of bacteria and food poisoning are all too real here. Thaw it overnight or until it’s the right temperature before cooking. Don’t get sick.
10.) Not layering correctly
It may look like it but it doesn’t cook evenly all the way through. Food at the bottom cooks faster. So root vegetables and the like go in first, followed by meat which cooks faster. When in doubt, layer it out.
11.) Not greasing
Save yourself a lot of cleaning time by using slow cooker liner or cooking spray. Your elbows and arms will be grateful.
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