One pot wonders
3/21/2017 1:44 PM
Preparing meals in a crock pot can be both convenient and delicious. Here are five tips to ensure successful slow cooking.
1. Plan Your Meals Ahead
On the night before, cut and trim any meat, chop any vegetables, measure out dry ingredients and prepare any sauce.
2. Defrost First
If you are using frozen chicken or meat, defrost it first to ensure your food cooks all the way through to a safe internal temperature. Large pieces of chicken or cuts of roast will cook best when cut up.
3. Don't Overfill Your Slow Cooker
It might be tempting to fill your slow cooker to the top, but it should only be two-thirds full.
4. Don’t Pop the Top
Resist peeking at your meal and removing the lid often. Opening the slow cooker lets heat escape and slows the cooking. Only open it 30 to 45 minutes before the end to check doneness.
5. Temper the Temperature
Bacteria thrives in temperatures below 140°F, so don’t let your food stay in this ‘danger zone’ for long. Cook the food on high for the first hour and then turn it to low for the duration. Use a food thermometer if you are in doubt about the food’s internal temperature. Meat should reach 160°F and chicken should reach 165°F to be safe.