Slow cooking is the perfect way to cook delicious meals without spending hours in the kitchen. Here are a 21 tips and tricks to turn your slow-cooked meals from good to great.
1. Ensure that the temperature is between 165 degrees and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the appropriate temperature for low-heat cooking. Most slow-cooker models are set to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but make sure you confirm the temperature beforehand.
2. Higher temperatures may cause your food to stick. You can convert your recipe’s High settings to Low by doubling the cooking time.
3. Use high settings for the first 8 hours when slow cooking meats and poultry. This will ensure that the heat destroys bacteria.
4. Do not overfill the slow cooker. Make sure it is at least half-full so your food cooks thoroughly.
5. If you are tempted to peek into the cooker and stir the food, resist the temptation! Opening the lid will require you to extend the cooking time by another 20 minutes. SkinnyMs. recommends the Set and Forget Programmable Slow Cooker that lets you set the cooking time and avoid peeking.
6. Ensure the lid fits properly and seals the pot. Sealing the lid creates steam for cooking. It also prevents spills when travelling with your food. A slow cooker with clip-lock lid such as this Programmable Slow Cooker is ideal.
7. Make sure that the slow cooker is the right size. Small slow cookers are suitable for making dips while larger slow cookers are best for meals to feed the entire family. All SkinnyMs. recipes can be prepared in a 4 qt. to 7 qt slow cooker.
8. If you are in a high altitude area, increase your cooking time by 30 minutes for each hour indicated in the recipe. Foods such as legumes will take longer at high altitude.
9. You need adequate preparation time to ensure that your food cooks evenly. For example, in this Skinny Slow Cooker- Herb Chicken and Vegetables recipe, you can make the meal tastier by browning the chicken before adding it to the pot. Browning also improves the appearance and tenderness of poultry and meats.
10. Sautéing vegetables, such as carrots and onions, prior to slow cooking softens them and improves the flavor of the meal.
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