Healthy Slow Cooking Tips

Think you're too busy to cook? Hate having tons of dishes to wash? You may be a perfect candidate for slow cooking. It's as easy as tossing together fresh ingredients and turning on your cooker. Then when you come home after a long day at work, your meal is hot and ready to serve. Slow cooking is simple, and with a few tweaks, it can be healthy too. Turn your favorite recipes into slow cooked meals or experiment with classic flavors like chicken, bell peppers, onions and carrots.

Healthy Tips:

  • Like most recipes, it all starts with the ingredients. Choose lean cuts of meat or trim the fat off the meat you decide to cook.
  • When using soups or sauces, opt for low sodium and if possible organic.
  • If you want to reduce the fat even more, refrigerate your soup before cooking. The fat will rise to the top and you can easily scoop it off without losing flavor.
  • Don't add salt. Try a variety of fresh herbs or spices first, they are flavorful and fill your home with a mouth-watering aroma.

Slow Cooking Tips:

  • The flavor of leaf or whole herbs will intensify, so add half the amount a regular recipe calls for. Add ground herbs and spices during the last hour.
  • If you trying a recipe that is not for slow cooking, reduce liquids by half. One cup of liquid is usually enough.
  • Cube meat to ensure complete cooking. To speed it up more, brown meat in a pan beforehand. Make sure all the meat you're adding is thawed out.
  • Vegetables cook slower than meat in a slow cooker, so place them in the bottom and around the sides of your cooker. Then add the meat and the liquid.
  • Don't peak while your meal is cooking. Losing the steam and heat adds more cook time.
  • Dry beans should be cooked for 10 minutes before adding them to the slow cooker.
  • Cook pasta and rice before adding to cooker. Then add them at the end of cooking to warm.
  • Add dairy products, including milk and sour cream, during the last hour of cooking.

Slow Cooking Times:

  • Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require at least 8 hours cooking on low (between 165 and 200 degrees F).
  • If a conventional recipe says:
    • Cook for 15 to 30 minutes: Slow-cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
    • Cook for 35 to 40 minutes: Slow-cook on low for 6 to 10 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
    • Cook for 50 minutes to 3 hours: Slow-cook on low for 8 to 18 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Recipes:

Crock-Pot Beef Tips with Mushrooms
Crock-Pot Chicken Adobo
Crock-Pot Chicken Mole
Spicy Crock-Pot Roast Beef

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