Author Topic: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?  (Read 3869 times)

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Julian

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2013, 07:26:59 PM »
Hi Redsoil

Second to Iris on the supermarket slow cooker sauce packs.

Another thing to try is tinned soup - tomato or cream of mushroom soups can make a really nice casserole type meal.  Add them to diced beef or lamb, add in some of your favourite veges, a bit of garlic and any other seasoning you like, and let it do its thing.

If you like corned silverside, it's also a great way to cook it.  The beef comes out very tender.

It's hard to go too wrong with slow cookers, just adjust to your own taste and go for it.

Giggity

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2013, 07:28:51 PM »
So, um, you like bacon? Especially bacon you can spread on stuff?

This one, this one right here. http://www.marthastewart.com/326881/slow-cooker-bacon-jam

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blarg314

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2013, 11:40:37 PM »

I hadn't heard of the slow cooker packs before - slow cookers aren't common where I live, and I've ended up making my own sauce packs (reducing a combination of stock and wine to about 1/5 the original volume, or using powdered coconut milk, for example) because otherwise recipes come out very soupy.

A few things I've found via experimenting:

With modern crock pots, cooking all day (ie, setting it before going to work) overcooks everything except chickpeas and home-made chicken stock. I bought a timer for the outlet, as I've found that 8 hours is an absolute maximum to avoid dry meat. Yes, you can cook meat for ten hours in liquid and have it come out like cardboard. (apparently, modern crockpots are hotter for food safety reasons, so they take less time than older ones for the same level of done-ness).

Cheap tough meat is best. Beef shanks work amazingly well, pork shoulders with the fat trimmed off, chicken thighs and legs rather than breasts.

Pre-sauteeing onions makes the food tastes much better than tossing in sliced raw onions. Browning the meat is nice, but not as necessary.



Zilla

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2013, 08:16:59 AM »

I hadn't heard of the slow cooker packs before - slow cookers aren't common where I live, and I've ended up making my own sauce packs (reducing a combination of stock and wine to about 1/5 the original volume, or using powdered coconut milk, for example) because otherwise recipes come out very soupy.

A few things I've found via experimenting:

With modern crock pots, cooking all day (ie, setting it before going to work) overcooks everything except chickpeas and home-made chicken stock. I bought a timer for the outlet, as I've found that 8 hours is an absolute maximum to avoid dry meat. Yes, you can cook meat for ten hours in liquid and have it come out like cardboard. (apparently, modern crockpots are hotter for food safety reasons, so they take less time than older ones for the same level of done-ness).

Cheap tough meat is best. Beef shanks work amazingly well, pork shoulders with the fat trimmed off, chicken thighs and legs rather than breasts.

Pre-sauteeing onions makes the food tastes much better than tossing in sliced raw onions. Browning the meat is nice, but not as necessary.


How long does the meat in the crockpot stay after the timer turns off the power? 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2013, 09:20:58 AM »
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.
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Zilla

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2013, 09:29:20 AM »
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?

EmmaJ.

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2013, 10:06:21 AM »
The biggest mistake i made at first with my crockpot was adding too much liquid. I was going to cook beef to turn into beef stew.  i added the beef cubes then filled the crockpot to the brim with water.  :( That stew ended up pretty much inedible.

Liquid just doesn't evaporate in a crockpot like it does in the oven or on a stovetop. You can get by with as little as a tablespoon for some dishes!

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2013, 11:00:33 AM »
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?

If you pull the meat out of the fridge in the morning, put it straight in the crock pot, then head to work, at most, it would be sitting out for an hour or two.  It is then going to be thoroughly cooked.  I probably wouldn't do this with chicken but beef or pork?  It wouldn't bother me.  YMMV.
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2013, 11:18:50 AM »
I use a crockpot with an internal timer.  The options are 4 or 6 hours on high, or 8 or 10 hours on low.  After the time is up, it switches to warm, which keeps it at a food-safe temperature.
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amylouky

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2013, 12:03:58 PM »
My favorite is white chicken chili. It's pretty hard to mess up. I'm not a great cook either, but everyone seems to love this chili.

My recipe, such that it is:
In the morning, put 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, put in about 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, and salt/pepper to taste. Add about 2 cups of water, and cook on low (I generally put it on before leaving for work, so it cooks about 8 hours, but I've had DH put it in at noon so it cooks for 4-5 hours and it's still fine, maybe just a little less fall-aparty).

When chicken is done, skim the fat off the top of the crockpot water, and shred the chicken.

In a skillet, saute a tablespoon of minced garlic, 1/2 a small onion (diced), and a can of green chilies in olive oil. When tender, add to the crockpot.

I use canned beans because they're just easier. I get one of the big jars of great northern beans, and add it to the crockpot.

Another teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of pepper (I use white but black works too), a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper gets dumped in at this point. Also, add enough water or chicken broth until the chili is your desired thickness.

Stir well, let simmer for another 45 mins to an hour, and serve with mozzarella cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

And now I want chicken chili for dinner.  ;D

alkira6

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2013, 01:04:09 PM »
Best slow cooker recipe?  Slow cooked sirloin.

I package sirloin ( I just grab a tray of sirloin from Sam's, so I have no idea how much meat this is).

rinse meat, sprinkle both sides with Tone's Candian Steak Seasoning, layer in crock pot and turn on the lowest setting.  Come back in 6-8 hours and throw in baby carrots, shallots, and cubed yellow potatoes. Do not stir.  Put the lid back on and leave it on low for another 2 hours.  Serve with yeast rolls.

This is the best ever!  when you get down to maybe a cup of meat, throw it back in the crock pot with broth and veggies and in 2-3 hours you have some very good soup.

Redsoil

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2013, 06:47:35 AM »
All posts have been very helpful - thank you!  Slowly adding to my knowledge-base at this stage, so the hints and tips have been most welcome.  (Especially the info about not using too much water.)
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jpcher

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2013, 03:59:41 PM »
Italian Beef Sandwiches --

4 lbs chuck roast. 1 pkg Italian salad dressing powder mix.

The night before, rub the meat with the dressing mix, put in the crock-pot inner bowl and refrigerate over night. Slice onions (and if you like, bell peppers. I don't like green bells, which is a standard for Italian beefs, so I omit these)

In the morning, add 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar, 1 cup+ beef broth (optional) and enough water to just cover the meat.

Cook on high for 8 hours.

When you get home from work, fork-shred the meat, add the onions (and peppers) along with another package of powdered Italian dressing mix, or seasonings of your choice. Mix well.

Cook it on low for maybe another hour (until the onions get tender.) This gives you time to prepare a salad, oven-baked frozen french fries, or whatever side you wish.

Added bonus -- put the meat mixture on open-faced french rolls, cover with a few slices of mozzarella cheese and broil until the cheese is melted.

Serve with the liquid (au jus) on the side for dipping and possibly some Giardiniera.

blarg314

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2013, 08:52:04 PM »
I think blarg314 means that she uses a timer to have the crock pot come on 8 hours before she wants to serve the meal, not that she has the crock pot shut off after 8 hours of cooking.

That way, the meal would be piping hot and fresh.


So the raw meat sits in the crock pot at room temperature?  I would think that wouldn't be good?

You pull the pre-prepared crock pot out of the fridge and drop it in the element before leaving for work, setting the timer for about two hours later, at which point the dish will still be approaching room temperature. Then you can set the timer to turn off an hour before you get home, by which point the food is still piping hot - a ceramic crock pot bowl full of food has a fair amount of thermal inertia, and doesn't heat up or cool off quickly.

Food safety wise, it's still very safe, and similar to a recipe that asks you to bring your steaks to room temperature before grilling them, for example.  I wouldn't do that with pre-ground hamburger, mind you, but I try to avoid eating that in the first place.

I will note that I've been living outside of North America for about eight years now, and I've managed to shake off some of the conviction that eating food that's been outside of the refrigerator for more than 20 minutes is going to cause you to die horribly.  :)

Iris

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Re: Horrible cook requests help. Slow cooker salvation?
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2013, 11:17:58 PM »
My slow cooker has 3 settings - low, high and auto. I set it on low in the morning and it will take 10-12 hours to cook the food. If I'm slack and home I put it on auto at about lunch. Auto will shift between low and high and cook in about half the time. High is really just like a saucepan and is only really for heating stuff up. Isn't this standard? I've never seen a slow cooker with a timer at all, so I'm curious.
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