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A bone in roast will cook faster than a boneless roast because the bone conducts heat.

Slow Cookers are a Cook’s Best Friend

Slow Cookers are a Cook’s Best Friend

Tips on cooking with slow cookers.

by Paula Deen Test Kitchen

More leisure time and a homemade meal?  Save money on groceries, use less electricity, and enjoy better flavor?  You bet! And with a slow cooker, you don’t even have to be there while your dinner cooks. 

With the invention of the original Crock-Pot® in the 1970s, we’ve been able to layer ingredients in our slow cookers, leave the house for work or play, and come home, hours later, to an inviting aroma-filled house and evening meal.  Rival still manufactures the Crock-Pot®, but many other manufacturers are in the game with competitive models. The “crockpot” moniker has become an icon for any slow cooker.

These days, choices are not limited to 2-temperature manual units; they also come programmable, with multiple time and temperature settings, countdown timers, built-in thermometers, and automatic temperature shifts to warm in case you are late getting home. There are slow cooker sizes and settings to fit your family’s individual needs. 

Though shape is not necessarily a deal breaker when purchasing, it is a consideration.  A money-saving attribute of slow cooking is that tougher, less expensive meats are rendered meltingly tender and juicy. Larger roasts and whole chickens fit better into an oval-shaped model and will cook more evenly, although you can trim them to fit into a round one.

It’s easy to adapt your favorite oven or stovetop recipes to slow cooker cooking. Regardless of yield, if your dish normally cooks in 15 to 30 minutes, you can count on 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours cooking in a slow cooker on High power or 4 to 6 hours on Low.  If it takes 35 to 45 minutes, you should allow 2 to 3 hours on High power or 6 to 8 hours on Low.  Main dishes like roasts and stews that cook up to 3 hours will take 4 to 5 hours on High or more than 8 hours on Low. For instance, Sweet Merlot Beef Stew should cook in about 4 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on low; after you brown the meat, add everything to the slow cooker for the total cooking time, including the onions and mushrooms.

Other tips for successful recipe conversion:

*To eliminate excess fat, remove skin from poultry and trim excess fat from meats before cooking.  Pre-brown meats, and drain before adding to the crockpot, especially ground meats.

*Brown chops and roasts to caramelize the outsides for richer flavor and attractive appearance. For Low Country Smothered Pork Chops, prepare the chops as directed and layer in the cooker with the strips of green pepper, onion, garlic, half of the broth, and Worcestershire.  Add more broth as needed to thin the gravy. 

*Vegetables, especially roots like potatoes, rutabagas, and carrots, cook more slowly than meats, so cut pieces uniformly and add them at the beginning.  (It can take 8 to 10 hours on Low for a “baked” potato to cook until tender!) Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup is a perfect example; just put all the ingredients into the slow cooker, reserving half a can of broth to add at the end of cooking, if necessary.  Let it cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours on High or 4 to 6 hours on Low. 

*Most stews, soups, and other braised dishes require less liquid. If you end up with too much, pour it into a saucepan and reduce it until flavorful and thickened. If you need more liquid, it can be added at the end of the cooking time.

*Cheese, milk, cream, and other dairy: Add dairy products close to the end of cooking.

*Uncooked rice, however, requires standard liquid amounts.  It cooks fast, so add it to the slow cooker during the last hour of cooking on High or 2 hours on Low.  It is better to cook pasta separately and add it before serving.

*Most slow cooker liners are removable, allowing you to fill it up to a day before cooking. Remove the stone liner and assemble the casserole in it; cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.  You can prepare Chicken and Rice Casserole ahead and cook it 1 1/2 to 2 hours on High or 4 to 6 hours on Low or until it is hot, stirring in cheese during the last hour of cooking.

*Spices tend to loose their power during long, slow cooking; be ready to re-season towards the end.


More Delicious Paula Deen Slow Cooker Recipes to Try:

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Peppers

Slow Cooker Apple Onion Soup with Cinnamon Cheese Toast

Slow Cooker Smoked Sausage Sauerkraut Soup

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Spoon Cake

Slow Cooker Pulled Pickle Beef Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs and Sauce

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Reader Comments:

 

Today’s show:  January 19th, 2010

I love watching the show.  The recipes always look so good and tempting.
Today Paula made a chicken dinner, cherry cheese pie and deep fried mac and cheese.  I do have one suggestion though.  If you use the unsharp side of the knife to scoop up your food it will save your blades and save you on sharpening or buying new knives. 
I am really enjoying the slow cooking meals and the show.

Carol Carter of Oklahoma on January 19, 2010 01:46 PM

Dear Pauls
I am so happy you have slow cooker recipes.
I never liked them untill now but after being married for 42 years its time for me to slow down and take time for myself and slow cooking is just what I need. I love you and Michel and cant forget the kids and maybe one day I will get to meet you in person.
with all my love and cooken
Marsha

Marsha Burgin of Kelso, WA on January 20, 2010 11:45 PM

Where can I find the recipe for the picture at the top of this post?  It looks really good, but I can’t find the recipe anywhere!  Thanks

Kyla of Texas on January 22, 2010 12:11 AM

Kyla, all the recipes are linked in orange text.

Lisa the Admin of Savannah, GA on January 22, 2010 11:28 AM

Dear Paula
We watch your show religiously. You make everything look so good we can almost taste it through the TV! I’ve never been to Savanah but it’s on my list. My sister visited your restaurant and returned to Canada raving about it. I have one tip for you. I’ve seen you try to peel and cut a rutabaga and complain about how difficult and dangerous it is. Well, this is how I do it and it may make it easier for you. Before peeling, take a good big strong knife and cut the rutabaga in half. This gives you two semi-globes, each with a flat side. With the flat side down, cut downwards into 3/4-inch semi circles or slices. Peel each slice individually, cut into 1/2-inch strips and then dice. It’s far less dangerous than trying to peel whole.

Cheers,
David James

David James of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 23, 2010 11:15 PM

Paula - You are so special to our family!  We have met you at The Lady and Sons, and thoroughly enjoyed all of our visits.  Your recipes are very special to me also.  My Mother has always been such a gracious hostess, teaching me to serve really good food that doesn’t take days and lots of odd ingredients to make.  When you can cook the way you and my Mother do, your guests eat well, feel special because of the really good food they have been served and have a hostess who is not too worn out to enjoy her guests.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Donna McKinney of Greensboro, North Carolina on January 27, 2010 10:51 AM

Hey Paula
I’m so happy you have slow cooker recipes. Slow cookers makes life so much easier with a active 2 year old running around. Please post more and I love your recipes. Thank you so much

Rosie

Rosie of Pennsylvania on January 27, 2010 04:11 PM

I would LOVE to have the recipe from the stew on the home page….but I can’t find it. Could you please help. Thanks so much!!

Candi Staude on January 28, 2010 12:47 PM

Candi, are you speaking about the slow cooker picture in this article? If so, shown in the slow cooker is the Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs which is at the end of the article. If not let me know which one you need.
Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Food Editor

Libbie Summers on January 29, 2010 10:32 PM

Kyla, the recipe in the image above is for Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs.

Libbie Summers on January 29, 2010 10:34 PM

I enjoyed my visit to your Restaurant, I shopped in your store. I really had a great time, and would like to come back soon.

Carolyn Overton of Butner, N.C . 27509 on January 30, 2010 06:23 PM

I believe the picture on the home page is of the Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs recipe listed above. Click on the orange link for the recipe, and you will see the same picture on that page.

Judy of Michigan on January 30, 2010 11:33 PM

Candi & Kyla from postings above, The recipe for the stew on the home page and above is linked above, Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs.  No, I haven’t tried it, but I was determined to find the recipe myself! smile

Paula and staff,
So excited to discover today that Paula has her own website; I usually look on foodnetwork.com for Paula’s recipes.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of looking sooner!!  I was looking for the WONDERFUL Roasted Potato Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing…heaven on your plate. YUM!

Laura Burch of Holiday, Florida on January 31, 2010 12:09 PM

Hey Paula and fans -
For this slow cooker recipe section - you should really have included the mac and cheese recipe whihc is located elsewhere on your site - I have not personally made it *yet* - but from the reviews - it sounds incredible.

Also - just a note - I saw Miss Paula on Oprah and having never watched her show (I don’t have cable - only basic channels) I was touched by her warm, genuine, down to earth manner and her great sense of humor.  Best wishes to you and thanks for all the great recipes.
t.

Tammie T. McConnell of Ral NC on January 31, 2010 09:20 PM

Paula,
Where did you get the dish towel in the slow cooker picture (orange and brown with little brown bird)?  I have to have one of those - it matches perfectly with my kitchen!
Thanks!

jeni anderson of illinois on February 05, 2010 12:57 PM

Paula,
I, too, love that little dish towel! I am with Jeni from Illinois…where can we get those?
Thanks!

Christine English of Dallas, TX on February 05, 2010 02:27 PM

Hey Jeni and Christine! The fabulous dish towels were found on Etsy. Handmade by a wonderful girl named Angela Pingle. Paula loved them so Angela sent us a bunch for the show and for photos. You can reach her through her etsy store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweedledeeDesigns

Thank you so much for noticing!
Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Food Editor

Libbie Summers on February 05, 2010 04:43 PM

I am interested in getting the recipe of a pot roast that was shown on your tv show concerning slow-cooker recipes.  I believe it was made with a bottom round roast and had lots of onion, carrots, possibly garlic, and was possibly covered with tomato soup or something else.  Could you give me some possibilities?  Thanks so much!

nancy.judas of Waterloo, Iowa on May 06, 2010 03:00 PM

Quite some time ago I caught the end of your show with pulled pork sandwiches. I can only remember a few ingredients (apple juice, cider vinegar, liquid smoke), so I need more of a complete recipe before trying it!

Thanks!

Dianna Myers of Grants, New Mexico on June 19, 2010 04:36 PM

Love her and just found this site and you can bet I will be looking forward to seeing the site everyday…I am a diabetic and wish she could cook and bake more things for us to see..love   Judy

Judy Stoneburner of Midland, Michigan on July 26, 2010 09:49 AM

I love this website, I’ve found so many useful, delicious recipes.  I have EVERY issue of the Paula Magazine and EVERY cookbook you’ve written, and I think I have every special magazine you have come out with.  For Christmas my husband surprised me with a set of Paula Deen Cookware and I must admit it’s the best cookware ever.  I previously had Magnalite that I have used 39 years and never thought I’d like any other kind but PAULA YOU PROVED ME WRONG.  I accidently burned some dried beans in one of the pots and I mean burned them bad.  I just knew my pot was ruined.  Imagine my surprise when I put water in the pot, made one (yes one) swish with a paper towel and the whole burned mess came out of the pot…..I’M WAS AMAZED.  PAULA, YOU HAVE HAVE IT GOING ON GIRL!!!!  Love You, Michael, your boys and that precious grandson.  Shirley Burchett of Caddo Mills, Texas

Shirley Burchett of Caddo Mills, Texas on August 17, 2010 05:45 PM

i also love this website. i use it for all my recipe questions. for Xmas my daughter bought me the set of red pots and pans, i truly love thisset of pans. the first set since i was married 23 years ago! i have never met you paula, but would love to. so if you are ever in the spanaway, wa. area come on by and see me!!

traci long of spanaway, wa. on October 04, 2010 03:35 AM

Ms Paula,
Everywhere I go I have people tell me that I remind them of you. The way I look, the way I dress, etc. From NC and I cant pull off your accent. If I ever get the chance to be on the show that makes ladies over to look like a celeb, Im going to beg them to have me favor you more. Learning more and more from your cooking hints and I need the help. Continue in success. Respectfully Nancy.

Nancy Adams of Winterville NC on October 27, 2010 10:48 AM

Slow cooking is normally identified with big hearty dishes like stews etc.  Nice to see some fresh dishes.  slow cooking is found in alot of cultures.  A traditional moroccon slow cooker is called a tagine.

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