Do you ever look at your slow cooker longingly and wish you could make tonight’s dinner in it, but it’s not made for a crock-pot? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to convert that recipe to work with your slow cooker? You can adapt traditional recipes, and it’s fairly easy but there are a few things you need to know, and I’m here to tell you what they are.
Add your vegetables in the last 15-30 minutes of cooking, especially if they are fresh vegetables. If you are using frozen vegetables, those should go in 30-45 minutes before the meal is ready.
Pasta is best if added the last hour of cooking so you don’t get noodles that fall apart. You should also boil them for about 7 minutes before adding them. The alternative is to just cook the pasta separately and add to the finished slow cooker meal.
If your recipe calls for dried beans, soak them first before adding them to the slow cooker. You will need to soak them until they are completely soft or they won’t cook properly.
If your recipe calls for dairy products of any kind, including yogurt, milk, sour cream, cheese, etc. those need to be added during the last hour of cooking. You can substitute cans of condensed cream of soups for the dairy called for in recipes because they can handle a longer cooking time, whereas dairy cannot.
Rice can go into the slow cooker dry. You will need to add an extra 1/4 cup of liquid BEYOND any the recipe calls for, for every 1/4 cup of rice you use. An alternative would be to cook the rice separate on the stove top just before the slow cooker is done. Add the COOKED rice to the slow cooker at the end (15-30 mins) if you’d like to mix the flavors.
Liquids in Traditional Recipes
Liquids are funny in the crockpot, sometimes you wind up with too much. Best suggestion is to reduce the amount of liquid the recipe calls for by about 1/4-1/2 when you’re making it in the slow cooker.
Time Exchange for Traditional Oven or Stovetop to Slow Cooker
15-30 minutes original = 1.5–2 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low in the slow cooker
35-45 minutes original = 3-4 hour on high or 6-10 hours on low in the slow cooker
45 minutes – 3 hours original = 4-6 hour on high or 8-18 hours on low in slow cooker
If you’re a busy mom, I’m willing to bet that you use your crock-pot or slow cooker a lot. And if you’re not, you should definitely start doing it. It shaves off loads of time, you can even put together freezer meals that can be dumped straight into the slow cooker.
Your crock-pot can come in pretty handy when you’re actually doing once a month cooking too, because you can make a lot of food in one. I have two and I use one for meats, and one for vegetables (different cooking times) and then mix different meals together before freezing. It’s wonderful!
Do you use your crockpot very often?