Fix and forget slow-cooker meals
Linda gives tips on dishing up simple suppers using today’s popular kitchen appliance.
Buying a slow-cooker
One with at least 400 watts will quickly bring food from the refrigerator up to the correct temperature.
Look for one with a see-through lid. You can see the food without lifting the lid. Each lift adds 15 to 30 minutes cooking time.
Make sure there is a safety turn off.
The maximum amount of liquid in the pot should be 3/4 full. Liquids tend to spill out of an overfilled cooker and can stain the electrical base.
Moisture accumulates on the inside of the cover and drips down into the pot, increasing the quantity of liquid in the pot.
When adapting a favorite recipe to the slow cooker, use less than half the liquid originally called for.
Root vegetables take more time to cook than meats or poultry. Place root vegetables on the bottom of the pan and the meat on top.
Spray the inside of the sow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray before adding ingredients to make clean-up easier.
The stoneware pot will crack if exposed to dramatic changes in temperature. Allow the hot pot to cool before adding cold water to it. Avoid placing the hot pot on a cold surface or on a hot stove burner.
*From 51 Fast and Fun Slow Cooker Recipes by Dolores Kostelni, Collectors Press, Inc.
Food should be a kept at less than 40 degrees or higher than 140 degrees.
Meat ingredients should be placed in the slow cooker directly from the refrigerator.
On-air Food News and Views Slow-Cooker Recipe
Mango Chutney-Chicken Curry
4 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 lb.) skin removed
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas or green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (9 oz.) jar mango chutney
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In 3 1/2-to-4-quart slow cooker, layer chicken breast halves, beans, onion, bell pepper and sugar snap peas. In a small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients; mix well pour into slow cooker.
Cover; cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours.
Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous. Offer small bowls of traditional curry toppers, such as toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, raisins and mango chutney to pass at the table.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury Slow Cooker Recipes, Clarkson Potter publisher