New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Frequently Asked "A Year of Slow Cooking" Questions, Part II



I've gotten a slew of related questions the past few months, and while I absolutely LOVE answering questions (I really do, don't read this with sarcasm. The idea of actually helping real, breathing people in any way I can is exhilarating---please don't ever feel like you're bugging me with any of your questions. I promise if you're asking, somebody else already has. :-) ) I figured it might be helpful to round up some of the recent most frequently asked. 

Part I of Frequently Asked A Year of Slow Cooking Questions is located here.
and see: Slow Cooker Troubleshooting



1) How do you keep your slow cookers clean? 

I use Adam. HA! No, really, Adam is pretty much the slow cooker washer guy. He's an expert you know, one of his first jobs was washing dishes in the kitchen at the local hospital.

For the most part, I'd suggest emptying the stoneware as soon as you can. If you have leftover food, scrape it into a tupperware or some other sort of storage container. This isn't mandatory, you can certainly store the food safely in the fridge in the stoneware, but it is NOT recommended to reheat in the stoneware in the crock for leftovers, so you might as well clean it out on day 1.

If you have baked on gook, the absolute best way to get it off without ruining your manicure (HA! on the manicure. Although you can get a pretty nice pedicure...) is to fill the stoneware insert with hot water and add a tablespoon of dishwasher powder. 
Then float a fabric (dryer) softener sheet in the water and let it soak overnight. Then wash in the dishwasher, or by hand in the morning as usual. If you do not have the dryer sheets, a gollop of liquid fabric softener will do the trick, too.
DO NOT ever put a hot stoneware into your sink and fill it with cold water. It will crack. And then you'll be super sad.


As for the slow cooker base with the heating element, do NOT fill it with water, ever. Make sure to read the pamphlet that comes with your particular slow cooker for the manufacturer's suggested cleaning technique, but what I do is use a very slightly damp paper towel to wipe out any dribbles or a clorox wipe (I puffy heart love clorox wipes).


2) What's the difference between a Crock-Pot and a Slow Cooker? 
Nothing. Crock-Pot is a brand name of the first type of slow cooker, formally under the Rival label. There actually isn't such thing as a "crockpot"----although many people do call their slow cooker a "crockpot." There are many manufacturers of slow cookers on the market. These are the ones that I happen to use in my own home kitchen. 


3) What size slow cooker should I buy? 

It depends on what you are interested in cooking, and your family size. Slow cookers work the best when they are 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. The recipe times are for this amount of food---if your pot isn't full enough, the food will cook faster and might burn. If it's a bit too full, your food will take longer to cook than the suggested cooking times.

Before my year-long challenge, I had 2 slow cookers that I used for everything: a 5.5-quart Smart Pot and a 1.5 quart mini crock I got at a Black Friday sale at Walmart for $4.95 (score!) These pots served my family of 4 quite well until I started this challenge.

I then upgraded to a 6.5 quart eLume (I was given it from Crock-Pot), and that is now my new go-to. I also like the Hamilton Beach Set and Forget, especially the locking lid---it's fantastic for potlucks and travel. These are the slow cookers and accessories (hand mixer, pyrex/corningware inserts I happen to use in my own home kitchen.


For a family of 2-3, buy a 2-4-quart
For a family of 3-5, a 5-6-quart
For a large family, or for entertaining groups of people, opt for a 7-8 quart slow cooker
I adore my Little Dipper, and use it quite often for dips, fondues, and even as an air freshener!


4) What if I only have a huge slow cooker? Can I still make recipes that call for a smaller size? 
Yes. It's super easy. Simply insert an oven-safe dish (Pyrex, Corningware, etc.) into your large stoneware, and load the ingredients into the dish. 
This will create a smaller cooking vessel inside of your slow cooker. Then cover and cook like normal. It will take a bit longer for the dish inside to get up to temperature, but your food will cook just fine.
If you are cooking a dish (chicken, for instance, which has the tendency to dry out) and the recipes calls for a 4 quart, but you only have a 6 quart (this is an example...) put the ingredients into your slow cooker, then put a layer of foil or parchment paper down near the food to help trap in the steam and moisture near the food. Then cover and cook like normal. This is also a big help if your slow cooker has one of those super helpful (now this is sarcasm..) "vent" holes in the lid or in the side of the stoneware insert. 

PLEASE BE CAREFUL when removing the foil or parchment paper at the end of the cooking time. The steam will be quite hot and will shoot out. Keep small children far away.


5) Are all of your recipes gluten free? What about the ones in the book? 
Yes. We happen to be a gluten free family, because my 4 year old has been diagnosed with Celiac, which is an intolerance to gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye). The book is completely gluten-free, and all the recipes on this site have been made gluten-free. PLEASE! read all labels carefully on your own, because manufacturers are known to sometimes change ingredients with little-to-no warning.

If you are not gluten-free, simply ignore my notes and use the ingredients you normally would use when cooking for your family.

Want more info on going gluten free? I wrote about our journey a bit, here, and there are links at the bottom that will be helpful.




6) Do you peek while slow cooking?
Yes. I am not the best at following rules, and I often taste, stir, and poke at my food while it's in the slow cooker. I've heard from reliable sources that you can lose up to 20 minutes of valuable cooking time each time you peek, but I have not noticed that to be the case. Peeking and tasting makes me feel like I'm doing something, and it makes me happy. I like being happy.

That said, if you are baking with your slow cooker, or are making a layered casserole such as lasagna or tamale pie, try not to peek until the very end of the cooking time, so moisture doesn't escape. And DO NOT peek on the yogurt recipe---keep the valuable heat inside.

 

7) How come you aren't posting every day anymore? 
Because my year-long challenge is over! I'm currently slow-cooking baby number three, and am working on some other freelancing commitments, along with trying my hardest to give my children more of me than they got last year. I am still completely infatuated with my slow cookers and use them VERY regularly. I'd be absolutely lost without them.

8) Have you seen Julie & Julia? Not yet! It looks like a group of my friends will go together next week. I can't wait.


I hope this helps, some! If you have other questions, let me have 'em in the comment section. xoxo steph


related topics:
Frequently Asked A Year of Slow Cooking Questions, Part 1
Slow Cooker Troubleshooting
My New Year's Resolution
Alphabetical Recipe List
Holiday Recipe List
Help! My Slow Cooker Cooks Too Fast!

61 comments:

David said...

Are you worried about reports that some slow cookers leach out lead into foods?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi David, great question. I have heard of internet discussions regarding lead in slow cookers. I use Crock-Pot brand slow cookers, and last year when I first heard about the possibility of lead, I contacted their PR person, and got the following reply:

I hope this helps ease your mind a bit, it did mine.
xxo steph


"Jarden Consumer Solutions (JCS) continues to proactively test its products for lead and other toxic metals, with the results continuing to come back favorably. Lead is not an additive in the Crock Pot® slow cooker ceramic glaze. JCS is diligent in its efforts to ensure that its products are compliant with applicable regulations regarding the presence of lead.

JCS tests for lead and other toxic metals on its products to ensure they are safe for consumers. In addition, we periodically use accredited third party lab testing to reveal that our slow cooker stoneware is far below the U.S. FDA and California Regulation Prop 65 requirements for extractable lead and cadmium in ceramic wares, thus supporting our results."

Beverly said...

oh how I miss reading your writing.
Thank you so much for answering the cleaning question, that was one that I had.

Vindiciti said...

I'm so very excited to try more of your recipes now for my 5 year old who has autism. We've found that he gets along much better on a low gluten or gluten free diet.

jonna203 said...

Hi steph my name is jonna appleby and I have been on ur email for quite some time for a year of crockpotting w awesome recipes that my hubby and I love but the kids? Well they are picky but they loved the candy chicken w soda I work in a school kitchen so slow cooking works well for me and ur recipes are awesome - love the way u support local farmers and are organic I have a gluten question I think my son has cilliac did I spell it right? Bad thumbs disease he was my son tested when three and they said no but then again he was just diagnosed with vonn wille brands disease last year too! He loves pasta and rice but goes right through him I can't tell if he's in pain cuz he has autism but his bowels are bad after he eats it. Should I go back to drs? Give me ur thought on it thanx again post some new recipes if u can w butternut squash I have tons from my garden and nowhere to do w them thanx jonna appleby of Ct

Alyson said...

REcently found your blog and have been loving trying out the recipes. I've already pre-ordered your cookbook and can't wait for it to arrive. I've tried quite a few of your recipes lately and have had nothing but success! Last night we tried the BBQ shrimp and it was a hit. My oldest son suggested you could use the same method to do clams, and I bet it would work great. Tried the gyros a couple of weeks ago and that was a hit, too. Our family loves gyro, but the meat prep WAS too time consuming.....not any more! Thanks!

Alyson said...

P.S., told my Sister-in-Law about your blog today. You likely have a new fan!

Frogmama said...

Thank you for your helpful notes - I have a family of 4 with a 6.5yo (picky eater) and a 3.5 yo, so usually, I cook 3-4 servings for a meal. I have a 6 qt oval crock and have been thinking about getting a smaller one because the other is just to big, usually.

TARGET HAS A 1.5 QT (w/ removable insert and temp dial)FOR $7!!!

I bought one.. :)

...yes I know you got a better deal :)

I know it'll be a little too small once and a while but its nice for the smaller stuff :)

Oh - and you know what I made my 6yo dd for her birthday cake? A cowgirl hat cake using my oval stoneware (in the oven) :)

Thanks for all you do - and happy slow-cooking this year!

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

I use the slow cooker liners. I love the ease in cleanup! Anyone else use them?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

wow, thanks, Beverly!

that's great news, Vindicti!

Hi Jonna,
I'd suggest reading a bit about different symptoms on celiac.com and celiac.org, and then asking your family doctor. My thoughts are with you as you sort this out---lots of hugs.

Alyson, I'm so glad to help!

Frogmama, that's a great deal! my super-score was a good 5 years ago, so $7 sounds right. yay! What a fantastic idea to make a cowgirl hat in the stoneware---I love it.

xoxo steph

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Garret, we cross-posted. I keep meaning to try out the liners, but forget each and every time I am near them in the store. I've heard they are wonderful.

I should also note that spraying the inside of the slow cooking stoneware with cooking spray before adding food will also ease clean up. In fact, I think I should add that in right now! I'll mention the liners, too.

xoxo steph

jessica moore said...

Not so much a question... well not a question at all.
I just noticed you changed your picture. You're really pretty in it, but I did so love the other one of you hugging your crock-pot. It was so kooky! : ) and I totally mean that in a good way!
So I'm saying goodbye to the old kooky, silly, fun picture! ; D

April in CT said...

So far I've had nothing but success with using baking soda to clean off any tough stuff in my crock. I just use a gentle scrubby sponge with a little dish soap on it to make a paste and things come right off!

Frogmama said...

Ok... I can't resist sending you a picture of that cowgirl hat cake.

I made 2 cake mixes in it and just watched it till it was done.

Then I cut out the valley, etc.

For the brim (this part needs some refinement) I wet an empty, flattened cereal box and rolled it up and stuck it in a glass to dry. Then I covered it with tag board, but as you can see, the edges are still rough...

Thanks for letting me share :) I'm sure I'm not the first who has done it, of course...

Frogmama said...

Duh. You might want the pic link...

Long day, lol

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=658220&l=ff291bcb5c&id=1189985410

Darwinsgirl said...

Thanks for the reminder that your book is gluten free! I am wheat intolerant and am always looking for cookbooks that offer this option. I pre-ordered it today!

Rebecca said...

I have a question about an old entry! I tried to make yogurt yesterday, and while it tastes pretty decent it was very liquidy (even with a pack of gelatin).

I decided to try using a coffee filter, but I actually don't know how that works. Poured some yogurt into the filter, and then put right-side up in a cup to drain. It didn't really drain, and just got the filter very wet (eventually broke through the filter).

Any idea what I did wrong? Can you tell I don't drink coffee and have no idea how to use this? :-P

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Rebecca,

okay, no problem. Get your pasta strainer, and put it in the sink inside of a large bowl. Then get the coffee filters and open them up and line the entire pasta strainer. It's okay if the filters are kind of wrinkly and overlap each other. Then pour all of the yogurt into the strainer on top of the filters. Clear a shelf in the fridge, and put the whole thing in there----the bowl, strainer, yogurt. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, the whey will have separated (dripped into the bowl) and the strainer with the filters will be filled with nice yogurt.

You can use the whey in baking, it's yummy.

xoxo steph

Lexi said...

Hi Stephanie!

Any advice on converting stove top recipes to crockpot and vice-versa. In particular, there's quite a few soups [i.e. SusanV's Portabella-Butterbean Soup] I would love to crockpot-ify (new verb?)seeing as sweating bullets over a steamy pot isn't exactly my idea of a good time ;)

I posted a comment awhile back with the same question, but I forgot to check back for an answer...and now I can't remember where I posted it haha

Thanks,
Lexi

creative gal said...

I heart Clorox wipes too! :o)

tam said...

A question regarding slow-cooker question #4: when I put in the pyrex/corningware dish to "shrink" my slow-cooker should I cover the corningware dish as well (with the glass cover or tinfoil) or is it enough to just use the cover on the crock? thanks!

Nicki said...

You inspired me alot over the last year or so since I discovered your wonderful blog!

The only thing so far that I would disagree with is using any type of fabric softener, whether it be a sheet or liquid, to clean your crock pot. I don't use either for my clothes - I've read too many reports that they contain toxic chemicals. As another poster pointed out, baking soda works like a charm and is not harmful.

Lynn said...

Dawn makes a spray on product called Power Dissolver that works great to clean up my slow cooker!!

KatetheGreat said...

could this blog be any better? I submit that it cannot! I am a nanny for two amazing kiddo's a 5yo and a 4yo and they LOVE helping me slow cook (except the onions. and when I squirted lemon juice in John's eye....) and they enjoy eating ALMOST everything I make. I have Celiac's and I always spell it wrong, and its such a headache to find food that is equal parts delicious and easy to prepare. Thanks so much! I look forward to buying your cookbook. Thanks so much!

Kate

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "I only have a huge crockpot" tip!
I have the 5.5 quart because it was the smallest I could find "smart" pot that could switch to warm while I'm at work.
So, it makes way too much for just our family of 2 1/2 (if you can even call my son a half- he eats like a bird).

Annie said...

I want to second the recommendation for the disposable slow cooker liners. They work beautifully. Cleanup takes all of a minute. My only problem with them is I haven't found any that fit my rectangular 6.5-quart cooker yet! But they're wonderful in my 5-quart one.

DrL said...

I'll second the use of the disposable slow cooker liners. They're hard to find where we live, but my husband considers them a godsend!

SaraK said...

I love the liners! Steph, I can't believe you don't use them. It doesn't keep the crock completely clean, things leak out sometimes, but it definitely makes cleaning a LOT easier.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Lexi, SusanV, as in Fat Free Vegan? I'll look for the soup. For the most part, soups transfer into the slow cooker without much fuss. Sometimes the broth/water is too much, since nothing evaporates in a slow cooker, and the vegetables create their own broth. Without looking at the recipe, I can't say exactly what I'd do, but I'd probably cut the liquid content by a 1/2-1 cup.

Tam, I don't use the lid on the pyrex, but I've heard some people do. If you have a slow cooker that releases a lot of steam through a vent hole, or through a gap in the lid, covering with the pyrex lid might be a good idea, otherwise the crock lid is sufficient.

Nicki, good point. Baking soda is always a great cleaning alternative to anything with chemicals.

xoxo steph

Quilt Monkey said...

I so enjoyed checking out your blog everyday last year! Thanks for so many great recipes. Also thanks for tip# 4. We got a really nice (expensive) slow cooker for our wedding 5 years ago, but it is enormous. We burned a lot of things trying to use it and have been contemplating getting rid of it because it takes up so much space. We have been using our old, smaller slow cooker instead. I'll definitely try out your suggestions!

Amie said...

Your new picture looks great! Thanks for the continuing tips. :)

I'm So Pretty said...

I love the slow cooker liners, too, but after I went through the box I had, I didn't want to spend on more because I had two other boxes of oven bags (for cooking large roasts, chickens, etc). I looked on the Reynolds FAQ and they, of course, said not to use the oven bags as slow cooker liners, but they didn't really say why (so I guessed it was because they'd prefer I go out and buy more liners). So I tried the oven bags, and they work great! The only downside is that they don't fit the crock as well, but honestly, I really don't care as long as the food all fits in and I can get it out. So if you happen to have oven bags in the cupboard and no slow cooker liners, try subbing them to save a few pennies and some elbow grease :)

Lexi said...

Oops sorry I was half asleep when I posted that...Yes, I meant Susan from Fat Free Vegan.

Here's the link: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/12/butter-bean-soup-with-portabellas-and.html

I'm scared to ruin one of my favorite soups by throwing it in the crock, but your advice has yet to lead me astray so maybe I'll try cutting down the liquid :)

Last question (*fingers crossed*): my family is under the impression that all meat that goes into the crockpot automatically comes out similar to the consistency of bbq pulled pork (they like bbq pulled pork but don't want every meal to be that texture). Your recipes make me think otherwise, but I thought I would ask anyway.

Thanks, and sorry for all the questions!
Lexi

Anonymous said...

I read for easy cleaning add water and dish soap and cook on low about 20 minutes and for stuck on food fill to where spot is and cook on hi 2 hours. Seems so obvious yet I have never done it.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Lexi,
That soup sounds wonderful, Susan is a phenomenal cook. I'd make it with only 5 cups of water, and be ready to up some of the seasonings to taste when the soup is done. Slow cooking will usually require more spices because the liquid volume doesn't decrease, it increases while cooking, which dilutes spices. I might even double the soy sauce.

LOL on your family's comments! Actually, before I began this project, I kind of viewed my slow cooker as a glorified pot roast machine. This challenge really opened my eyes to just how versatile it can be----you can make just about anything in there! Scroll through the recipes, and look for something that sounds different than what your family is expecting. Try the chicken parmesan or the chicken cordon bleu to win them over to the slow-cooked side. :-)

Anon, I've heard that advice, too, and yet have never done it, either!

xoxo steph

Together We Save said...

Thanks for all this great info. About the lead too.

eatingmachine said...

I nannyed for a family that switched to using the liners... and as the one who did the dishes, let me say they're FANTASTIC. They didn't ever leak or break, and putting the liner in was one more "i want to help!" thing for the kids to do.
I don't use them at home, but if I had kids (or, you know, a job, or some other productive use of my time, instead of having all day to do things like clean) I'm pretty sure they'd be one of my favorite things.

Julie said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/health/15patient.html?ref=health

article about celiac disease in the ny times.

and today is the banana pudding recipe! yum yum

Twisted Cinderella said...

Congrats on your upcoming new arrival! I am due in January too.

where the wildthings grow said...

Stephanie, I don't know if you have ever tried Dawn Power Dissolver to clean your crockpot. I usually find it at Wal-mart and it cost less than $3. I use it for EVERYTHING. It is great for the crockpot! I just spray it on, wait about 10-15 minutes (if it is really cooked on!) wipe crusties and then put into the dishwasher. Cleans grease better than most cleaners also. Just a thought... Thanks,
Janey

Justin said...

this is a great FAQ. I hope you've seen J&J by now.

Mrs. B said...

A friend guided me to your blog and I just wanted to say thank you. I am currently expecting my first child and on a mission to find many good slow cooker recipes before I deliver so that I can keep up cooking even with a newborn in tow. Your "verdict" with each recipe is invaluable. Even though we all have different taste buds, I really appreciate knowing which recipes were complete flops so I can stay clear! I'll be pre-ordering your book to support your efforts...thanks again!

Nancy of Sisters Three Gluten Free said...

I just found your link. Someone posted it on twitter. I will bookmark it for future reference. I love using my crock pot and I'm always up for a new recipe. You pointed out a lot of info I did not know about slow cooking. Using the crock is my speed of cooking I do not enjoy cooking. I'm gluten free, my 5 siblings and many of our children are GF. Even our dogs are GF. Thank you again, looking forward to using your blog.

Be Blessed,
Nancy www.SistersThreeGlutenFree.com

twitter id sistersthreegf

mb said...

I have the metal crockpot/slow cooker on a heat element and am reluctant to try the yogurt recipe in it b/c I figure there may be oils in the pan that would leachinto the milk?? Fortunately, I have a friend who was discarding her 6 qt ceramic crockpot so I used that, but long as we're asking questions of Steph the Crockpot Guru, thought I'd ask if oils wil leach out of metal crocks into sweeter, less savory dishes??
Thanks, mb<---loves the crockpot blog as well a her crockpot!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi MB, I have not used a metal slow cooker insert. When I made the "lazy chicken" recipe, I first tried it in a friend's Presto cooker, and I was alarmed at how quickly it began to smoke, and transferred the food to my regular ceramic insert slow cooker.

I don't have any information about the metal ones, I'm sorry.

--steph

Sharon said...

Hey Stephanie,
I was looking for some freezer-friendly, healthy muffins that I could eat for breakfast without feeling guilty. I ran across this website, and she had a tasty looking recipe that includes a gluten-free adaptation. I immediately thought of you (is that a little weird?). Just don't tell your kiddos there are parsnips in them!

http://www.ourbigearth.com/2008/05/14/food-your-family-with-christa-herrling-freezer-muffins-that-rock/

Enjoy!
Sharon

Heather said...

The first time I came across this blog, I was looking for crockpot recipes and was excited by yours. Then things happened and I found myself doing other things.

I am back now and pleased to discover that all of your recipes are gluten free. I have been recently diagnosed with, at the least, a gluten intolerance. You have no idea how happy I am to see that I can use your recipes without any changes.

Thank you.

-Heather

Building Materials & Supplies said...

I find it easy to clean with some washing up liquid straght after cooking.

Before the residue sets and builds up on the cooker

Amanda said...

I doubt anyone's going to read all the way down to this comment, but I have a Hamilton Beach slow cooker with three inserts--2, 4, and 6 quarts. They nest inside of each other and all use the same lid (making storage a breeze). We're a family of two but I love cooking a huge batch of food so that we never have to buy lunch out. The slow cooker works well and the different inserts are great.

No affiliation, just a happy customer.

PJ said...

cool place will be back to gleen more ideas thanks for the hard work for all of us

Alana, Author of Domestically Challenged said...

I just wanted to say thanks for this blog!! I haven't been following my reader very carefully and was very pleasantly surprised to learn that you are also a gluten free family! I was recently diagnosed with food allergies (dairy/wheat/yeast) so I am now going back to your old posts and doing some meal planning.

Keep up the great work!

Alana Morales

HBomb said...

I heard a trick for cleaning (or really for not cleaning) that you soak the crock pot with a dryer sheet, which somehow coats it and prevents sticking. I've never tried it because I'm scared to eat fabric softener. Anyone else heard of this or tried it?

Master Gardener said...

For Christmas I got a 4 qt crock pot and your book. Some of the recipes I like are for 6 quart cookers. How do I adjust? Just take 2/3 of everything? or cut back on some of the liquid?

Answer to this is probably in here somewhere but I can't find it.

Master Gardener

JoanellEstar said...

This is awesome!! I just discovered your website today. My husband can't eat any gluten either, so this will be a huge help to me. However, I have to go a step further and make everything sugar free too (he's also diabetic), which is no easy task since all the gluten free brownie, cake, and pancake mixes all have sugar in them. I'm going to have to figure out how to combine GF flours myself along with some sort of natural sweetener (stevia, xylitol, natural fruit juice, brown rice syrup, etc...). Your website will help me get halfway there! Thank you!

Valko206 said...

Thank you, I think I found detailed info here regarding crockpot content level. It's 3/4 of all ingredients both solids and liquids. Correct?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Valko,
yes, that is correct. The slow cookers work best when the entire volume of ingredients is about 2/3 to 3/4 of the stoneware insert.

--steph

Jeff said...

Okay, so this blog has caused me to go NUTS about using our slow cooker. We have a Hamilton Beach 6 quart Stay or Go, but I just bought a Hamilton Beach 2in1 and a Proctor Silex 1.5 quart to round out our options. So now we have 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 quart cooking options. I have been cooking your recipes for about 5 months, but found the 6 quart was too large for most of our meals. Ordered your cookbook also, and can't wait to use it with the new "additions" to our family! Thanks for the blog, we appreciate what you do!

Donna said...

In several recipes you use oatmeal and specify not instant, but is quick cooking okay?

Big Jim said...

Hi guys in regards to cleaning your slow cookers I was recommended [ SLOW COOKER BAGS ] by my sister about a year ago and was amazed I mean absolutely amazed as to the results.
I use my cooker for almost everything including chicken and rice and beef mushroom soup with barley.
Prior to the bags I spent as much time cleaning and scraping and soaking that i almost gave up no using it. After using the slow cooker bags the crock is literately cleaner than a dinner plate. what a pleasure to use. these things are great and i will never cook without them again

Liz said...

My husband just bought me my first crock pot (extremely basic without a timer--although to be fair, i dont think he knew there were crock-pots with a self-starting timer). I love reading all your recipes, but there are many that i cannot attempt due to time restraints of working full time. Do you have a way to look up recipes that take 8-10 hours? Husband says I cannot have a new crock-pot until i am sure I will like cooking with the one I have. :(

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Liz,
I agree with your husband! ;-)
I haven't put together a list of 8-10 hour recipes, but that's a fantastic idea. Thank you!

All of the large-batch bean, soup, stew, and big ol'chunks of meat will take a good 8-10 hours to cook. I'd recommend starting out with Taco Soup, pulled pork, hrino psito, chili, cowboy stew, pasta fagioli, pizza soup, sausage and vegetable medley-- and any of the pot roast recipes.

I hope this helps a bit! I would also recommend using it the first few times on a weekend day or a day you are home to monitor just a bit, and then you'll get a feel for how your particular pot cooks.

have a great weekend,
steph

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