Crock Pot Tips: How to Make Recipes with Short Cooking Times Work For You
1. My first suggestion is to invest in a Programmable Slow Cooker. This type of slow cooker lets you set the cooking temperature (HIGH or LOW) and cooking time. When the cooking time is up, the cooker automatically switches to “warm” setting that will keep your meal hot until you are ready to serve it.
When using a programmable cooker, set your crock pot to cook for the lower number when a range of cooking times is suggested. If the recipe says to cook for 5 to 7 hours, set the cooker to cook for 5 hours and then let it automatically flip to “warm” until you get home. There’s less chance your food will be overdone that way.
I know they’re pricey, but I think it’s a worthwhile investment when you consider all the money you save cooking at home compared to eating out and/or grabbing takeout.
2. Try to choose recipes with long cooking times on your especially long days. Many soup, stew, chili, roast, bean and lentil recipes will hold up well to long cooking.
3. Cook ahead on the weekends. Often, I’ll have 2 or 3 slow cookers all simmering away on the counter on Saturday and Sunday. When the food is done I pack it up and place it in the fridge for quick and easy weeknight meals that can be easily reheated in the microwave.