Adapting Recipes for the Slow Cooker – Busy Mom’s Slow Cooker Series

Adapting Recipes for the Slow Cooker

The ease of preparing meals with a slow cooker has literally changed the lives of busy families. With the help of this amazing kitchen appliance, families are eating healthier and consuming less greasy fast-food and take out meals.

You have taken the first step and purchased a slow cooker. You have tried several recipes and loved them. Now you may be wondering how you can adapt your traditional, family-favorite recipes for the crock pot.

Below are some helpful tips to help you adapt recipes for the slow cooker:

  1. Add fresh vegetables like peas and broccoli to your recipe in the last 15 – 60 minutes.
  2. If you’re using frozen vegetables, add them to your crock pot recipe during the last 30 minutes.
  3. For best results – cover dried beans with water and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours so that they are completely softened before adding them to your recipe.  (Drain the soaking water before adding to the pot.) If your recipe includes tomatoes, salt, or sugar, then your beans should definitely be soaked before cooking.
  4. If your recipe calls for pasta, any kind of seafood, milk or other dairy products, add them during the last 60 minutes of cooking. Be sure to cook pasta to slightly tender before adding them to the cooker.
  5. Condensed cream soups are good alternatives to dairy products because they can withstand longer cooking times.
  6. When cooking a recipe with rice, add an extra ¼ cup liquid for every ¼ cup of rice.
  7. Except for rice, always reduce the liquid in your recipe by ½ when you are adapting recipes for the slow cooker.
  8. When cooking stews and soups that call for vegetables, place the veggies on the bottom and around the sides of the slow cooker and then place your meat on top.

Traditional Recipe Cooking Time Converted to Slow Cooker Time:

  • 15-30min traditional = 1.5–2hrs High or 4-6hrs Low in Crock pot
  • 35-45min traditional = 3-4hrs High or 6-10hrs Low in Crock pot
  • 50min-3hrs traditional = 4-6hrs High or 8-18hrs Low in Crock pot

A large slow cooker can supply a fairly large quantity of food per meal, so you may have leftovers. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator in the covered ceramic bowl; but, NEVER REHEAT your leftovers in the crock pot.

An additional benefit of slow cooking is the ability to prepare more food that you will use in one meal, which means you can freeze the extra for future meals.

Happy slow cooking!

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