To Crock Pot or Not To Crock Pot, That is The Question...
Jul. 4, 2011 2:07 pm
Updated: Jul. 20, 2011 10:00 pm
There are so many wonderful Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Recipes out and about and such a shame so many great culinary masterpieces go untried because of the lack of a Slow Cooker/Crock Pot. Oh, Ye of little faith, you might just have a slow cooker/Crock Pot of
which you aren't even aware.
Our mothers, grandmothers and even their grandmothers had slow cookers, and where, you might ask, did they plug theirs into the electricity...they didn't. The only difference, they called their slow cooker/Crock Pot their Dutch Oven. If not a Dutch Oven, then
any large oven proof pan with a good fitting lid. How about the large roaster you used for your Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey, it would make a wonderful slow cooker/Crock Pot. When you have wished for a second slow cooker for a large dinner; there sits
your Dutch oven and, besides, your oven isn't doing anything today.
If you have a large pan with a well fitting lid, such as a Dutch Oven or a large roasting pan you're set to go. The only prerequisite, it must have a good fitting lid which will hold in the moisture during cooking. If you are concerned about how well the lid
fits, you could before putting the lid on the pan, seal the pan with a layer of foil then placing the lid on your pan.
Slow cooker recipes call for a heat setting of low, medium or high. Using your oven, low would be a setting of around 200*, medium would be around 250*, and a high setting would be around 300*. Make sure any handles or lid knobs can withstand the heat. Usually
temperatures below 300* are tolerated well by Dutch Oven handles. If you are concerned about the heats effect on the handles and knob, you can wrap the handles with foil to protect them.
Preparing one of the many recipes for a Breakfast Casserole is simple with your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker. Follow the recipe and in the evening before going to bed, put your Breakfast Casserole into the oven and when you awake, breakfast is ready.
The first thing is to select a recipe for your culinary masterpiece. Follow the direction as if you were filling your Crock Pot. You might preheat the oven if you wish, but it isn't necessary. Place the pan on the oven rack, select your heat setting and close
the door and you're on your way.
The first couple of times you use your Dutch Oven and oven for your Crock Pot, you might want to keep an eye on it to make sure you have a good seal and the temperature of your oven setting is true. Many times oven temperatures can be off and you are cooking
at a lower or higher temperature than you have set. After using your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker, you find your food is cooking too quickly or not quickly enough, just adjust the temperature of the oven to achieve the proper heat and time setting. If you do not
have an adequate seal on the pan, it will cook dry and possibly burn. Once you have learned the little details of how your Dutch Oven Slow Cooker works, you won't have to watch it quite so closly, but like a standard slow cooker, removing the cover just extends
the cooking time.
The Crock Pot/slow cooker has many advantages and one of those is to be able to prepare a nice dinner for your family with out a lot of bother and heating up the kitchen during these very warm months. To avoid heating up the house during the summer days, start
your dinner when you go to bed and in the morning your dinner is ready. Allow it to cool slightly then into the fridge for the day and when it's dinner time, reheat your dinner on the stove and in 5 or 10 minutes a wonderful slow cooked meal is set to go and
you get to drag your toe in the sand and very shyly say, "Oh, twern't nothin'. I just fix stuff like this when I don't care what's for supper." And accept the kudos and applause politely.