Slow Cooker Info
I looked high and low for slow cooker info before I decided to purchase the Westbend 84716 Slow Cooker. I must say that I am happy with it. Despite some negative reviews on Amazon, I think it does a good job - the food cooks on low and does not boil over on high.
The best feature of this West Bend slow cooker is that it has a removable pot that can go from the stove top to the heating base. You can sautee the vegetables or meat first without using another pot. And the West Bend removal pot is non-stick!
If you are interested in purchasing a slow cooker, below are some things to consider:
1. Get one with a removal pot that can go from the stove top to the heating base.
- This way, if you choose to, you can brown meats or sautee vegetables and there's no extra dirty pans to wash.
- With a removal pot, you can also prepare the ingredients the night before, put the whole pot in the refrigerator and be ready to go the next morning.
2. Size - Slow cookers and crockpots come in different sizes ranging from 1.5 quarts to 7 quarts (1 quart = 4 cups). Choose one that is compatible with the size of your family. Below are several sizes of crockpots or slow cookers.
3. Other features - If you're interested in other features like a timer or is programmable, then look for one that has it. Below is a stainless steel Rival programmable slow cooker.
Once you've purchased a slow cooker or crockpot, it is highly recommended that you read the manual and do a test run on a weekend.
Tips on Using Your Slow Cooker
- Read the manual - It generally contains good information. For example, the Westbend manual indicated that meat and vegetables generally need 7 to 10 hours at Low, 4 to 6 hours at Med and 2 to 3 hours at High. This gave me a good idea of what to expect the first time I use the cooker
- Do a Test Run - Select a recipe and do a test run on a weekend when you'll be around the house. This way, you can monitor the progress and note the amount of time your cooker needs. Most cookers have a Low, Medium and High setting. Different manufacturers have those settings set at different temperatures. Two different cookers from the same manufacturer might NOT cook at the same times.
- Fill the slow cooker to 1/2 or 2/3 full only. Otherwise the food will not cook properly.
- KEEP the lid on! - Every time you lift the lid, it is estimated that it can take up to 20 mins to regain the lost heat thus extending your cooking time.
- Test for Doneness - Use a food thermometer to make sure that the meat and poultry have reached a safe internal temperature: