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Slow Cooker Advice

S: 19st7.0lb C: 17st0lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 34.1 Loss: 2st7lb(12.82%)
#1
Sorry if this is in the wrong place, feel free to move if it should be somewhere else.

I bought my first slow cooker at the weekend and was hoping you culinary geniuses on here could give me some advice.

I've never used one before, but thought it would be handy for chucking some ingredients into before I go to work, and having something ready when I got home. The plan is to make a lot, and freeze the leftovers.

Now one question is, do I HAVE to brown my meat before I put it in the slow cooker? I really don't want to be doing that at 7am before I go to work
.

Another questions is, do I have to look for recipies that use stock, or can I just chuck in a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes?

Any hints or tips you have would be gratefully accepted, as would any recipes.

TIA
 
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sarah83

I will be a yummy mummy!
S: 16st9lb C: 15st8.5lb G: 12st7lb BMI: 38.7 Loss: 1st0.5lb(6.22%)
#2
Hi Tia,
I got a slow cooker for Christmas and I LOVE it!!
Casseroles and curries are my faves, and I tend to use just stock or a mixture of stock and tinned toms for the sauce.
If you do a general google search there are tons of recipes you can follow, plus I think there are a few threads under 'winter warmers' under the recipe thread on here.

I don't usually brown the meat before cooking and it works out fine, but when I've done something bigger like a brisket, I've browned it a little.

A tip I've learnt though - don't bother using your syns on flour in the recipe, I tend to let it cook then near the end throw in some instant potato flakes which thicken it up beautifully and are free on EE!

Hope that helps!!
 
#4
I always brown the meat first. Mince I always dry fry & drain off any excess fat - always have & always will do though. I only buy extra lean but still fat comes off while cooking.

Lots don't though :)
 

mandy296

Silver Member
S: 12st12lb C: 9st11lb G: 9st3.5lb BMI: 23.5 Loss: 3st1lb(23.89%)
#7
I think that browning is optional when its stuff like diced beef, lamb, pork etc. I use it to save time too - there is no way I'm getting up at 7 in the morning and getting the frying pan out! I might do it if its the weekend and I have time, but when its just for doing stuff so that I can leave it going while I'm at work I dont bother.

I just chop and prepare all the veg the night before and chuck in the pot and keep it in the fridge. I will also make up whatever stock/sauce I'm using and keep that in a jug in the fridge. All I have to do then in the morning is chuck in the diced meat and the sauce, pop the pot into the slow cooker and switch on.

Dont make the same mistake I did once though - had some chicken quarters in there, came home expecting lovely smell of cooked food, but nothing - turned out I'd switched it onto the "warm" setting - 8 hours on warm does not cook your dinner!:(
 

rosinakathleen

Big, busty and Blowsy!
S: 24st6lb C: 22st11lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 56.5 Loss: 1st9lb(6.73%)
#9
Just be aware that if you are putting casserole recipes out of books etc into the slow cooker you may need to add less liquid than stated. This is because the slow cooker returns the steam to the food, and don't evapourate like in the oven.
 
S: 19st7.0lb C: 17st0lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 34.1 Loss: 2st7lb(12.82%)
#10
Thanks for all the advice folks.

I've just thrown in a load of ingredients for Beef Stroganoff, left the SC on low and come to work, so fingers crossed for when I get home.
 

Lucky7

Gold Member
S: 10st4lb C: 10st4lb G: 9st7lb BMI: 27.2 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
#13
Oooo - I love my slow cooker. I always used to brown the meat, but was in a rush one day and didn't, and realised that it tasted just as good without.

My fave is chicken thighs (I get the skinless / boneless ones from Asda and admittedly spend ages with the kitchen scissors trimming off any visible fat). I chuck in an Asda bag of casserole veg (99p) - but do usually cut the leeks and onions in half from what they do.
I then chuck in a handful of red lentils (to thicken it a bit) and crumble in 2 oxo cubes and some herbs / spices (whatever I fancy) then a couple of mugs of hot water. I stir it up so the oxo gets mixed in, then lay the chicken over the top. SO yummy.

I usually put this in for when we come back if we're on a night out too - it makes it a lot easier to resist the dreaded take-aways!!
 

Lucky7

Gold Member
S: 10st4lb C: 10st4lb G: 9st7lb BMI: 27.2 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
#14
Oh - and another potential disaster area is 'not putting the lid on properly' I know it sounds silly, but with such simple cooking it's easy to get a bit cocky and not concentrate! (Or maybe that's just me).

Have fun with it. xx
 
S: 19st7.0lb C: 17st0lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 34.1 Loss: 2st7lb(12.82%)
#15
I usually put this in for when we come back if we're on a night out too - it makes it a lot easier to resist the dreaded take-aways!!
thats what I was thinking of doing as well. I've got a big night out planned tomorrow night, so thought I'd bung something in my slow cooker before I go out.

Of course, that all depends on how successful my Beef Stroganoff is :eek:. And I think I've made enough to feed about 80 so I might just re-heat some of that.

But it is a great idea.
 

Lucky7

Gold Member
S: 10st4lb C: 10st4lb G: 9st7lb BMI: 27.2 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
#16
thats what I was thinking of doing as well. I've got a big night out planned tomorrow night, so thought I'd bung something in my slow cooker before I go out.

Of course, that all depends on how successful my Beef Stroganoff is :eek:. And I think I've made enough to feed about 80 so I might just re-heat some of that.

But it is a great idea.

lol - I always think there'll be some left over for the next day, but my o/h usually finishes it all off.

Om nom nom!!!!!!
 
S: 11st8.5lb C: 11st1lb G: 9st8.5lb Loss: 0st7.5lb(4.62%)
#18
I love my slow cooker but for some reason any veg that touches the edges burns and is then caked onto the pan, I dont over cook the meal and always use the low setting. I usually make chilli's and stew's in it. Any suggestions??? Anything from the middle of the pot is delish though!!
x
 

Lucky7

Gold Member
S: 10st4lb C: 10st4lb G: 9st7lb BMI: 27.2 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
#19
Hmmm - too hot, or not enough liquid I suppose. What setting are you putting it on? I rarely use 'high', just 'medium', or low to keep things warm if it's already cooked.

The best way to clean (that I've found so far) is so rinse it out then sprinkle on bicarb before adding hot water then soak for a while. Then it's easy peasy to clean it all sparkly.
 


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