Slow Cooker Advice

Discussion in 'Slimming World Off Topic' started by missyp284, 2 September 2010 Social URL.

  1. missyp284

    missyp284 Full Member

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    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 [​IMG].

    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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  3. sarah83

    sarah83 I will be a yummy mummy!

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    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. loungelizard

    loungelizard Silver Member

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    I never brown the meat before putting it in mine. Too much hassle.
     
  5. Gettingthinnerbytheday

    Gettingthinnerbytheday Gold Member

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    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 :)
     
  6. loungelizard

    loungelizard Silver Member

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    Forgot, I did do that when I made a chilli in it but I've only done it once in the slow cooker.
     
  7. shell_y

    shell_y Silver Member

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  8. mandy296

    mandy296 Silver Member

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    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!:(
     
  9. ilovelife

    ilovelife Wishing and hoping!

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    The only time when I brown meat in the slow cooker is when I fry my mince for spagetti bol. Otherwise, I just put the meat in the slow cooker and enjoy the smells :)
     
  10. rosinakathleen

    rosinakathleen Big, busty and Blowsy!

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    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.
     
  11. missyp284

    missyp284 Full Member

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    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.
     
  12. sarah83

    sarah83 I will be a yummy mummy!

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    Let us know how it turns out
     
  13. missyp284

    missyp284 Full Member

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    Thanks Sarah, I will
     
  14. Lucky7

    Lucky7 Gold Member

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    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!!
     
  15. Lucky7

    Lucky7 Gold Member

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    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
     
  16. missyp284

    missyp284 Full Member

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    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.
     
  17. Lucky7

    Lucky7 Gold Member

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    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!!!!!!
     
  18. missyp284

    missyp284 Full Member

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    aahhh well, I'm only cooking for one, and I have a 6.5 ltr SC. So I hope to god I don't finish it :eek:
     
  19. GracieMai

    GracieMai Full Member

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    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
     
  20. Lucky7

    Lucky7 Gold Member

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    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.
     
  21. *EB*

    *EB* Gold Member

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    i always put my crock in the dishwasher, but spritz it with fairy power if i have dried on swede/carrot/leek!!! haha! :)

    Love it! xxxx
     
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