Some tips for you to know when cooking with a slow-cooker:
1) Don’t stress about it! You can put together just about anything, and it will come out fine.
2) Whatever you need to cook the longest should be on the bottom. So foods like potatoes and carrots and other root vegetables which can take longer should be at the bottom if you were to make a meal like pot roast and vegetables.
3) If you like your meat to still moo when it’s done, you don’t want to cook it in a slow-cooker. Slow-cookers are for when you like your meat to be tender and falling apart when you put your fork to it.
4) Your crockpot should always be at least half full to 3/4 full for it to cook properly.
5) Foods cooked on the low heat setting normally take between 7-9 hours. If you use the high heat setting, the food usually cooks in half the time as the low heat setting.
6) If you make a single food like meatloaf or a whole chicken, you want to add some liquid like beef or chicken broth to the pot, or these items will be a bit dry.
7) If you’re cooking other foods like a stew or roast and vegetables, you want to limit the amount of liquid you add, because the process of slow-cooking will add liquid to the foods naturally.
8) Never put frozen meat into the crockpot. They will not cook well.
9) You can, however, put little frozen fruit or veggies into the crockpot like peas or blueberries if you’re making a mixed vegetable or fruit dish.
10) You should always cut off any extra fat from any meat before putting it into the slow-cooker because the fat will just drain into your food.
11) If you want to enhance the flavor of food you’re cooking, you can brown the meats or sauted your aromatics (garlic, onions, et…) before adding them to your slow-cooker.
12) Boneless chicken breasts only take a few hours, about three to four hours in a crockpot on low, but cuts of meat like a roast take longer, 8 to 10 hours on low.
13) If you want vegetables to be only lightly cooked, you should check them after two hours. Most vegetables only dishes will be done in three to four hours.
14) Crockpots are great for beans, because you don’t have to presoak them. Just wash them and put them into the crockpot with your seasonings, and after 6 to 8 hours, they’ll be done and ready to eat.
15) Don’t be afraid to experiment! There are so many online blogs and recipe sites, as well as crockpot cookbooks, that you could probably make a different crockpot meal every day of the year and not exhaust the recipes.