Crock Pot Meals and Why You Should Make Them
Slow-cooked food is ready and waiting when you get home from work.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: September 27th, 2012
ow that it's getting colder and we're not worried about using our ovens and stoves, we're also looking forward to heartier meals—gone are fresh green salads, replaced by stews and soups. And thankfully, since those sorts of meals take a lot longer to cook, the Crock Pot exists to make our lives a bit easier on busy workdays. The Crock Pot's been around since 1971, and we hope it doesn't go anywhere anytime soon.
Slow-cookers work with an electric heating element which is encased in a metal housing that surrounds the oval cooking pot. The constant, evenly-distributed heat makes it easy for cooks to simmer foods at a low temperature. Most have two or more heat settings—usually low, high, and "keep warm." Low temperatures heat the food to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit, while the high temperature setting typically heats it to 190-200 degrees. Since liquid is always included in crock pot meal recipes, a low-pressure seal is formed thanks to condensation.
The low-heat setting heats food to around 170 degrees, while the high-heat setting heats to around 190-200 degrees.
Slow-cooking works perfectly for inexpensive, tough cuts of meat, like pork shoulder or brisket. The low temperature allows the connective tissue in the meat to soften, which makes said tough cuts very tender. The low temperature also ensures that foods don't burn, which makes the Crock Pot optimal for cooking a meal all day while you're at work.
The first time you use a crock pot, you might be nervous to leave it on all day, especially if you won't be there, but remember—these things have been on the market for over 40 years. If they weren't safe enough to leave on, they wouldn't be on the shelves.
One of our favorite things to make in the Crock Pot is slow-cooked pork. It results in tender shredded/pulled pork, which you can use to make plenty of things, from tacos to casseroles to soups. Pot roast is also a favorite, and its potato and vegetable accompaniments can also be cooked in a slow cooker.
But aside from savory, meaty dishes, the slow cooker can be used for things like making your own applesauce, cooking oatmeal(slow-cooking oats give them a much creamier texture), mashed potatoes, or even desserts like cobblers and crisps.
So the next time you feel too exhausted to plan meals, think about breaking out your slow cooker. Like a popular infomercial says, cooking with a Crock Potis as simple as "set it and forget it."