Slow Cooker Tips for Busy Families
Today’s post is courtesy of Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O’Clock Scramble. Looking for a quick, easy-to-prep winter dinners? Aviva shares her go-to slow cooker tips for busy families.
How wonderful is the idea of walking into your house at 6:00 p.m. to be greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of dinner waiting for you? It doesn’t have to be a fantasy! With a slow cooker and a little advanced preparation, this can be your reality several nights each week. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you can put all the ingredients together in the morning before heading out the door or in the afternoon before you head out and about. Your dinner will cook while you’re doing other important things like working and taking care of (or driving around) your kids.
If you’re not experienced with the slow cooker, have no fear! Below are some helpful tips that will ensure great results.
Crock pot Tips for Easy-to-Prepare Family Dinners
Don’t over or under-fill. Your slow cooker works best if it is 1/2 – 3/4 full. Food will scorch or burn more easily when the crock is less than half full, and could boil over if filled to the brim.
Since slow cooked foods retain their juices, you may find yourself needing to add less liquid than you are used to when cooking by other methods.
Pasta can be tricky to cook in the slow cooker. Some recipes will direct you to add pasta during the last 30 minutes of cooking. When in doubt, it’s best to cook the pasta separately.
Browning meat, onions, or other ingredients prior to placing in the slow cooker is a matter of preference, although some people say it adds additional flavor. To save time and effort, skip the browning.
Feel free to season (or add additional seasonings) toward the end of the cooking time. While perfectly acceptable to add at the beginning, the flavor of some herbs tends to dissipate while cooking. This is particularly true with fresh herbs.
Don’t worry! A slow cooker is very forgiving, and can be left for long periods of time: an unexpected last minute errand will likely not ruin your meal.
Slow Cooker Recipes from The Six O’Clock Scramble
Here are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes:
Aviva Goldfarb is a Family Dinner Expert and founder and CEO of the family dinner planning site, the Six O’Clock Scramble. Aviva is author of 3 cookbooks including her most recent, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families”, which was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by the Washington Post. Aviva is a recent and upcoming Today Show guest and is frequently featured in national parenting, lifestyle and health magazines and TV and radio shows.