The Value Of Crockpot Stoneware In Today's Kitchens

Ever since the Rival company brought out its first crockpot in
the 1970s, people have loved the convenience and excellent performance
of this small kitchen appliance. Part of the success must be given to
the crockpot stoneware which makes up the inner part of most slow
cookers.
Crockpot

Some slow electric cookers are stainless steel, but the
majority are a metal base and a stoneware liner. Stoneware has been
known for centuries as a way to get even heat to the food being cooked,
and the heaviness of the pottery enhances the effect of moderate
electric heat.

Glazed stoneware has a smooth, durable surface
which makes it easy to clean. It also does not impart any flavors to the
food or leach impurities into it. The liners are removable, so no water
needs to touch the electric base during washing, and they are often
attractive enough to go right on the table or buffet.

Food stays
hot longer in stoneware than it will in metal or glass, and the crock
can be put into a conventional oven for reheating, although you can use
the low setting on the crockpot itself for this purpose as well.
The
lids of crockpots are not oven-safe, but the crocks themselves can
withstand heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with no problem. Foil can
be substituted for the lid when heating in a conventional oven.

Crockpot
stoneware now comes in many sizes, from 16 ounce dip or sauce cookers
to big-family, 7 quart capacity pots. The outer and inner liners are
often very elegant, with designs and bright colors, and both round and
oval crocks look fine on a buffet or on the dining room table.

There are even divided inserts now, so two courses of a meal can be ready by the time everyone gets home in the evening.

Having
a hot meal all ready is the charm of a crockpot. In these busy times
when the whole family can be out all day, and everyone is too tired to
cook a whole meal at night, having a crockpot dinner hot and ready to go
is far better than sending out for pizza or bringing home fast food in a
bag.
All meats and vegetables do well in a slow cooker – there
are literally thousands of crockpot recipes out there in cookbook land
and cyberspace – and creative cooks have even developed great desserts
that can be made in this way.

Crockpot stoneware is great for
cooking, pretty for serving, easy to clean, and can even go into the
refrigerator to hold the left overs for tomorrow.

Discover How Crockpot Cooking Saves You Time

I’m one of those folks who bought a crockpot, thinking it was the
answer to my dinnertime chaos, put it in my pantry and promptly forgot
about it. Until my grocery budget and work schedule got stretched to the
limit. Now, my crockpot is front and center on my kitchen counter top
and instrumental several times a week in feeding my family a good,
home-cooked meal. Where is your crockpot?
Crockpot

Before you put your
crockpot to work, take a good look at it. Does it have a pattern or
color that’s reminiscent of the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s? If looking at your
crockpot makes you all nostalgic, it’s best to buy a new one. You will
be glad to spend the $30 to $50 when you see all the new energy
efficient models available. There are also some really great, new
features like temperature settings, warming cycles, and secure
leak-proof lids. Although, when it comes to features, the best one is
how much time you’ll save! That’s great to know, but how exactly will a
crockpot save you time? Let’s take a look:

Walk Away From The Pot
If
you are watching pots on the stove top boil, you are wasting time. Even
stirring soups and sauces take time, especially if you’re making
something that could stick to the bottom of the pot if left unattended.
When you make a meal in one pot it truly does save time, but not if you
have to watch it! Make that spaghetti sauce or chili in a crockpot and
walk away. Now you can do something other than stir that pot.

Delegate Cooking Chores
Getting
my family to help with meal preparations is a big time saver in my
book. If I can walk away for a few minutes while my children are
scrubbing potatoes and plunking them in the crockpot, I’ve got those
precious minutes to attend to another task. Getting kids involved
putting a crockpot meal together is possible because there’s less danger
of having someone get burned; you don’t turn on a crockpot until all
the ingredients are in and you’re ready. There are many crockpot recipes
available that have only a few basic ingredients, so even a cooking
novice like my husband can jump right in there and cook a meal, too.

Planning Ahead
If
you’ve been running to the grocery store several times a week to hurry
up and get something for dinner, you’ve been wasting a lot of your very
precious time. Wouldn’t it be nice to pick up the kids from swim lessons
and be able to go right home without that frantic stop for food? I keep
several of my favorite crockpot recipes in my purse, so all I have to
do is make one planned stop at the grocery store, buy the ingredients I
need for a couple meals, and my shopping is done for the week. I even
have time now to clean all my vegetables when I get home so they’re all
ready when I put my planned crockpot dinners together. Now, we’re really
saving time!

Cook Once Eat Twice
I’m a big believer in
cooking larger portions so that we’re cooking once and eating twice. My
crockpot is a 6 quart size oval, which is big enough to have leftovers
for lunches, so we don’t have to spend time shopping for lunches or,
worse yet, going out to lunch. When you cook double and put half in the
freezer you can cut your cooking down to only two or three times a week.
Pulling a meal out from the freezer is a real time saver.
Look at
your poor crockpot just waiting for you to come to your senses again. I
know you can do it, once you look at all the time you’ll save.

Cooking With a Crockpot – It's Slow Good

It is easy to come home to a hot dinner every night when you use
your crockpot. Taking the time to fill up the crockpot in the morning
will reward you with a delicious meal in the evening with no fuss. When
you get home, just dish everyone up, and have a wonderful meal.
Crockpot

Easy Crockpot Cooking Tips
There
are a few tips that will help your crockpot meals turn out perfect
every time. First, never overfill the crockpot. Make sure when you are
filling it up that the pot is between half and three-quarters full. Too
full, and your food will not cook enough. If the pot is too empty, the
food will cook too quickly and you will come home to a dinner that is
overdone.

Fresh vegetables should be placed in the bottom of the
crockpot because they take longer to cook than your meat. You may have
trouble believing it, but try putting them on top and see what happens.
Frozen vegetables should be placed on top of your meat since they do not
take long to cook.

If you take the time to brown your meat before
putting it in the crockpot, the fat will get rendered a bit and the
natural sugars in the meat will caramelize. Your meal will look more
appetizing, and you can deglaze the pan afterwards and add the delicious
drippings to the crockpot for flavor. It also helps if you remove any
skin or excess fat from your meat before you start.

When to Add those Tender Ingredients
Ingredients
that are tender, such as tomatoes, peas, and other soft foods should be
added in the last half hour or so of cooking. Dairy should be added
only a short time before you serve as well. When you add dairy products,
make sure your temperature is on low so they will not curdle.
Thickeners like cornstarch can be added during the last hour of cooking.
Place the crockpot on high so their thickening qualities are activated.
Rice and pasta should be added during the last 45 minutes or so or they
will tend to turn to mush.

Do not remove the lid during cooking
unless you need to add additional ingredients. Try to do this all at
once so you do not lose too much heat. Each time you open the lid; you
should add another 30 minutes to your cooking time.

What Can You Make with a Crockpot?
Following
these simple suggestions makes cooking in the crockpot easy and fun.
Your crockpot can be used to easily make just about anything. Roast pork
and beef work well in the crockpot. Add a whole chicken or chicken
parts with your favorite sauce for a tender, tasty meal. Stew works
well, as does soup. Side dishes can also be made in the crockpot.
Vegetable dishes, rice and lentil dishes are all easy to make while you
are away.

Amazingly, you can even bake in your crockpot! Desserts
like cakes, sweet breads, and boiled peanuts can be made easily without
using your oven. The versatile crockpot is a tool everyone should have
in his or her kitchen.

The Crockpot – Some Features You Should Look For

Crockpots were designed to let people cook food while they were
away at home and not just cook food but slow cook it. The slow cooking
feature works so well, that many people use their crockpot to slow cook
food even when their home. The crockpot allows food to be placed in the
pot while it’s uncooked and when it’s done, the entire meal is finished
and cooked. There is no hassle required, you just throw the food in and
open the lid again a few hours later.
Crockpot

For anyone who hasn’t used a
crockpot before, they certainly don’t know what they’re missing. It is a
fantastic product that usually finds itself on wedding gift registries.
There are many features that can come on a crockpot that can really
produce some high tech cooking. The only drawback to this little
appliance is that it can usually only feed two to three people for a
small one and five to six people for a larger one. So while it may be
perfect for the immediate family, it may not work if you’re having
dinner guests or hosting the family reunion dinner party.

When
you’re buying a pot you will want to make sure that it is easy to clean.
You can do this by making sure that the pot is removable from the base
and you can even check to see that it has a stick resistant feature.
That way when your food is done, you won’t have to scrub or scrape any
old hard food left on the pots surface.

Checking to see that it is dishwasher safe is also a precaution if you’re looking to keep your crockpot it’s cleanest.

There
are different sizes that you can get for your pot. You can find them in
three quarts which can feed two to three people and is quite small, or
you can buy them bigger at six quarts and they can feed five to six.
Buying a bigger one might allow you to make some extra for freezing
purposes.

The features that can come on a crockpot vary with each
model, you can find some with programmable options that allows you to
customize your cooking needs, LCD countdown timer, for ideal cooking
times, stainless steel for extra cleaning support, and options that
allow you to customize your temperatures and preset two separate cook
times. Some crockpots even have an automatic warmer that allows your
food to stay nice and warm when the cooking time has stopped.

There
are many books you can buy that specialize in recipes. You can also
check on line for them as well. There are hundreds of possible meals
that can be made using the crockpot. Some people use them a few times a
week, to cook meals and make sauces and soups. With all of the styles
and features available there is sure to be one in your price range. The
crockpot works great with whatever it costs, it does the same trick.

Crazy About Crockery

As with most cooks, when I first turned to my crockpot it is
because I want something savoury and easy because I don’t have the time
to cook. When you check out Crazy About Crockery for the first time you
will see that your crockpot can easily become your most used kitchen
tool.
Crockery

Not just one cookbook Crazy About Crockery is actually a
3-in-1 combo containing the Easy and Inexpensive, Soups and Stews and
Entertaining cookbooks all in one very convenient package. The hard
cover with plastic ring binding makes it perfect for setting down hands
free while you cook from your favourite recipe(s).

The first book
in the collection includes “101 Easy and Inexpensive Recipes for Less
than $0.75 a serving”. Inexpensive is great but what about the taste you
ask? There is no skimping on taste with these recipes, just reading
them sets my mouth watering. From One-Pot Meals to Casseroles and then
on to Meats (which includes wild and game recipes as well) ending
finally with Supplemental Recipes (sauces and side dishes) you will find
something even the most finicky eater will enjoy and well within your
budget too!

Book 2 is “101 Soups & Stews for Less than $0.75 a
serving”. This cookbook starts off with the Soups section, moves on to
Stews and then (if you didn’t think that those were enough) even adds a
section for Chowders and one for Stocks! Throughout each section are
excellent tips and suggestions to make your cooking time easier, safer
and shorter too. If you are having a rather large group over, try the
Elephant Stew (page 59), which serves about 1,200 people.

Last but
not least is the Entertaining cookbook. This too offers “101Recipes for
entertaining at Less than $0.75 a serving” and we all know how hard it
is to keep entertaining cost down. Entrees, Appetizers, Desserts and
Beverages are all covered complete with time saving, do-ahead and other
tips to make your get-together better.

Each cookbook also contains a complete index of each recipe for easy access. Try this easy recipe:
Apple Stew

  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6-8 new red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cubed
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped

Heat oil in skillet.
In
plastic bag, combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Add meat a few
pieces at a time and shake to evenly coat. Transfer meat to hot oil and
lightly brown meat on all sides. Remove meat and put in crockpot.
Add onion and celery and cook until onion turns transparent. Add to crockpot.
Combine
all remaining ingredients in crockpot. Cover with lid and cook on low
for 7 hours. Adjust seasonings according to taste and serve.
Prep. Time: about 15 minutes – Cost: about 63 cents per serving.