Crockin’ 101

Basics of Crockin'

Timing is everything.

Take a cue from Goldilocks and test your slow cooker using various recipes to determine the best cook times for soups, meats, dessert and more. Cook times do vary from one crock to another. The cooking time can be correct for one slow cooker and not the same for others. Some models cook very hot, while others are just right. Desserts are definitely recipes you should watch closely. Also, the size of your slow cooker will impact the cook time.

 

Size does matter.

Majority of our recipes work well in a 6 to 7-quart slow cookers. Desserts and sides seem to work well in 5 to 6 quart crocks, and sometimes they even work in a 4-quart crock. The smaller crocks are great for dips.

 

What slow cooker do you recommend?

There are so many slow cookers out there with different settings and options. When choosing a slow cooker look for features that work for you such as shape (oval or round), size (7, 6, 3 or 1.5 quart), settings (programmable or manual), and features (tight gasket lid, internal temperature reader, automatic switch to keep food warm once temperature is reached and more). Or get one of each! We have over 40 models shhh don’t tell our husbands!

 

Can I use thawed or frozen chicken?

We get this question quite a bit and our answer is always this; if you would like to extend your cook time by at least two hours or more then definitely use frozen. If you are in a hurry and have forgotten to defrost chicken for a slow cooker meal, then use it frozen. It doesn’t hurt to use the frozen chicken as long as the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

 

Recipe Key

Use this handy dandy key to match up recipes to your lifestyle.

 

Heart healthy
Vegetarian
Low calorie

Low-fat

Low-sodium

8 hours or more

 

What modifications can I use to make recipes Gluten-Free?

We don’t eat with this restriction so we called on a close friend whose daughter must eat gluten-free to share her tips.

“If a recipe calls for a cream of soup, we make the homemade version and substitute the regular flour with rice flour. Any baking recipe requires us to use a Gluten-Free flour blend and xanthan gum (1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per 1 cup flour baking blend). My favorite baking flour blend is: 1 ½  cups Sorghum flour, 1 ½  cups potato starch or cornstarch, 1 cup tapioca flour.” – Christi Burks

Slow Cooker Size

There are so many slow cookers out there with different settings and options. When choosing a slow cooker look for features that work for you such as shape (oval or round), size (7, 6, 3 or 1.5 quart), settings (programmable or manual), and features (tight gasket lid, internal temperature reader, automatic switch to keep food warm once temperature is reached and more). Or get one of each! We have over 40 models shhh don’t tell our husbands!

Basics of Slow Cooking

Welcome to the world of Crockin'! Slow cooking will free up time you never knew existed and transform your, "I don't know how to cook," thought into, "I cooked dinner 3 times this week!" Learn why slow cooking is saving dinnertime all over the country. It's easy, cost-efficient and exceptionally addicting. Once you Crock, you won't stop!

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Slow Cooking Tips and Tidbits

We could all use our friend's advice when it comes to...well about everything! With the Crockin' Community you have over 100,000 friends and we're all here to help each other in and out of the kitchen. Here are some slow cooking tips and tidbits from community members that you'll find especially helpful!

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Slow Cooker Recommendations

Did you know not all crocks cook the same? There are so many slow cookers out there with different settings and options. When choosing a slow cooker look for features that work for you such as shape (oval or round), size (7, 6, 3 or 1.5 quart), settings (programmable or manual), and features (tight gasket lid, internal temperature reader, automatic switch to keep food warm once temperature is reached and more).

GE 6-quart programmable slow-cooker
Nicole loves this lightweight slow-cooker. It's non-stick and is energy efficient and also has nice features such as retractable cord, cool-touch exterior and a locking lid that is great for travel.

Bella Dots 6 -quart slow cooker
You know we love to accessorize, so we had to have these bright, colorful crocks in our kitchens! Choose from purple, pink, orange, red, blue, white, black, and green - one in every color to match your wardrobe. The removable ceramic crock is dishwasher safe and has three settings; Low, Warm, and Hot. They also have a programmable one, but it only comes in black.

All-Clad Deluxe 7-quart slow-cooker
It's the priciest of our slow-cookers, but it is crock-tastic. You can use the non-stick insert a.k.a. crock, on the stove top to brown ingredients before slow cooking. The stainless steel finish sure is pretty, but we do wish the lid was glass so we could see what we're crockin'.

Hamilton Beach 6-quart Set 'n Forget
We don't use this one too often, but it has great features such as locking lid and a meat thermometer. It automatically switches to ''warm'' once the cooking time is complete.

Essential Ingredients

These are the items that we usually have on hand in our pantry. They help us make a variety of recipes. Get your crock on!

Diced Tomatoes
Frozen Chicken Breast
Rotel
Jar of Salsa
Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
Noodles/Pasta
2-3 Bags frozen veggies
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Velveeta
Garlic (fresh cloves or refrigerated jar)
Taco Seasonings
Canned Beans
BBQ Sauce
Ranch Dressing Mix
Cream of Chicken
Can Corn
Potatoes
Onion
Stock/Broth

Crockin' Love

I just wanted to say I love the cookbook!! I got my signed cookbook a while ago, I have been using the book a lot lately. Since it is football season it makes dinner time so easy. Also being 6 months pregnant I don’t want to be stuck in front of the hot oven. It has been a life saver!! I also have been freezing meals for after baby #3 comes, so my hubby can defrost and heat!! Love love love it!!! I made the baked ziti today for my sons 10th birthday and he loved it!! Tomorrow is chicken in a hurry!! At this rate I’m going to need a new crock soon.
Maureen Girardin

I love, love, love the cookbook. It is so colorful and I enjoy the personal information from the both of you. And of course cannot wait to try every single one of the recipes. I look forward to the next book. Again ladies, outstanding job!
Pamela Stanley

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Weekly Meal Plans

Weekly Meal Plan #7 - February 11th, 2013

We’ve each come up with our own meal plans this week to get us through a hectic week of School Valentine’s Day Parties and travel plans! Nicole’s Meal Plan for the Week Monday – Nicole’s Crockin’ Breakfast Have makeovers with the leftovers and roll into burritos (These are great to freeze individually and re-heat for… [Read More]

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FAQs

Should I use thawed or frozen chicken?

We get this question quite a bit and our answer is always this; if you would like to extend your cook time by at least two hours or more then definitely use frozen. If you are in a hurry and have forgotten to defrost chicken for a slow cooker meal, then use it frozen. It doesn't hurt to use the frozen chicken as long as the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Why do you send the ingredients in the Friday newsletter without the cooking directions?

We send you a shopping list of ingredients so you can take it to the store over the weekend and have them on hand when we send the Crockin' Monday video that gives you all of the directions. When we first started Crockin' Girls the Monday videos were what helped us connect to our Crockin' Community and we want to continue that.

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