Crock-pot cooking can offer some very tasty meals and desserts however some basic rules should be followed when using a crock-pot to cook with. You should be careful not to over stir their food while it's cooking in a crock pot. Taking the lid off during cooking causes vast amounts of heat to escape, therefore the food should only be stirred if it is clearly stated in the recipe.
Some elements can only be added at the end of the cooking time. When using milk and sour cream be sure to wait until the last fifteen minutes of cooking time before adding these ingredients. Unless the recipe states otherwise, seafood only needs to be included during the last hour of cooking time.
Pasta and rice cook requirements are quite different for crock-pot cooking. For the best results with pasta, cook in boiling water until just tender, and then add the pasta to the main dish during the last thirty minutes of cooking time. You should also try to use long grain converted rice for the best results. If the rice does not appear cooked completely through, you can add another 1-1.5 cups of liquid per cup of rice. Always boil beans before adding them to the crock-pot for cooking.
Frozen foods can be used in crock-pot cooking. When cooking frozen means you should use at least one cup of warm liquid along with the meat. When preparing these types of meals you should all for and additional four to six hours on low temperature or two hours on high.
Contrary to popular belief, cooking raw meat in the crock-pot is very safe. During the cooking process, the meat's internal temperature reaches approximately 170 degrees in beef and 190 degrees in poultry. Two important things to remember however is to always cook the meat for its complete time recommended in the recipe recommend time. Secondly, do not remove the lid on the slow cooker. There is no requirement to brown meat beforehand unless the you prefer the look and taste of browned meat.
When cooking in a crock-pot the best flavors will come from whole herbs and spices. Crushed herbs and spices rapidly lose their flavor during the long cooking time, but whole spices keep their flavor during the entire cooking time because they take longer to let go of their flavor.
Crock-pots can be used to make desserts and baked goods as well. You should be sure not to over beat breads and cakes; and should always follow the recommended recipe guidelines. Never add water to the crock-pot unless it specifically says to do so. Always allow cakes and breads to sit and cool for five to seven minutes before taking them out of the pan.
Vegetables like potatoes and carrots should be cut no larger than 1" thick, and put in the bottom of the pot, since they require more time to cook. Crock-pot cooking can be delicious for both meals and desserts when some basic guidelines are followed.