Here is where the meat hits the pan, (cooks term for “where the rubber hits the road”). Oh well, I tried. Small Kitchen Appliances For You has reviews, recipes, and cooking tips. You will also find out which small kitchen appliances are most suited to your needs, and where to buy them.
Cooking Tips for Slow Cookers
- Before you plug in the unit. In international locations check voltage compatibility first, many countries are 220-240V, in North America standard voltage is 110-120V.
- Start the night before so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Prepare all the ingredients and put them in separate containers to prevent cross-contamination. Put the containers in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning put the ingredients into the insert and start the slow cooking process. Do not put the insert with the ingredients into the fridge because it will take longer to heat the cold insert.
- Do not cook frozen food and do not overfill your pot. Fill to no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full to avoid food staying in the unsafe, bacteria growing temperature range for too long.
- Cut the food into evenly sized chunks to ensure even cooking.
- Place root vegetables at the bottom of the pot to get them closer to the heat source.
- If you have time, brown meats and saute vegetables for a few minutes to
caramelize them and give the meal a little extra flavor. Slow cooking vegetables raw with the meat changes their flavor.
- Thicken the liquids by rolling meat in flour (this is called dredging), adding seasoning if you like, before placing in the slow cooker.
- Don’t add oil and trim the fat off meat. Liquids are trapped in a slow cooker so additional oils and fats pool inside, ruining the look and taste of the meal.
- Because alcohol in wine does not leave the slow cooker use less, about 1/2, of what you would use with conventional cooking equipment.
- Add more herbs and seasons than usual as the slow cooking process diminishes their flavor.
- The process of slow cooking tenderizes meat so that less expensive cuts can and should be used. Higher cuts of meat tend to dry out. Also, use less meat and more veggies as the meat flavor has more time to infuse into the other ingredients.
- Don’t get tempted to lift the lid to see how it’s coming along or to get a whiff of that tantalizing smell. There is only a little bit of heat in the slow cooker and losing heat means it takes longer to cook.
- At high altitudes, above 4,000 feet, add more cooking time to adjust for the altitude.
- Add dairy products during the last 60 minutes to avoid curdling or if you can’t, then use canned sweetened, condensed, or evaporated milk. Substitute processed cheese instead of aged. Also, add fresh herbs in the last 60 minutes of cooking.
- Beware of the power outage! It is generally safe to resume slow cooking for outages less than 2 hours. Any longer and the food will likely be contaminated with bacteria and must be thrown out.
- After cooking, serve and enjoy!
Best Slow Cooker For You
Want to know what the slow cooker best suited to your needs? Read my Small Kitchen Appliances For You/Slow Cookers page to find out.
Cooking Tips for Using Blenders
Countertop blenders are fairly easy to use. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety and assembly recommendations.
- Plug in the unit. In international locations check voltage compatibility first, many countries are 220-240V, in North America standard voltage is 110-120V.
- Ingredients go in the top of the container. If ice is used, put a little water on the bottom in order to prevent bridging, where the ice forms a dome over the blades and won’t fall into the blades.
- Liquids and/or softest, juiciest ingredients should go at the bottom with more solid items on top. Put leafy greens in between the soft and hard produce. Cut large chunks into smaller pieces.
- Always put on the lid and make sure it is secure. If it doesn’t lock in place, use your hand to hold it on in order to prevent ingredients flying out of the top and onto walls, ceilings and yourself.
- Your blender’s pulse button, if available, is often all that’s needed for blending.
- Start with a slow speed and slowly increase as required so you can control the texture desired.
- Avoid extended blending especially with heavier ingredients unless using a heavy-duty, high-performance blender. Some units are not overload protected and damage to the unit can result.
- Air trapped during the blending process causes the fluid to expand. Fill the unit only about 2/3rds full to allow for this expansion.
- After use pre-clean the unit with a small amount of water and detergent with the blender on slow speed or using the pulse button. Then, as soon as possible, disassemble the unit and wash the container, blades, and bottom cover with soap and hot water. Rinse and air dry.
- Wipe the base with a clean, moistened cloth. Never put the base with its electrical components underwater or you may not live to regret it.
- Blenders do not do well:
- Mashing potatoes
- Whipping egg whites
- Whipping heavy cream
- Extracting juice unless the blender has an extraction setting
- Grinding raw meats
- Kneading dough
Best Blender For You
Want to know what the slow cooker best suited to your needs? Read my Small Kitchen Appliances For You/Blenders page in order to find out.
Would you like to see some more cooking tips? Why not visit Good Housekeeping’s cooking tips page. But, please come back later and have a look at some of the other interesting posts and pages here on Small Kitchen Appliances For You.
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