Slow Cooker Do's and Don'ts from Ribbon in My Journal

Slow Cooker Do’s and Don’ts

Phyllis Lifestyle 5 Comments

January is the perfect time for warm comfort food. You would be hard-pressed to find an easier way to make a hot and delicious dinner than with your slow cooker. This winter, the editors of Taste of the South have collected some of their best recipes for slow cookers in their latest special edition, Southern Slow Cooker.

They’ve included some handy tips for using your slow cooker.

I hope you find their “Do’s and Don’ts” as helpful as I did. It seems there’s always an opportunity to learn something new.

And don’t miss the recipe for Easy Chicken and Dumplings. It sounded too delicious not to share with you.

Slow Cooker Do’s

  • Season and sear your meat before adding it to the slow cooker. This extra step will add big flavor to your dish and a beautiful browned color.
  • Use large fatty cuts of meat (no more than five pounds) in your slow cooker. The long cooking time will break down the meat, leaving you with moist and tender results.
  • Always spray the insert with cooking spray before making candy in your slow cooker. Your cleanup time will be much faster.
  • Brighten the flavor of your slow cooker meal by adding fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice toward the end of the cooking time.

 Slow Cooker Don’ts

  • Don’t fill your slow cooker more than two-thirds full. Overfilling results in longer cooking times and potentially messy overflows.
  • Don’t combine the ingredients in your slow cooker insert and refrigerate overnight to save time. A cold slow cooker insert will take longer to heat up, ultimately affecting the cooking time and potentially the food’s safety.
  • Don’t add extra liquid to your slow cooker recipe (unless directed); the meat and vegetables release water during cooking, creating a flavorful broth.
  • Don’t remove the lid during cooking. Opening and closing the covered slow cooker increases your overall cooking time. However, removing the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking can help reduce excess liquid in the slow cooker.
Easy Chicken and Dumplings
Makes about 4 servings
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  1. ¼ cup unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  3. 1 cup chopped celery
  4. 1 cup chopped carrot
  5. ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  6. 2 (32-ounce) containers chicken broth
  7. ½ (32-ounce) package frozen dumplings, broken in thirds*
  8. 4 cups shredded Slow Cooker Chicken (recipe follows)
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  1. 1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth; bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Add frozen dumplings in batches, stirring to keep dumplings from sticking to bottom of pan. Bring back to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until dumplings are tender, about 30 minutes. Add chicken, thyme, and parsley; cook 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.
  1. *We used Mary B’s brand frozen dumplings.
The Ribbon in My Journal - Phyllis Hoffman DePiano
Slow Cooker Chicken
Makes 2 whole chickens
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  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. ½ teaspoon onion powder
  6. ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 4 small onions, peeled
  8. 2 (4-pound) whole chickens
  1. 1. In a small bowl, stir together oil, pepper, salt, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder; rub mixture over chickens. In the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, place onions. Place chickens on onions.
  2. 2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°.
The Ribbon in My Journal - Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

What do you love to make with your slow cooker?

Slow Cooker special edition Taste of the South

Comments 5

  1. This sounds amazing! Will definitely give it a try. I admit I don’t use my slow cooker as often as I should. Everything seems to turn out over-cooked. Directions are usually vague and cooking time is always a less-than-best guess. I’m betting the recipes you’ve compiled in this book will change all that!

  2. When we woke to the dreaded arrival of this weeks ice storm, the first thought I had was to get out the slow cooker. We were lucky in that the power was only out for ten minutes. Most of our area was not so lucky, some are still without power. Still, thanks to our reliable slow cooker, we had hearty comfort food through out the next several days. This morning we awoke to fresh snow. The cooker will not be getting a rest for awhile. Thank you for the new recipes.

  3. My two stand-by recipes are Chicken Brunswick Stew and French Onion Soup. Always on the look out for more recipes for slow cookers. Will try the Southern Slow Cooker recipes as well as the recipes you provided. Thanks!

  4. I love my mom’s sauerkraut, potato, and pork chop casserole. You can use very cheap chops since they will cook a long time. Rinse the sauerkraut and drain, then add paprika and caraway seeds to taste. Also mix in chopped dried apples. Thickly slice red potatoes and season them with salt, pepper and paprika. Season the pork chops the same and brown them in a skillet. Starting with the kraut then potatoes, layer everything in approximately 3 or 4 layers finishing with kraut on top. Add 1/4 cup apple cider. Cook on low 6 to 7 hours until the chops practically fall apart. Serve with good rye bread.

  5. I like to make my mother-in- law’s recipe for beef soup… I use beef shanks with a lot of marbeling… And yes all your veggies go on the bottom and your meat on top… And yes do not go over the limit with liquid, I once had a complete mess… Do not use it often, but I certainly use it when I’am short on time! By the way my mother-in-law made her beef soup the conventional way! If she were still here she would be amazed! A very Happy New Year to all!

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