There are so many different easy crockpot recipes you can make and not a lot that you cannot cook in the crockpot. Some foods are unsuitable for long cooking times and there are a few ingredients you need to take extra care with, when making crockpot food.
Slow Cooking Fish and Seafood
For example, a lot of people think you cannot cook seafood in a slow cooker but that is not technically true. Seafood will overcook and have a rubbery texture unless you add it during the last hour of cooking time.
If you are adding fish or seafood which is already cooked, for example canned tuna or cooked shrimp, these only need to warm through, so throw them in for the last twenty or thirty minutes of cooking time. Remember these ingredients cook or heat up faster if you are using the high or medium setting on the slow cooker, rather than the low one.
Tender Vegetables in the Crockpot
The same applies to tender vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Add these during the final thirty or forty minutes, else they will go mushy and fall apart. The mushiness will not affect their flavor but it will affect the presentation of your dish and also the texture of it. Soggy vegetables might also make your crockpot recipe too watery.
Remember that liquids will not boil away in a crockpot. They cannot evaporate because the lid holds them in there, so if you are converting a recipe from the stove or oven to the crockpot, reduce the liquid by a third or half, unless you are making soup or cooking rice in there.
Take Care with Dairy Products
Add dairy products during the last half an hour, unless the recipe tells you otherwise. Milk curdles over long cooking times but you can add some sour cream or heavy cream in the final hour of cooking instead. Evaporated milk is a good alternative.
Natural cheeses break down, so either add them at the end of the cooking time or use a processed cheese instead, such as Velveeta. Spices lose their flavor if they are cooked for too long so add these during the last hour.
Pasta should be cooked beforehand and added to the crockpot during the final half an hour of cooking time. If you are converting a stovetop recipe for crockpot cooking, cook the pasta on the stove and then add it. Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper are used in many crockpot recipes but they go bitter if you cook them for a long time, so do not add much, and add these ingredients near the end of the cooking time.
Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in a Crockpot?
The answer to this question is not clear-cut; some people are happy to cook frozen food like frozen chicken in a slow cooker and others would not do it. If you wash your chicken well before cooking it, to remove any bacteria, it ought to be fine in whichever recipe you make.
If you cook the chicken on a low setting for ten hours, it will be cooked through and any bacteria will have died. If you use your crockpot’s high setting instead, the outside will be done but the inside might not be quite ready, so if you are using frozen chicken, you should cook it for a long time on low, else thaw it in the microwave before you begin.
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