Powered by Blogger.

Networked Blogs

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Freezer to Crock Pot Cooking Tips

  • Link to post with above photographed recipes is HERE.
  •  I use 1 gallon zippered freezer bags.  They are more durable than regular zippered bags.  The 1 gallon size is usually equivalent to a 5 quart slow cooker.
  •  When you’re ready to cook your items, always start with a cold crock pot.  Do not preheat the crock.  If you put cold items into a crock that’s already heated, the crockery insert could shatter or crack. This is also true for items that have just been in the refrigerator.  Cold+hot=Shatter. 
  •  I cook items straight from the freezer.  It takes longer to cook, but I’ve never had a problem.  Some people prefer the recipes are thawed first.  If so, thaw the entire bag of ingredients unopened for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and then add to the crock.  Adjust cooking times as necessary. 
  •  Write what’s in the zippered freezer bag on the outside before adding ingredients.  Include cooking times, directions such as to add potatoes, serve over rice or noodles, etc.  You may think you’ll remember what’s in that bag, but two weeks from now you might not. 
  •  Crock pot cooking temperatures vary.  When in doubt, allow more time to cook rather than less. 
  • When using meat, you will need to precook meats with a high fat content such as hamburger meat or certain cuts of stew meat.  If in doubt, precook.  I also recommend rinsing these meats before adding them to the freezer bag.  Since you will be cooking them again in the crock, there might be more fat that comes out during the cooking process. 
  •  Place meats in the bottom of zippered bags and place ingredients on top.  Once everything is added, squeeze out air, seal the bag, and massage slightly to distribute ingredients well.  This ensures meats are surrounded by ingredients.  This is important when you’re ready to cook because sometimes the meat can stick together as it is cooking, increasing time needed for everything to cook evenly.
  •  Less liquid is better than more.  The funny thing about cooking in a crock pot or slow cooker is that it generates liquids from the items that are cooking, since condensation is trapped.  You can always add more liquid later if the recipe seems dry or thick.
  •  If at the end of cooking your recipe seems to have more liquid than intended, turn the crock pot on high, remove the lid, and allow some of the liquids to simmer/boil off until it’s the desired thickness. 
  •  You can make almost any crock pot recipe a freezer-to-crock recipe.  Just remember that potatoes and pasta do not freeze well.  I’ve seen recipes that say you can use both of these items, but my experience is that the potatoes and pasta come out mushy, with the exception of lasagna.  I add potatoes at the time I put ingredients in the crock.  I cook pasta separately and add it just prior to serving, as we tend to like our pasta al dente.
  •  Almost any casserole can be adapted for cooking in a crock pot. 
  •  Almost any soup can also be adapted for the crock pot.  Just decrease the liquid significantly (by at least 1/2 if not 2/3).  When I make soup in the crock, I start with as little amount of liquid as possible then add liquid toward the end, if needed. 

I will be posting more freezer-to-crock pot meals in the coming days and weeks.  I just need photos.  Photographing food is a lot harder than it looks! 

No comments:

Post a Comment