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Come and tell me about your slow cooker

(31 Posts)
notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 07:55:28

Lots of mnetters seem to have them on here and I'm intrigued. I love the idea of an easy ready to go dinner in the evening.

Which ones are best, what do I need to look for in a slow cooker, what can I cook in it, and are there any downsides?

Go! smile

notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 07:56:44

Even better, if you have any sure-fire winning recipes, would you mind sharing?

maebyfunke Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:11

The first one I bought was 6.5 litres. I have a family of five so thought I would need a huge one. It was good for whole chickens but far to big otherwise. I now have a 3.5 litre one and it's perfect!

notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 09:43:52

Good tip, mae. I think I would have gone for the bigger one.

Shameless bump time - need more tips!

deleted203 Thu 11-Oct-12 18:57:58

I think mine's too big as well! Even though there are 7 of us I only seem to fill it by third to a half! I don't use it as much as I feel I should. Lots of recipes say 8 hours on low - now tomorrow I'm at work and leaving at 7.30am - we won't eat until 7.00pm when DH comes in. Should I put slow cooker on for 12 hours - or can I put it on for 8 hours and will it keep warm if it's finished cooking at, say, 3.00pm? This is always my dilemma with the wretched thing. Advice anyone?

PinkChampagneandStrawberries Thu 11-Oct-12 18:59:43

I have just been thinking about buying one so will watch with interest

dreamingofsun Thu 11-Oct-12 19:25:06

take it out when you get home and then reheat, or put on low when you get home. or cook the previous evening. 12 hours on high would seem a bit much.
or try leaving on low all day. depends on the slow cooker - bit of trial and error involved, which you could do at weekend so you can keep an eye on things

mamij Thu 11-Oct-12 19:37:00

We have a large for me, DH, toddler and baby! But I always cook for lunch the following day for all of us and reheat. Or stick the extra portions in the freezer.

I have to admit it is a bit big, but great for when friends come around, and I can chuck loads of things in there for stews/curries/soups/whole chickens etc and be free to catch up!

We have one with a digital timer, which is great as I can set it to cook on high/low heat for x hours, then switches to keep warm mode.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 19:39:59

Does anyone have any links to models they'd recommend? Ta!

RinderThrillerNight Thu 11-Oct-12 19:41:23

<lurking>

DameEnidsOrange Thu 11-Oct-12 19:45:43

Not sure how big ours is as it is ancient, but I use it a lot, even though I work very part time from home.

I use it for stews, casseroles, bolognese - basically anything vaguely in a sauce.

I often start dinner about 2ish in the afternoon, and then just put it in the slow cooker on low to keep warm until we want to eat.

I don't think there is much in the way of functions, it's either low; high or auto - which is 4 hours high then drops down to low.

TempusFuckit Thu 11-Oct-12 19:51:24

I have a Crockpot, which I am slowly falling in love with. No idea how much it cost as it was a present, but the things I like about it are:

You can set it to cook for a certain time, either high or low, then it switches to keep warm until manually turned off

It's huge. Probably too big, but now I'm back at work very useful for batch cooking

You can put the pot itself on the hob or in the oven, and it's smart enough to use as a serving dish too.

In terms of cooking tips, someone must have mentioned the fact you don't put in much liquid already?

Inneedofbrandy Thu 11-Oct-12 19:55:53

Blughh I bought one after hearing them being raved about on here. They turn every veg casserole/soup/stew the same blughh flavour. Only nice thing has been a rice pudding which is lovely, really really really lovely.

50gr pudding rice
50gr sugar
1.5 litre of milk including a tin of condensed milk
cinnamon
a big knob of butter

Grease bottem add the rest and cook on high for a hour then turn down to medium for another hour or 2. You also have to stir it after the first 15 mins to make sure it doesn't stick.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 19:57:51

Ah now I spotted crockpots on line today. They look good.

Still need cooking tips - more please! grin

mamij Thu 11-Oct-12 19:58:25

OP, we got ours from amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B000WZQCVY).

Tempus sounds like we have the same.

deleted203 Thu 11-Oct-12 20:00:27

Thanks, dreaming. Do you think cooking it on low for 12 hours would be too much if recipe says low for 8? Trouble is I don't usually get home until after 6.00pm. Don't want to really have to re-heat the ruddy thing - I dream of being able to get in and tea is cooked, IYSWIM.

Like the recipe for rice pudding, BTW, Inneedofbrandy.

PandaG Thu 11-Oct-12 20:00:56

I had a smaller one, and swapped for a bigger one. I use it for casseroles, spag bol, chilli, whole roast chickens.

I always fill mine to capacity, and then portion it up and freeze, means one lot of electricity and effort does 3 or 4 family meals.

Thelobsterswife Thu 11-Oct-12 20:07:28

I have a very basic one. Three settings high, medium, low. It does the job fine but it would be handy to be able to programme it to cook on high for a while, then switch to low. Keep warm would also be good so I would look for something that does all that. I cook loads in mine. Never pre brown. Mince is lovely, just shoved in with tinned toms and flavours which I heat through then add to the mince. I did a nice moussaka today. Let the lamb mince cook all day then assembled and put in the oven. But I have seen you can actually do the whole thing in the slow cooker. I also do a lovely pork mince with fennel which I do with pasta. Joints of meat work well. Put a leg of lamb in the other day and came out lovely. For casseroles / curriest etc, you need to watch how long you cook them for and also take a bit of time making a sauce, either at the beginning or somehow thickening at the end. Otherwise it will be too watery. I have recently done a fruit crumble in mine and also mac n cheese. They take a bit of trial and error, but mine is a total life saver.

Catsmamma Thu 11-Oct-12 20:08:07

I have a 6.5l one, which is fabulous, always dinner and one for the freezer, unless the big boys are home

fabulous for mince things, bolognese/chilli/insides of cottage pie

excellent for ham/gammon, I have done chickens but am not keen

super for soup!

Other cooking tips are to use less stock than you think, there is less evaporation
Season more, for the same reason

Often you can throw it all in just chopped and raw, BUT it does make a great difference to the end result if you sweat the veg off first.

Finally...the modern ones are often a lot hotter than the older ones, I have found that I can do a chicken casserole on high in 4-5 hours, so ou do need to practise a little and get to know your one.

Inneedofbrandy Thu 11-Oct-12 20:10:28

Oohh mac and cheese sounds nice please give me recipe Thelobsterswife

sowornout it's better then my mums, not that I could ever tell her that.grin

Thelobsterswife Thu 11-Oct-12 20:22:31

I very loosely base it on the recipe below which I found online but I use less milk and cheese, and add a bit of nutmeg or something. You have to keep an eye on it though - it needs checking after a couple of hours so its not a leave all day job. Although I guess if you had a timer, you could programme it to come on a couple of hours before you are due home. Prob not in warm weather though, as milk might go sour.

250g pasta
2 pints of milk
350g mature cheddar
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Shove it all in and put slow cooker on high for a couple of hours. Looking at that recipe, that is a lot of cheese! I am sure I don't put anything like that much in, but still comes out lovely.

Thelobsterswife Thu 11-Oct-12 20:25:59

Oh and I would spray or wipe slow cooker with oil before adding ingredients.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 11-Oct-12 20:30:50

I like the look of the saute model that mamij linked to.

Do you have to sear meat first before you bung it in the slow cooker, or doesn't it matter?

Thelobsterswife Thu 11-Oct-12 20:37:30

I don't brown meat.

Inneedofbrandy Thu 11-Oct-12 20:41:52

Thankyou Thelobsterswife

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