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One thing I consistently fail at is cooking. I'm really not that great at it and am always learning things I need to change to improve the meals I make. Usually when I make something new I call my mom and ask her about all the little things she does that I don't think about doing. So hopefully these crock pot tips can help me and you!
I love how people are always coming out with new crock pot recipes and freezer meals to save the food maker some time. SO great and definitely my kind of recipe. Since this is the new thing I thought I'd do a post about some crock pot tips so that your (and my) food will turn out the absolute best it can!
1. Fatty meat is the best kind of meat for a crock pot. The fat in the meat keeps it nice and moist and stops it from getting all stringy and tough. I seriously hate fatty meat, but I'd rather have it taste really good and cut the fat off when it's sitting on my plate instead of have tough meat.
2. Brown meat in your stove before you add it to the crock pot. I wish it was always possible to have it so you could just toss it from the freezer into the pot, but it doesn't work that way if you want it to taste extra good. Browning your meat first will give it a caramelized flavor you won't get from the crock pot. Chicken is the only magic meat that doesn't need browning because it could easily over-cook in your crock pot.
3. Add low notes and sweetness. Low notes are flavors that add a richness to the meal like: bacon, garlic, black pepper, mushrooms etc. (If you want a more extensive list just google "low not flavors"). Brown sugar and tomato paste are good examples of sweetness. Low notes and Sweetness make the best sauces. They break down and become "one" in a sense.
4. Add herbs and acids at the end. These flavors can easily be drowned out by low notes if left in the crock pot too long. Also, herbs will wilt - which is not pretty or tasty. Add them in last!
5. Add any dairy needed in your dish at the very end - even after herbs and acids. You should put dairy in so it has just enough time to heat up otherwise it will curdle and look super disgusting.
6. When cooking chicken, take off the skin and leave the bones in. Skin isn't that fun to eat. It's all tough and, let's face it, just plain gross! So take it off! Don't let all your good seasoning stick to the skin when you'll just pull it off when it's on your plate. As for the bones, they help keep the chicken tender, so leave 'em in!
7. Don't use a crock pot to cook things that need to hold their shape - like pasta. It ends up being a gooey, soggy, squishy mess. If you have a crock pot recipe for pasta, cook the sauce and everything in the crock pot, cook the pasta separately, and than add them together at the end. Happiness!!
Hope this helps all you crock pot lovers out there! It sure helped me!