Slow cookers, also known as crockpots, offer convenience, time savings, lower electricity use and great flavor. But there are some tips everyone should follow to make sure their food stays safe:
• Make sure you start with clean equipment.
• Thaw and cut all ingredients. Avoid frozen items and large-shaped pieces.
• Fill the cooker between half and two-thirds full - not too much and not too little. Use an ample amount of liquid.
• When cooking meat and chicken, start on high for one hour to heat quickly and then turn the crockpot to low if desired.
• Keep the cover on.
• Do not use the crockpot to reheat food.
• If the power goes out for any length of time while cooking, the food should be discarded.
FMI see www.fsis.usda.gov
Here are more tips for cooking ahead:
Planning and cooking ahead can make meal time go so much smoother. We are finding it is very convenient and efficient to cook 2 or 3 meals at once for use during the week and reheat as needed.
Even when company is coming it is much easier to cook ahead and clean up the whole kitchen. Then food can be reheated quickly just before eating. The days of “a la minute” (at the last minute) cooking are starting to fall by the wayside!
Here are success tips:
• Cook extra when you have the time and are in the mood.
• Store food in large shallow pans so it cools quickly.
• Keep food covered.
• Refrigerate if you are going to use in a day or so; freeze for longer storage.
• Reheat quickly and thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.