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10 Essentials for Crock-Pot Recipes


7
Get the Timing Right
The night before, cut your veggies, rinse your beans and get all your ingredients together.
The night before, cut your veggies, rinse your beans and get all your ingredients together.
©iStockphoto.com/ca2hill

Slow cooking takes the guesswork out of meal preparation, but you still need to do some strategizing. Most slow cooked meals require from six to nine hours cooking time. The good news is that once everything's in the pot, you don't have to stir or add any more water. The bad news is that you do have to get everything into the pot before you head out in the morning. You can prep the ingredients the night before and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to load up the cooker. Use something other than the slow cooker insert to store your ingredients in, though. Chilling the insert may cause your ingredients to take too long to come to temperature when you do fire up the pot, allowing bacteria to form.

Keeping track of the time may be important, too. If you have an electronic slow cooker, it will automatically step the temperature down to warm for you, otherwise you'll have to keep track of how long your meal has been cooking in order to avoid burning dinner.