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 Post subject: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:25 pm 
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Moving To Sheepshead Bay
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I'm interested in getting a slow-cooker but have some questions first.

First, I am usually gone from my house for at least 10 hours a day. Am I able to use a slow-cooker/recipes for 10-11 hours a day? I always thought the average time you would cook something in a slow cooker was 6-8 hours.

Second, if so, what types of recipes/dishes are good for a 10-11 hour cook time? I envision anything I try making to be super soft or falling apart because it's been cooking for too long.

Third, does it use up a lot of electricity? We've been having very high electric bills recently and I really don't want to add to it.

Fourth, if I were buying it used, what are some things I should look out for?

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:32 pm 
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Cranky
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I work 9+ hour days, so with commute it's 10 hours before I get home. I've never had a problem, but I tend to stick to soups and stews, and I always make a huge batch of something. You can always prep the ingredients the night before and stick them in the fridge overnight if you want it to take longer to cook. I almost never cook on high.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
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You can get slow cookers with timers, so you set the amount of time you want it to cook and it shuts off.


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Moving To Sheepshead Bay
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I was looking at the small, personal sized slow cookers but think I want to go with a standard size so I can have leftovers to bring to work and have later in the week so huge batches are what I'm going for. I was planning to prep ingredients the night before and hope I have time to throw it all together in the cooker and turn it on before I leave for work.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:36 pm 
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Moving To Sheepshead Bay
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annamal wrote:
You can get slow cookers with timers, so you set the amount of time you want it to cook and it shuts off.

I had no idea some of them had timers! I will admit to not knowing much about them in general.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:05 pm 
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Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
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Many recipes are geared towards larger ones (6 quarts at least) so if you get a smaller one you might find you're doing a lot of adjusting. Which might not be a bad thing, but just so you know!


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:14 pm 
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Moving To Sheepshead Bay
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Yeah, I definitely don't want a small one. I want it to make my life easier and to have leftovers from when I don't feel like cooking.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:44 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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I have a 6 1/2 qt. and a 4 qt. and I use the 4 for almost everything. I do this because I've run into problems cooking too small an amount in the larger pressure cooker. The rule is have it 1/2 to 3/4 full but (at least with mine) it gets too hot when it's less than 3/4 full. The fuller it is the longer the cooking time will be, which may be a good thing if you go with one without a timer.

If you do get one with a timer, most of them have a "warm" setting that goes on automatically when the cooking time ends. On my current ones, the maximum time on warm is six hours


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:52 pm 
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WELFARIST!
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I've got a nice crock pot brand slow cooker and after the cooking time ends it goes straight to warm - very handy. I also plan on getting an external timer so I can do the recipes that call for weird times (like three hours) and just have it turn on later in the day.

I tend to need a bit more liquid than many recipes call for, I read somewhere once that this is probably because newer ones run warmer than older ones, even on low.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:17 pm 
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I used to use a vacation timer on my slow cooker. So that it'd start at a certain time and end at a certain time. (You know the things you plug into an outlet and set the time and then set when it goes off and on? They are designed to plug your lights in when you are on vacation so it appears someone is home). But a lot of them come with timers.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:18 pm 
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I have a crock pot similar to Moon - it has a timer and after the allotted time has passed it switches to a "warm" setting.

Before this one, I had an older model that didn't have that feature and I used one of those timer thingies you can put in an outlet, and I would set it so that the slow cooker didn't start for a few hours after I left the house.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:50 am 
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So say I could only afford the one without the timer and therefore, I wouldn't have a timer, would that limit me a lot in what I make? And what types of things could I make? I'm really not looking to eat soup and stew every day.

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"We'll be eating our own words 30 years from now when we're demanding our legislators outlaw aerosol-based cyber dildo-wielding death holograms."- Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:06 am 
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WELFARIST!
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Soups and stews are going to be the safest to set on low and leave for an undetermined amount of time, unless you're cooking a big batch of beans or something.

Look for an external/outlet timer, especially if you've got a real old school pot. You then can set the outlet timer to start at a certain time, and the pot can kick in then.

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Anyone for some German Shepherd Pie? - daisychain
Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
Dwarf-tossing for God: A Story of Hope - Invictus


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:19 am 
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Can you buy one of those plug in vacation timers? They should be around $5, Amazon is showing $7 to $8 but I think they'd be cheaper at a place like Target
http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-TN111K ... 00LBHBLEU/

That is what I used to use for my Crockpot when I heavily used it.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:29 am 
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linanil wrote:
Can you buy one of those plug in vacation timers? They should be around $5, Amazon is showing $7 to $8 but I think they'd be cheaper at a place like Target
http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-TN111K ... 00LBHBLEU/

That is what I used to use for my Crockpot when I heavily used it.


Yes! These! Mr Moon says it wouldn't work for ours because of it being digital but should be a great for older ones.

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Anyone for some German Shepherd Pie? - daisychain
Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
Dwarf-tossing for God: A Story of Hope - Invictus


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:11 pm 
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Chip Strong

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At timer isn't really all that helpful, in my opinion, since you shouldn't leave food on "keep warm" or with the heat turned off for more than 2 hours from a food safety perspective. The timer does add a little flexibility, but in my experience most slow cooker recipes are not really precisely timed anyway - your food is not likely to go from perfectly cooked to burned in 30 minutes or even 1 hour. I think Robin Robertson's slow cooker books have some suggestions for how to keep food from getting overcooked if you are away from home for longer -- here are a few things I can think of:

- Get the smallest slow cooker possible for your needs. Slow cookers must have some kind of very simplistic thermostat and tend to run hotter the less full they are -- so a 4 quart slow cooker filled 3/4 full will run a bit cooler than a 6 quart filled 1/2 fill.
- Add some frozen ingredients at the beginning to slow down the cooking a bit - for example, frozen peas (but don't add all frozen ingredients as the temperature change can cause the crock to crack (hehe..crock to crack))
- Fill the crock with your ingredients the night before and store in the fridge - similar idea as adding the frozen ingredients, this will make the cooking take a little longer as it bring everything up to temperature


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 Post subject: Re: Slow Cooker Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:25 pm 
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What I used to do is since I knew I'd be home at 6pm, I'd set the timer so that it would turn on at around 10am. For things that needed less time, I'd start them later. And Crockpots keep very warm anyway so even if it was off an hour, that isn't really going to effect the outcome of the food. Now if you did it where you left it sitting there for 8 hours, that'd be different but even a couple hours in a crockpot won't be harmful.

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