Since getting married in June one thing I was absolutely dying to try out was slow-cooking! Wasn’t able to do much cooking period before being married because I was always out of town and on trips, hence why I am now taking back my body and my health.
I was gifted a big, beautiful Hamilton Beach slow-cooker by my aunt at the bridal shower, and have used it several times since June. I love it for so many reasons, but mainly because it’s easy, it’s usually delicious, and it makes large portions to freeze for husbands when their wives go away for two weeks.
I tried all sorts of dishes, chicken, beef, pork, chili…etc. Most turned out good, but contrary to my naivety, not EVERYTHING turns out great when you throw it all in and crank that heat.
I tried a couple chicken recipes, and one pork recipe, and made the same mistake with 2 dishes and have now learned my lesson. Just know that all my experience with cooking right now, is what I acquired since being married, and so this might be obvious information to you. See, chicken, turkey, and pork tend to be leaner, less fatty meats. Sooo…..when you cook them on HIGH for 2-3 hours, you’re expecting it to be amazing, and yet…you discover the meat is dry, and you are handing out water to everyone faster than they can choke down their first bite. Lesson learned? Cook leaner meats on LOW for 4-6 hours instead of on HIGH for 2-3.
Beef on the other hand, when you cook the fattier cuts, works pretty well under high heat, and I never really had a problem with it. Actually, cooking it on LOW for an extended period of time is where I had a little trouble. I sliced up flank steak and left it on LOW for 8 hours, and wished I had never sliced it up. It broke apart completely…not just a little “shredded” like you can make. It was balsamic beef, and absolutely delicious, but I think the texture was not really what I was going for. So if I attempt that recipe again it will be for 6 hours, and I’ll leave the flank steak whole to shred it after cooking.
SPICES, SPICES, SPICES…need I say more. Find a good mix of spices for every meal, and stir at least halfway through the cooking time. Google it if you have to…the last thing you want is all your hard work and waiting to be tender, but not flavorful.
And lastly, chili. The longer you cook this, the better it will be, just trust me. Somehow the spices and the flavors when allowed to simmer longer are so rewarding! And let go of that artificial taco seasoning in your hand…that is not welcome here.
Want to try something delicious for your next meal? I recommend this Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken recipe…it’s tried and true 🙂