Everyday Cheapskate: Take it Slow and Easy!
BROWN IT FIRST
Browning meat (remember the cheapest cuts are the best candidates for slow cooking) and some cuts of poultry in a stovetop skillet before placing them in the slow cooker adds immensely to the finished flavor. If you can find the time for this step, the results are worth the effort.
VEGETABLES ON THE BOTTOM
Root vegetables take longer to cook in a slow cooker than meat. Root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots and turnips, should be cut in small pieces, about 1 inch, and layered on the bottom of the cooker so they will start to cook as soon as the liquid heats.
When cooking at a high altitude, allow an additional 30 minutes for each hour of cooking time specified in the recipe. Legumes typically take twice as long to cook at high altitude as at sea level.
ALL THAT LIQUID
Slow cooking produces a lot of liquid because there is no evaporation during cooking. You can drain it into in a small saucepan and simmer until it has reduced to an appropriate amount. Adjust seasonings after this reduction takes place, since reducing the liquid will intensify the flavors.
FORGET THE FISH
Fish and seafood are not good candidates for slow cookers, unless added into stews or chowders at the very end of the cooking process.
If you have a slow cooker, start using it! If you don't have one, think about getting one. It will be an excellent investment into your family and also the food budget.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.