Adapting Your Recipes for the Slow Cooker

Adapting Your Recipes for the Slow Cooker

Now that you’ve started using your crock pot slow cooker regularly, you’re probably wondering how you can adapt your traditional recipes to use in a crock pot. The ease of preparing a meal with a slow cooker has literally changed the lives of busy families. With the help of their slow cookers, families are eating healthier and consuming less greasy fast-food. 

Here are some hints for adapting your favorite traditional recipes for crock pot cooking.

1.) Add vegetables like peas and broccoli to your recipe in the last 15 – 60 minutes. If you’re using frozen vegetables, remember to add them to your crock pot recipe during the last 30 minutes.

2.) Make sure to soak your dried beans so that they are completely softened before adding them to your recipe. If your recipe includes tomatoes, salt, or sugar, then your beans should definitely be soaked before cooking.

3.) If your recipe calls for pasta, any kind of seafood, milk or other dairy products, then only add them during the last 60 minutes of cooking, and cook pasta to just a bit tender before adding them to the cooker. Condensed cream soups are good alternatives to dairy products because they can withstand longer cooking times.

4.) When cooking a recipe with rice, add an extra ¼ cup liquid for every ¼ cup of rice. 

5.) Always remember to reduce the liquid in your recipe by ½ when you’re using a traditional recipe in your crock pot.

6.) A good idea for cooking stews and soups that call for vegetables is to put the veggies on the bottom and sides of the slow cooker and then place your meat on top.

Traditional Recipe to Slow Cooker Use:

15-30 minutes traditional = 1.5–2 hours High or 4-6 hours Low in Crock pot

35-45 minutes traditional = 3-4 hours High or 6-10 hours Low in Crock pot

50 minutes - 3 hours traditional = 4-6 hours High or 8-18 hours Low in Crock pot

If you’re like most families, your slow cooker supplies lots of food per meal, so you’ll very likely have leftovers. Always remember to never reheat your leftovers in the crock pot. One of the additional rewards of slow cooking is the ability to make lots of food and freeze for future meals. Happy slow cooking!

A Quick Reference Guide to Citrus Fruits: Oranges, Lemon & Lime, Grapefruit

A Quick Reference Guide to Citrus Fruits 

The Orange Family

The familiar oranges are the most popular of our citrus fruits. They are nutritional, versatile, and keep well. Popular varieties include Valencia, navel, temple, and blood oranges.

The navel orange is best as an eating orange since its sweet pulp tends to turn a little bitter when the juice is exposed to air. Valencia oranges are enjoyed for both eating and juicing. The blood orange is a hybrid with an orange and red rind and reddish flesh and some people think, a touch of raspberry-like flavor. The temple orange is a flavorful orange-tangerine hybrid.

As with most citrus fruits, choose oranges that are heavy for their size indicating juiciness and those without soft spots or defects in the skin.

    • Orange tip: If you are squeezing oranges for morning juice, stop and grate the zest from several first. The zest can be frozen for months to be used in a variety of recipes from cookies to casseroles.

    • Orange tip: When grating the zest from oranges or lemons, remove only the outer, colored portion of the rind. The white pithy layer is bitter.

Oranges have been crossed with other citrus fruits to create a wonderful array of related fruits. Citrus fruits related to or crossed with oranges include:

Mandarin oranges are small sweet oranges with a loose skin. They have a light orange color and a complex, sweet flavor. The Satsuma, Honey and Royal are the three major mandarin varieties.

Mandarins are often imported. In the United States, mandarins are grown in Florida and California but are sold mostly to canneries and unavailable to consumers. If you can find fresh U.S. fruit, buy it.

Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange. They are red-orange and have a distinctive flavor. They are usually available as early as Thanksgiving and include Fairchild and Dancy varieties.

    • Tangerine tip: Add tangerine segments to coleslaw or tuna salad for a bright, unexpected treat!

Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine, a grapefruit and an orange. They are noted for their juiciness and mild, sweet flavor. Orlandos are a popular variety of tangelos.

    • Tangelo tip: Freshly grated tangelo peel lends an exotic flavor to other foods.

Ugli fruits are a specific type of tangelo. They have a loose skin which is often discolored and pock-marked and is often odd-shaped. Don’t let that fool you; it has a very sweet, citrus taste. It is seedless and is great for snacks or salads. They peel easily or can be cut in half and eaten like a grapefruit.

    • Ugli tip: Children are fascinated with ugli fruits. Children find both the name and odd appearance intriguing and the flavor and texture of the fruit, appealing.

Clementines are a type of small, seedless mandarins with very sweet flesh. They are a cross between an orange and a Chinese mandarin. The taste is distinctive from both a mandarin and a tangerine. They are usually imported from Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa.

Minneolas are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. They can be recognized by their pear or bell shape. They are about three inches in diameter and a bright reddish-orange. They are closely related to tangelos.

The Lemon and Lime Family

Lemons with their bright yellow fruit are our second most popular citrus. There are two major varieties sold in the United States, the Lisbon and Eureka, which are so similar that they are difficult to tell apart. You may find a Meyer lemon which a cross between a lemon and an orange or mandarin. They are less acidic and will taste sweeter.

    • Lemon tip: Try squeezing fresh lemon on salads and steamed vegetables in place of part or all of the salt or butter. In doing so, you will reduce your salt and fat intake.

Rough lemons are, as the name suggests, lemons with a rough skin. Cultivated in the tropics, they are round and larger than domestic lemons but used the same way.

Limes are shaped like lemons but are green, smaller, and have both more sugar and more acid. There are two main varieties of limes: Mexican or Key limes and Persian limes. Key limes are famous for Key lime pie. Most limes in the grocery store are Persians.

    • Lime tip: Use the rind of juiced limes to clean your copper-bottomed pans.
    Leech Limes are larger than limes with a wart-like skin.

The Grapefruit Family

Good quality grapefruit have a smooth, firm, and shiny skin. Pick grapefruit that are medium to large and that feel heavy for their size.

    • Grapefruit tip: When shopping, avoid fruit with a dull or wrinkled skin. Pick fruits that are heavy for their size. It’s not necessary to avoid fruits with green on the skin as the color does not indicate ripeness.

White grapefruit have a smooth yellow skin and a flesh that is pale yellow and tart.
Red grapefruit are sweet, tart, and juicy with a pink to red flesh. Ruby, Star Ruby, and Rio Red are popular varieties.

    • Grapefruit tip: Researchers have found that red grapefruits have more antioxidants than white grapefruits. These antioxidants are thought to lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease.

Pummelos, also called Chinese grapefruit, are the largest citrus fruit! The peel is thick and green on the outside, while the interior is either white or pink. Pummelos are slightly milder tasting than regular grapefruit and are very aromatic.

Sweeties are a cross between a pummelo and a white grapefruit. It is shaped like a grapefruit and juicy. Because it has less acid than a grapefruit, the sugar is more dominant and the taste is sweeter.

3 Methods of Cooking Rice Perfectly

Rice may be cooked by 3 methods, each of which requires a different proportion of water. These methods are boiling, which requires 12 times as much water as rice;  the Japanese method, which requires 5 times as much; and steaming, which requires 2-1/2 times as much. Whichever of these methods is used, however, it should be remembered that the rice grains, when properly cooked, must be whole and distinct. To give them this form and prevent the rice from having a pasty appearance, this cereal should not be stirred too much in cooking nor should it be cooked too long.

BOILED RICE  - Boiling is about the simplest way.  Properly boiled rice not only forms a valuable dish itself, but is an excellent foundation for other dishes that may be served at any meal. The water in which rice is boiled should not be wasted, as it contains much nutritive material. This water may be utilized in the preparation of soups or sauces, or it may even be used to supply the liquid required in the making of yeast bread.

BOILED RICE (Sufficient to Serve Eight)
1 c. rice ; 3 tsp. Salt;  3 qt. boiling water

Wash the rice carefully and add it to the boiling salted water. Boil rapidly until the water begins to appear milky because of the starch coming out of the rice into the water or until a grain can be easily crushed between the fingers. Drain the cooked rice through a colander, and then pour cold water over the rice in the colander, so as to wash out the loose starch and leave each grain distinct. Reheat the rice by shaking it over the fire, and serve hot with butter, gravy, or cream or milk and sugar.

JAPANESE METHOD - Rice prepared by the Japanese method may be used in the same ways as boiled rice. However, unless some use is to be made of the liquid from boiled rice, the Japanese method has the advantage of being a more economical way of cooking this cereal.

JAPANESE METHOD  (Sufficient to Serve Eight)
1 c. rice ; 1-1/2 tsp. Salt; 5 c. boiling water

Wash the rice, add it to the boiling salted water, and boil slowly for 15 minutes. Then cover the utensil in which the rice is cooking and place it in the oven for 15 minutes more, in order to evaporate the water more completely and make the grains soft without being mushy. Serve in the same way as boiled rice.

STEAMED RICE - To steam rice requires more time than either of the preceding cooking methods, but it causes no loss of food material. Then, too, unless the rice is stirred too much while it is steaming, it will have a better appearance than rice cooked by the other methods. As in the case of boiled rice, steamed rice may be used as the foundation for a variety of dishes and may be served in any meal.

STEAMED RICE (Sufficient to Serve Six)
1 c. rice; 1-1/2 tsp. Salt 2-1/2 c. water

Wash the rice carefully and add it to the boiling salted water. Cook it for 5 minutes and then place it in a double boiler and allow it to cook until it is soft. Keep the cooking utensil covered and do not stir the rice. About 1 hour will be required to cook rice in this way. Serve in the same way as boiled rice.

Vintage 1912 Recipe: A Basic Brown Soup Stock Recipe

A Basic Brown Soup Stock Recipe from 1912

  • 4 Lbs Beef (meat and bones)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Tablespoonful Salt
  • ½ Cup Celery Leaves
  • ½ Cup Chopped Carrots
  • ½ Cup Turnips
  • 1 Teaspoonful Mixed Pickling Spices in Muslin Bag

(a) Brown about one-third the meat in a little suet with the sliced onion and then put in stock pot with water and salt.
(b) Let simmer for three hours, then add other vegetables and cook for another hour.  Strain and clarify.

Two Rare 1892 Recipes for Baked Bananas & Apples, and Preparing Pineapple for Breakfast

Baked Bananas and Apples

Remove the skins from large, ripe bananas; put them in a porcelain or granite baking pan; add six tablespoonfuls of water; bake in a quick oven for twenty minutes, basting three or four times.

Core without paring, six large, sweet apples; stand them in a baking pan; add half a cup of water; bake in a quick oven for twenty minutes, basting two or three times.  The natural sugar of the apple will dissolve in the water, and the basting will soften the skin.  Serve either hot or cold.

Preparing Pineapple for Breakfast

Remove the skin sufficiently deep to also take out the eyes.  The pineapple should be quite ripe, almost to the verge of decay.  Cut off the stem end, and with a silver fork pick the flesh of the pineapple, pulling it toward the core.  A few tablespoonfuls of sugar may be sprinkled over, and the pineapple slightly chilled.  As a breakfast fruit it is not necessary to peel the pineapple.  Cut around the little sections, running the point of a sharp knife to the very core; then, with a fork, pull them out; arrange neatly in a glass or china dish, and serve with powdered sugar.

These recipes were saved from the January 1892 issue of the Ladies Home Journal - We hope you enjoy!