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It's fall! That means a whole new crop of vegetables are arriving at the market. All these new root veggies can offer a challenge in the kitchen. One of the best ways to tackle the tough vegetables is to cook your meals in a slow cooker. If you're still intimidated, here are a few tips to make your low-and-slow meals a tasty dinner option.
The Low & Slow Principle
Fall is filled with great root vegetables to add to your favorite dishes, but not when it comes to getting a meal to the table quick. These veggies cook frustratingly slow. This is where your slow cooker can really help out. The key to getting those potatoes and other slow-poke vegetables to soften is to slice them and put them at the bottom of your slow cooker.
Don't Pack It In
This is not the time to "make it fit." Just because you can get everything in your slow cooker and put the lid on, doesn't mean you should cook that way. Your slow cooker needs the space to bring the temperature up high enough to cook your meal. Your ingredients should only fill two-thirds of the pot.
Sauté Is Your Friend
The great thing about a slow cooker is how all the time really blends the flavors; yet the bad thing about a slow cooker can also be how all the time really blends the flavors. So mix things up by adding a strong flavored meat. We chose Johnsonville Andouille Smoked Sausage for a great Farmer's Stew recipe because of the great kick of flavor. To help hold that juicy goodness in until it makes it to the table, give the sausage slices a quick sauté to seal in the flavor and then add them to the slow cooker. Don't forget to scrape all of those delicious bits left in the pan and throw them in your cooker. It is a great way to add a little surprise to your bowl.
Forgiveness Is Nice
Slow cookers offer one of the most generous ways to cook a meal. Not enough flavor? Throw in some extra spice. Too dry? Add water or stock. Even if your dinnertime comes and there is too much liquid in the pot, just pour it off and reduce it down in a pan before you take it to the dinner table. To try our Slow Cooker Pie, which is like a pot pie with the convenience of a slow cooker, recipe with Johnsonville's Smoked Turkey Sausage Links, go to the Womensforum 555 Meal Planner.
One last tip for cooking with a slow cooker: It's like your oven, you need to preheat the pot before tossing in all of your ingredients. So as you start chopping and sautéing, turn your slow cooker on. Once you start using it, we guarantee it will quickly become one of your go-to dinner tools in the kitchen.