Low-fat Crock pot Cooking
Crock pots are a lifesaver in today’s busy world. Using the crock pot affords the luxury of having a hot, delicious, nutritious, home cooked meal on even the busiest of days. The meal is started early in the day before the rush and stress of trying to make an appointment. If it is baseball season, soccer season, and dance recital season simultaneously, the food is ready for every shift of eaters. Nothing dries out or spoils because of the wait. Crock pot food is designed to wait, it is ready whenever you are. The secret of success is to adapt your favorite recipes for low fat slow cooking.
Tips for Successful Crock Pot Cooking:
Before you can adapt your recipes and substitute ingredients, you need to understand a few basic principles of success in slow cooking.
1. When using a slow cooker, the temperature rises very slowly and the food cooks over a period of 4-8 hours for most recipes. Every time you open the pot, the temperature drops and it takes a long time to get back up. Resist the urge to open the crock pot.
2. Seasonings mellow in a crock pot, so if you like to taste strong seasonings, you may need to re-season towards the end. Alternatively, use much more of your favorite spices and flavorings when you start your recipe.
3. When cooking with vegetables and meat, put the vegetables on the bottom, they will take longer to cook.
4. Increase eye appeal when you serve by using fresh herbs, raw vegetables, or fruit garnishes to dress up the plate. Another idea is to serve the entree with mixed wild rice. Any colorful addition will add eye appeal to the plate.
5. Dairy products will curdle in a crock pot all day, they are best added near the end of the cooking time, the last hour or so.
6. Rice cooked with meat usually ends up mushy. Either add rice during the second half of the cooking time, or use a second crock pot to make your rice, the cooking times are very different.
Low Fat Cooking in the Crock Pot:
Remove the skin and fat under the skin when cooking poultry in the crock pot. Slow cooking makes for very tender and juicy foods, removing the skin will lower the fat without drying.
When a recipe calls for a can of condensed soup, look for a low fat substitute such as non fat sour cream or yogurt dressed up with seasonings, salsa, chutney, etc.
Often you can reduce the fat content by lowering the quantity of an ingredient like cheese, or butter. If a recipe calls for you to sautee an ingredient before adding it to the crock pot, then use wine to sautee in, it will add another dimension of flavor and works very well.
Instead of adding cream into a recipe substitute with evaporated milk thickened with a little corn starch if necessary, or use a lower fat dairy product like yogurt, or Neuchtel cream cheese in small quantities.
Substitute lower fat cuts of meat. Any cut comes out delectable in the crock pot. The slow cooking process makes meat fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. You can cut away all the fat and your recipes will turn out great, the fat isn’t needed to ensure a good, succulent result.
Before serving, skim the top of your crock pot liquid, to remove as much fat as possible. Before cooking the left overs, skim the top when you remove it from the refrigerator. Fat will rise to the top as your leftovers cool, making it very easy to scrape all the fat off before reheating.
Incorporating these tips will make your crock pot cooking lower in fat, without sacrificing the taste.