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Baking in your Slow Cooker

deep cake panThere has been many a time when I wanted to bake a cake but I already had the main meal cooking in the oven. The solution was to use the slow cooker and cook the cake in that so that’s what I did. It is really a mini oven and bakes most cakes very well. Fruit cakes and self topped/iced cakes cook very well in the crock pot. I am amazed at how well the cakes rise in the slow cooker.

You can use a deep round cake tin or an ordinary cake pan or even the slow cooker base itself to cook the cake. The pan you use will depend on the shape of your cooker. You can also get an oval shape cake pan so look around for one that fits. I know people who use empty coffee or soup cans. These are good for fruit cakes and rolls. I Oval cake panhaven’t had a bad experience yet so I am either lucky or the slow cooker likes baking.

Here are 10 tips for slow cooker baking:

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on high for 10 -1 5 minutes if you are using an ordinary pan.
  2. Use several sheets of paper towel on the top of the cake pan and cover with the lid.
  3. Cook your cakes on the high setting.
  4. Don’t lift the lid during cooking, only at the end as you let the heat out.
  5. Use a rack if you have one in the bottom of the base and if you haven’t one you can use 2 or 3 egg rings as a substitute. This helps the heat to circulate around the pan for more even cooking.
  6. Grease and line the cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking.
  7. Only half fill the cake pan or cut the liner at least an inch above the top of the sides.
  8. Use your oval based slow cooker for cakes that can be decorated as faces, clocks, footballs etc.
  9. Test the cake with a skewer and if cooked let it cook a few minutes before getting turning out.
  10. Use prepared cake mixes in the slow cooker for an improved taste over conventional cooking.

Enjoy baking in your slow cooker or crock pot especially during the holidays coming up. This will also save your oven space for other cooking.

Easy Cooking for Kids in the Slow Cooker

cooking for kidsI remember my mother teaching me to cook and the happy times I spent in the kitchen with her. Easy cooking for kids doesn’t have to be something you are going to spend all day on as kids get bored rather quickly anyway. Using your slow cooker will mean they can get their cooking started and then watch it as it cooks.

Follow these 4 tips and your experience and theirs will be memorable:

  1. Use simple recipes and the kind of food they like to eat.
  2. Use easy to read step by step instructions. Easy cooking for kids depends on this for success.
  3. Try and keep the number of steps to a minimum with five being the most. If the recipe is too complicated they will get bored and you will have to finish it all off. Crock pot cooking is good in this respect as you often can get three step recipes or less.
  4. Select the ingredients and have them all together measure out ready to go. For example have chicken pieces already cut to the size you need for the recipe. This is especially important if the children are young so you can avoid them using knives.

Cooking in your slow cooker provides easy cooking for kids as it is relatively safe compared to the oven or stove top cooking methods. Also these recipes are fairly foolproof in the crock pot so they will have some good experiences cooking with you.

The good news too is that when you cook in your crock pot or slow cooker you won’t end up with lots of washing up to do and this is good news for you and the kids. If you are busy you can get older children to cook simple recipes in the slow cooker all by themselves and that can be a great help to you as well.

You can see that using the slow cookers can provide a way for easy cooking for kids. Pick easy step recipes and they will be rewarded with a great experience lovely crock pot meals. Don’t forget you can also cook cakes and desserts in the crock pot and kids love these too.

Winter is the best time for Slow Cooker Meals

Slow cooker mealsSlow cooking meals in winter is easy with an electric slow cooker.  You can prepare cheap easy meals from your slow cooker including soups, stews, desserts and cakes.  Fill the slow cooker pot, turn it on, walk away and come back to delicious slow cooker meals.  I cook a lot of soups in winter and all of them are prepared in the slow cooker.  You will be able to make cheap and easy meals with little preparation.  Soups are great to freeze for later as well, so if you are cooking on a budget soups are great value.

When most people think of slow cooking they think of stews only, and they do cook well with this method, but in winter I also cook most of my puddings, cakes and other desserts in the slow cooker crock pot.  Last winter I also started cooking breakfasts the night before.  If you are a busy person, then why not get out that slow cooker pot this winter and if you haven’t already got one you can buy one at a great price on eBay or Amazon.  Check out the eBay auction on this site for current listings.

We are all cooking on a budget these days and the slow cooker helps you save money as you can use less expensive cuts of meat, use less electricity, cook in bulk and have more home made meals instead of dining out. Cooking in winter is always more pleasant than the hot steamy days of summer so this winter why not try some nutritious and easy slow cooker meals.  Cooking on a budget has never been easier.

Slow Cooking meals in a conventional oven

My favorite though of all slow cooked meals is a slow roasted leg of lamb.  Takes me back to my childhood and Sunday lunches after tennis practice.  The smell of that lamb cooking was so welcoming as I walked through the door.  It was cooked in a conventional oven but slowly so it was so the meat was very tender.  At Christmas we did a lot of slow cooking in the oven from roasts like ham and port to cooking the Christmas cake and pudding.  We loved our traditional Christmas.

Winter is definitely the best time to enjoy slow cooker meals and if you cook in your conventional oven it will warm you kitchen as well.

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