Crock Pot Cooking Problems – Are Your Meals Too Dry Or Too Moist?

Remember how dry and chewy those crock pot roasts used to be when you were a kid? You had to beg for glass after glass of milk just to wash down the meat, carrots, and potatoes. For some, those memories stick so strongly in their heads that although they receive one as a housewarming or … Continue reading “Crock Pot Cooking Problems – Are Your Meals Too Dry Or Too Moist?”

Remember how dry and chewy those crock pot roasts used to be when you were a kid? You had to beg for glass after glass of milk just to wash down the meat, carrots, and potatoes. For some, those memories stick so strongly in their heads that although they receive one as a housewarming or wedding shower gift, it sits in the back of their cupboard collecting dust.

Crock Pot

Or better yet, those meals that turn out so mushy you could swear it was created (and then pureed) for a one year old. Most of the time, these common problems can be fixed with a few simple adjustments.

Think of your crock pot as any other appliance in your kitchen. Remember the first time you moved to a different home or apartment and used the oven and stove top? It was most likely completely different from your last and probably took you a few weeks to get used to. Likewise, each brand and model is different, so take time to get used to your crock pot. Note that most new slow cookers cook at a higher temperature and therefore may require an adjustment; always use the cooking times given on recipes as a guide.

If your meal is dry:
More than likely, too much steam has escaped in the process of cooking or the meal itself was overcooked. Experiment with the following:
1) Don’t lift the lid! Every time you lift the lid steam escapes, therefore affecting the consistency of the meal and cooking time.

2) Cover the top of the stoneware insert with aluminum foil prior to covering with the glass lid. This will help prevent steam from escaping keeping your food moist.

3) Add a little water. If it still seems dry, add a little more water next time.

4) Reduce the amount of liquid absorbing ingredients. Rice is the big culprit here; if your recipe calls for rice to be cooked in the crock pot, often the rice will absorb the majority of the liquid causing the rice to be mushy and the rest of the meal to be dry.

5) Try reducing the cooking time by 30-60 minutes.

If your meal is mushy:
Once again, it’s likely that the meal was overcooked (strangely enough). It’s also possible that there’s too much liquid and too much steam cooking the food.

1) Reduce the amount of liquid. This is especially true when cooking meals that contain rice or stuffing that is cooked directly in the slow cooker. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had super mushy rice and stuffing to serve as a family meal. At least my toddler liked it!

2) If your glass lid is rattling from steam, leave the lid off for 10-15 minutes, stir the contents (if necessary), and reduce the heat setting; your meal is probably done or quite close.

3) Again, try reducing the cooking time by 30-60 minutes.
Make sure you’re using the right size crock pot; it should not be less than half or more than two-thirds full.
Lastly, for many the cooking time of each recipe is sometimes an issue. I’m fortunate enough to be a work at home mom who is only minutes away from her kitchen and can prepare the crockpot meal at any time during the morning. However, there are many that can’t; and these are the people that should be truly enjoying the benefits of a crock pot!

For those who work 8-10 hour days (or more) the question is always, “How do I prepare a crock pot meal that only cooks for 5-6 hours?” A few solutions are available, one being the new programmable crock pots that switch the heat setting to keep warm once cooking time is done. If buying a new crock pot is not an option, there is also a module that can be plugged into older crock pots that does the same thing and is quite inexpensive.

If you have a lunch hour, prepare the meal in the morning or the night before and keep the stoneware insert in your fridge. Then (if possible) you or someone else in the household could place the insert into the cooking module and flip the switch.

My last suggestion would be this; if you have an 8 quart crock pot, consider making a double batch of the recipe. This lengthens the cooking time by about 50-75% (see example below*) and also creates leftovers to freeze and enjoy later.

I’ve learned that cooking is truly an experiment. Many are afraid to experiment with their crock pot. Don’t be! It’s just like any other appliance in your kitchen, take the time to get used to it and you’ll eventually not want to trade it for anything.

*example of double batch cooking time: a single batch of stew taking 5-6 hours on low, the double batch would take 7-9 hours on low.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Natalie_Schloesser/68850

Cardio Workouts to Burn Body Fat

Many people are often unsure as to what types of cardio workouts to burn fat that they should do. There are two ways of doing cardio. One is high intensity cardio and the other is low intensity cardio.

Burn Body Fat

Both types of cardio will help burn fat but the question is which type is going to help you burn body fat more effectively.

Participating in high intensity cardio will burn glycogen, which is a type of energy that is stored as carbohydrates in your muscles and in your liver. Low intensity will burn off more body fat.

The problem with high intensity exercise is that your body is not capable of sustaining it for a long period of time. However the positive side is that when your body is depleted of glycogen, anything that you eat will be saved by your body as glycogen and not fat.

The problem with low intensity exercise is that you have to do it for long periods of time for it to work, and this can get very boring and time consuming. So what type of cardio workouts should you do?
The answer is to do both types. This is done through a method called interval training. This will give you the best of both worlds and it will increase your energy levels the more that you do it.

Interval training means that you do low intensity cardio for a certain amount of time and you add short bursts of high intensity cardio into the mix.

For example if you are doing low intensity exercise such as using a treadmill for 30-40 minutes, you can cut this time back to 20-30 minutes.

Start on the treadmill by going slow for around 5 minutes and then speed up as fast as you can for 30-60 seconds. After this quick burst of high intensity slow down again for about 4 minutes. Repeat this process until the time for your cardio session ends.

This method will not only burn body fat it will ensure that you continue to burn calories after you have stopped your training session, because of the added high intensity work.

Just like any other method of exercise, you should first consult your doctor to evaluate your capabilities. Do not jump into it head first. Take your time to build up the time you spend doing your cardio sessions
Introducing interval training into your exercise will give you great cardio workouts to burn body fat, and it will fill your body with energy, along with saving time.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Terry_Sandhu/109048

Cardio Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Everyone knows that cardio workouts are great to lose belly fat and body fat in general. But why do so many people who do a lot of cardio show almost no results? Why do some people do hours of cardio week after week and still walk around with stubborn body fat in all sorts of places, mainly the abs?
The answer is twofold:

cardio

1. They do the wrong type of cardio
2. They do it in the wrong way.
Now, any form of workout is better than none, so don’t feel bad if you find out when reading this article that you could’ve worked out more effectively. You still did a lot more than the majority of people. Now is the time to hone your workout skills so you can get the best results you can possible have.

Step 1 – The right workouts
Workouts are not made equal. Some burn a lot more fat than others. The key is to spend your time on doing the more intensive sort of workouts, those that burn more fat per minute. Some of those workouts include: running, rowing, kick-boxing, hiking, and outdoor biking.

By doing these workouts you burn more fat, get lean faster, and develop a killer fitness level.

Step 2 – Do the workouts the right way
In the past, the most important factor which people judged their workouts on was the length of time and nothing more. If you ever wondered why some people do cardio for hours and still can’t shed the fat, this is why. If you want to do cardio workouts to lose belly fat, you need to focus on how intensive they are and not on how long they take. After all, you can walk for 60 minutes or run for 20. Which do you think will be more effective? Which will burn more fat?

The key is to push your body while doing cardio not just to pass time about. A great way to do that is to do interval training in which you change the pace of your workout every few minutes. For instance, you can sprint for a minute and then walk at a rapid pace for 3 to cool off. You not only burn off more fat this way but train your body at a variety of paces which is much better for it.

In conclusion
Do the right kind of cardio in the right way and you will shed body fat and belly flab fast.

For a list highly effective cardio workouts, go here:

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Davenport/92959

How to Choose the Right Slow Cooker for You

The slow cooker is a handy little kitchen appliance that is ideal for the person with a busy schedule. Someone who likes to eat healthy and has little time to cook. Simply throw your ingredients in this type of cooker in the morning and you can return home to a healthy, home cooked meal that is ready to serve. With a large variety of sizes and options on the market today, how do you know which slow cooker is the right fit for you?

Slow Cooker

Choose a size that is right for you. These types of cookers range in size from one quart all the way up to a nine quart size. The small one quart size is an excellent choice for dip. Three quart is great for a small family, or a single person with some leftovers. Nine quart is great for a family of ten, or for entertaining a crowd.
Newer to the market is a type of this cooker base that will hold three stoneware pots. Great for a complete meal with a main dish, side dish, and a dessert. Also great for entertaining. You can throw multiple dishes in this unit and have variety for your guests.

Know which options are available. You can get the standard heat dial, which is like this kind cooker your mother used. You can also get electronic kind of these cookers that will program to start after you have left the house for the day and then automatically switch to a warm setting when your program is complete, so you don’t have to worry about your meal burning if your meeting has run late, or you get stuck in rush hour traffic.

Locking lids are great for taking your slow cooking to a party. No worries about spilling your dish in the car. Some models on the market today also offer clip on spoons. How many times have you arrived at a party and they have run out of serving spoons? Now you can arrive prepared.

With a wide range of prices, you will want to consider how much you would like to spend. This will help in making your slow cooker choice. For just under twenty dollars you can get a manual dial class of this cooker to give you the basic slow cooking experience.

On the higher end, you can get this cooker trio, with separate heating dials for all three crocks for about one hundred dollars. And many other choices and options for a variety of prices in between.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lhen_Lozada/960666

Baked Chicken Drumstick Recipe – Eat Healthy and Well

A baked chicken drumstick recipe is a beauty to behold. It is easy to make, inexpensive, and good for you. A baked chicken drumstick recipe makes kids happy and can be served as an entree for a healthy lunch or dinner.

Chicken

There is something about a good drumstick that is fun to eat and they fit well into your healthy diet plan. A good baked chicken drumstick recipe adds variety to your diet when you tire of ground beef casserole recipes or other inexpensive beef dishes.

Good Recipe With Drumsticks
The important thing to remember about making a baked chicken drumstick recipe is that you must remove the skin from the meat. There is a huge amount of fat in the skin and by removing it prior to cooking this unwanted fat could be easily discarded.

This simple step will also remove many unnecessary calories from your food.
That’s a good thing.

Removing the skin can be done just before cooking. That will allow your chicken to retain an additional layer of protection if you store the meat in your freezer. This is especially important if you put time and effort into butchering a whole bird into more usable portions.

Losing your succulent chicken to freezer burn is one thing but to have wasted time and effort in addition to ruined meat is unacceptable.

Let’s look at a baked chicken drumstick recipe you and your kids will enjoy.

Breaded Parmesan Drumsticks
Ingredients needed:
8 skinned chicken drumsticks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water added
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix the Parmesan cheese and the Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
Beat egg and a splash of water in a separate bowl.
Dip the drumsticks in the beaten egg.

Roll the drumsticks in the Parmesan cheese/ Italian breadcrumb mix to coat.
Place the breaded drumsticks in a baking pan (preferably glass) that has been coated with olive oil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Make It Healthier With Raw Vegetables
You can serve a raw vegetable platter while the chicken is cooking. Your children or guests will have good healthy food to munch on as the luscious smell of baking chicken permeates your home. In this way they will get the raw food enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in these natural foods into them without a fight.
That’s a good thing.

A baked chicken drumstick recipe is simple to prepare and serve. It is easy to extrapolate a good baked chicken drumstick recipe from any of the boneless skinless chicken breast recipes or oven baked chicken breast recipes found in cookbooks or on the Internet.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when baking chicken drumsticks is to overcook the meat. Be sure it is done but the meat will dry out and become less palatable if you cook it too long.

Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. They continue cooking as they sit. Cut into your drumsticks to make sure there is no red blood or meat still present before serving.

This is an excellent time to serve a fresh garden salad because your guests will be salivating at the smell of roasted chicken and will eat a healthy amount of raw vegetables. Use body physiology and psychology to get raw vegetables into your family and friends. It will benefit them greatly in addition to supplying them with great tasting foods.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dr._Dale_Heil/375377