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Old 07-30-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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ISO advice/tips re: slow cookers

Hello everyone. I am tempted to try using a slow cooker, but am unsure if and how I can cook my preferred types of food, which includes homemade soups (with added brown rice) or wholewheat pastas and homemade sauce, or variations of oatbran, my favourite is a recipe with mushed bananas : D
I have of course used google, but the results seemed contradictory.. some are saying the rice comes up mushy, others suggest adding the rice towards the end of the cooking process of soup (in the same bowl)
As for pasta and sauce, one link I came across suggested not using water, but instead heating the sauce for 4 hours and then adding the pasta, whereas a different link says its better to ad the pasta and sauce together.
Apparently not all the included recipe books mention rice or pasta, but I definitely need to cook rice or pasta (Brown wholewheat) it's the staple of my diet.

I came across this cooker Buy Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi Cooker - Stainless Steel at Argos.co.uk - Your Online Shop for Slow cookers.

which is basically a slow cooker with a steam function. And it mentions a "cook rice" setting, which only further confounds me, as that almost suggests you require the cook rice function on a slow cooker in order to actually cook rice?

Eagerly await responses as I intend to get a slow cooker tommorow based on feedback : )

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Old 07-31-2014, 07:22 AM   #2
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These are two of the best slow cookers I have ever used!



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Old 07-31-2014, 08:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by redkoatz View Post
Hello everyone. I am tempted to try using a slow cooker, but am unsure if and how I can cook my preferred types of food, which includes homemade soups (with added brown rice) or wholewheat pastas and homemade sauce, or variations of oatbran, my favourite is a recipe with mushed bananas : D
I have of course used google, but the results seemed contradictory.. some are saying the rice comes up mushy, others suggest adding the rice towards the end of the cooking process of soup (in the same bowl)
As for pasta and sauce, one link I came across suggested not using water, but instead heating the sauce for 4 hours and then adding the pasta, whereas a different link says its better to ad the pasta and sauce together.
Apparently not all the included recipe books mention rice or pasta, but I definitely need to cook rice or pasta (Brown wholewheat) it's the staple of my diet.

I came across this cooker Buy Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi Cooker - Stainless Steel at Argos.co.uk - Your Online Shop for Slow cookers.

which is basically a slow cooker with a steam function. And it mentions a "cook rice" setting, which only further confounds me, as that almost suggests you require the cook rice function on a slow cooker in order to actually cook rice?

Eagerly await responses as I intend to get a slow cooker tommorow based on feedback : )
Hi. Slow cookers are designed to be used with foods that normally take a long time to cook. Pasta and rice take, in general, 10 and 15 minutes respectively to cook on the stove top. I think either one would be mushy by the end of a long cook time, even at low temperatures in the slow cooker.

I would make the soup or stew or sauce in the slow cooker and make the rice or pasta separately.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:28 AM   #4
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Two suggestions: See if you can find the slow cooker liners, they will make your clean up life so much easier. Second - we make a chili in our slow cooker (crock pot) that has a pasta in it. We let the chili cook all day, then slightly pre cook the pasta then add it based on how long it will be before we eat. you have to experiment with the timing.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redkoatz View Post
Hello everyone. I am tempted to try using a slow cooker, but am unsure if and how I can cook my preferred types of food, which includes homemade soups (with added brown rice) or wholewheat pastas and homemade sauce, or variations of oatbran, my favourite is a recipe with mushed bananas : D
I have of course used google, but the results seemed contradictory.. some are saying the rice comes up mushy, others suggest adding the rice towards the end of the cooking process of soup (in the same bowl)
As for pasta and sauce, one link I came across suggested not using water, but instead heating the sauce for 4 hours and then adding the pasta, whereas a different link says its better to ad the pasta and sauce together.
Apparently not all the included recipe books mention rice or pasta, but I definitely need to cook rice or pasta (Brown wholewheat) it's the staple of my diet.

I came across this cooker Buy Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi Cooker - Stainless Steel at Argos.co.uk - Your Online Shop for Slow cookers.

which is basically a slow cooker with a steam function. And it mentions a "cook rice" setting, which only further confounds me, as that almost suggests you require the cook rice function on a slow cooker in order to actually cook rice?

Eagerly await responses as I intend to get a slow cooker tommorow based on feedback : )
Personally, I wouldn't add rice or pasta to the contents of the slow cooker. I cook them separately as I need them. There is a tendency for them to go soggy when done with the sauce in the slow cooker.

As for your Tefal thingy,I haven't used one so I asked a friend who has one and she says that you can use it as a slow cooker or a rice cooker but not at the same time.

However, there are lots of slow cooker users on here (and some of the slow cookers are extremely sophisticated compared with British ones!) so they might have other advice.

If I was buying a slow cooker now I would buy one which allows you to fry off the meat and veg in the slow cooker pot on the hob before putting it on the slow cooker base as it saves dirtying a second pan.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:34 PM   #6
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Personally, I wouldn't add rice or pasta to the contents of the slow cooker. I cook them separately as I need them. There is a tendency for them to go soggy when done with the sauce in the slow cooker.

As for your Tefal thingy,I haven't used one so I asked a friend who has one and she says that you can use it as a slow cooker or a rice cooker but not at the same time.

However, there are lots of slow cooker users on here (and some of the slow cookers are extremely sophisticated compared with British ones!) so they might have other advice.

If I was buying a slow cooker now I would buy one which allows you to fry off the meat and veg in the slow cooker pot on the hob before putting it on the slow cooker base as it saves dirtying a second pan.
Can you suggest one of those sophisticated slow cookers? i'm not against ordering from overseas online. So the general consensus is that slow cooking pasta and rice is bad?
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GA Home Cook View Post
Two suggestions: See if you can find the slow cooker liners, they will make your clean up life so much easier. Second - we make a chili in our slow cooker (crock pot) that has a pasta in it. We let the chili cook all day, then slightly pre cook the pasta then add it based on how long it will be before we eat. you have to experiment with the timing.
Have you got a rough idea when you add the pasta, which I assume is white (dry) pasta. I use wholewheat, which needs a little more time to cook, so I can just add 5 minutes or so to whatever works well for you.
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by redkoatz View Post
Can you suggest one of those sophisticated slow cookers? i'm not against ordering from overseas online. So the general consensus is that slow cooking pasta and rice is bad?
Slow cookers have there place but as with anything it's how you use it.

Sophistication of the device is good but sophistication of the cook is what gives you a good outcome.

Rice and pasta aren't "bad" in a crock but they don't need as much time to cook as other ingredients. It's better to add them later in the process. One plus for adding them is the starch in them will help thicken what your cooking if it needs it.

As to when to add them. No one can tell you because that comes down to how you like them cooked. All you can do is experiment and come up with your preferred times.

I've found that experimentation is the key with a crock pot. Hey it's fun to play with your food and in this case your allowed. Timing is the hard part yet when you do find the ones that work for you it is a very easy way to cook many tasty things while your busy doing other stuff.

About the only feature I'd add to my crock pots is a delayed start. The higher temperatures of newer crocks cook things to fast for the toss it in in the morning before you leave and it's done when you get home. Usually it's overdone after a day away. They have crocks that do this but a simple timer works too.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:11 PM   #9
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It's just my opinion, but unless you really need to be away from the kitchen for an extended period of time, crock pots are useless. They are wonderful for holding food to serve. Again, that's only my opinion.

There's nothing better than tending a pot.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:59 PM   #10
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Oh, I don't know about that, Kayelle. I've made some pretty fine stuff in all of my CPs.

I do like CP lasagna, many nice recipes to google. The noodles do a good job of keeping their shape, you break them up, and no pre-cooking.
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