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Old 10-29-2017, 01:20 PM   #1
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Slow cookers on timers?

I worked at home for 20 years so I was always there to start a crockpot meal whenever it needed starting. I'm gone from the house now from 5am to 5:30 pm and my family is missing some of the crockpot meals I used to make. Most of my recipes require cooking for between 6 and 8 hours so I can't really start it before I leave in the morning.

I thought of getting a slow cooker with a timer... I could get everything in the crock at night and put it in the fridge. In the morning I'd put the crock into the cooker, set the timer and leave. It obviously wouldn't start cooking for several hours... Is that ok? I don't want the food to spoil while waiting for the cooker to start.

Does anyone do something similar to this?

Any advice is appreciated


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Old 10-29-2017, 02:04 PM   #2
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The food in the crockpot will warm to room temperature. That puts it in the danger zone for several hours. I see that as a problem.

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Old 10-29-2017, 04:32 PM   #3
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Like Andy said, room temp food is safe up to 2 hrs. and no longer. The question is how long does it take for the pot of food from the refrigerator to reach room temperature, and that has to be a guess.
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Old 10-29-2017, 05:34 PM   #4
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There are slow cookers that switch to a keep warm setting after a prescribed cooking time, but 4 to 6 hours on keep warm might be a bit much. Have you thought about a pressure cooker? A lot of slow cooker and pressure cooker recipes are pretty much the same, with the difference being the cooking time. If you prepped everything the night before, you could have dinner on the table in less than an hour, and in some cases, much less than an hour. With an automatic pressure cooker like an Instant Pot, many dinners are dump the ingredients into the pot, set the cooking time, and wait for dinner to be done.

By the way, it is not recommended to put a refrigerated crock in the slow cooker, as it may take too long to reach a safe temperature.
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Old 10-30-2017, 06:53 AM   #5
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Have you considered saving those family favorite crockpot dinners for the weekend only? You will be home and able to monitor it.

Sounds like from the replies you have received so far, the best and safest one you have gotten is try a pressure cooker. Your idea sounds too iffy safe wise to me.
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Old 10-31-2017, 03:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jcv View Post
I worked at home for 20 years so I was always there to start a crockpot meal whenever it needed starting. I'm gone from the house now from 5am to 5:30 pm and my family is missing some of the crockpot meals I used to make. Most of my recipes require cooking for between 6 and 8 hours so I can't really start it before I leave in the morning...
Does everyone leave the house at 5:00 AM? Or is someone around until, say, 9-ish? If there is someone who could start the slow cooker after you leave, maybe you could prep all of the ingredients for them to assemble into the pot before they leave for the day. If your family is missing these meals, maybe your family could be interested in helping make them happen.
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Old 11-03-2017, 03:28 PM   #7
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This might be another option, albeit a more expensive one. This is a slow cooker that has a built-in fridge to keep food cold until the timer tells it to cook. This would give you the ability to prepare everything the night before, safely keep it cold, and set it to start after you leave for work.


It also has an option to keep your food warm for 4 hours, after which it goes back into refrigeration mode, so your food won't spoil.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:45 AM   #8
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I rarely cook in a slow cooker, and like you, I am gone much longer than the 8 hours the food needs to cook. For that reason, I usually reserve crockpot meals for the weekend. However, I have used the timer for some crockpot meals, and it works just fine. But I only use it on meals that need a full 8 hours to cook on low (beef) so that my food isn't sitting out on the counter for 4 hours before the thing kicks on. I also put the meat in the freezer when I first wake up in the morning to get it extra chilled before dropping it in the pot right before walking out the door in the morning.

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