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Old 12-09-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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Changing serving size in slow cooker recipe

I'm new to the slow cooker and most of the recipes I see are for anywhere between 4 to 6-8 servings. I need to cook for 2. When changing the amount of ingredients, do I still cook for the time specified in the original recipe or do I cook for a shorter time.

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Old 12-09-2016, 03:50 PM   #2
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Hi Jean, and welcome to Discuss Cooking.

Most days I cook for only the two of us, but leftovers are never wasted. It's really nice to have a freezer meal on hand, or leftovers for lunches.

I don't cook much with crockpots, but when I have, I've never considered breaking down a recipe for only two servings.
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:05 PM   #3
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I'm with Kayelle. I've been cooking for two for nearly 25 years and have never had an issue with too much in the crock-pot, especially this time of the year when everyone is so busy with holiday activities and preparations.

I don't think there's too much to consider with the cooking time when you prepare small portions in your slow cooker. You want to be certain the proteins (meat/poultry) are thoroughly cooked. However, with reduced quantities, you could encounter either overcooking or dryness, in spite of being in the cooker.

If you are new to cooking or, as you say, using a slow cooker, give yourself some time. If you are like the rest of us, you'll have more than one in no time. I do. Several different sizes, which might be a good initial solution for you.

These appliances aren't too costly any more and, often, can be had for even a few dollars at thrift stores. I purchased my favorite 5-quart one at a senior citizens yard sale about 15 years ago...for $2.
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:27 PM   #4
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Not all slow cookers cook at the same temperature, so you will need to use a little judgment, based on experience. I'm assuming that you are using a smaller (3 - 4 qt.) slow cooker, as cooking for 2 doesn't work too well in a large cooker. I would suggest that you cook on the shorter end of the range for smaller quantities in a smaller cooker, and verify that the meat is cooked to the proper temperature with a thermometer.

I recently upgraded my 4 qt. slow cooker to a Cuisinart Multi-Cooker, which heats up much more quickly than a ceramic slow cooker. I'm finding that I have to use a shorter cooking time to compensate. I really like the Multi-Cooker, though, as I can brown the meat in it and then switch to slow cooking mode. It also switches to keep warm mode after the programmed cook time is up.
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:54 PM   #5
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I've had 2 Crock Pots for a couple of years now, one is a 3 quart the other a 6 quart, I just decided it was time to dust them off and put them to use. I guess it's always better to have leftovers so I'll stick to the original recipes. As to freezing the extra, aren't there are lot of 'rules' as to how to do that properly? I really appreciate your help.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:08 PM   #6
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I've had 2 Crock Pots for a couple of years now, one is a 3 quart the other a 6 quart, I just decided it was time to dust them off and put them to use. I guess it's always better to have leftovers so I'll stick to the original recipes. As to freezing the extra, aren't there are lot of 'rules' as to how to do that properly? I really appreciate your help.
As for freezing your leftovers "properly," as long as you follow safe food handling guidelines, there should be no issue.

Such as, letting the food cool down adequately before freezing. That doesn't mean leaving it out on the counter. You can put it in the fridge, in your chosen freezer container in the portions you wish, to cool. Of course, if it's steaming hot, you'll have to wait a short while.

Store your leftovers in freezer-safe containers or freezer zipper-lock bags. Label with date frozen and what's inside.

You'll have some cooking-free days when you are ultra-busy and can rely on these foods waiting for you in the freezer.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:12 PM   #7
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Changing serving size in slow cooker recipe

Hi Jean, welcome!

Not really a lot of rules for freezing. If it's for a short time, I use freezer ziplocks. For longer term freezing, I like my FoodSaver. I use cottage cheese containers for soup and chili. Perfect 2 portion servings.

Ha, Katie and I were posting at the same time! I agree, labeling is very important, unless you like mystery meals.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:20 PM   #8
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Jean, freezing leftovers from crockpot type meals is really easy. After the food has cooled, I use quart size freezer zip lock bags. Bet sure they are made for the freezer.
Open the zipper and fold the opening down over the bag to form a collar. That will both keep the zipper clean, and it will hold the bag open so you can ladle in the food. Unfold the collar, displacing all the air possible, and zip the bag closed. Freeze the bags flat.
Easy peasy!

PS...ahhh yes...label the contents and date before filling bags!!
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:08 PM   #9
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Regarding the food safety question, you can let food cool unrefrigerated for two hours. You can cool large amounts more quickly by putting it in an ice bath, or by putting a frozen water bottle in the pot.
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:37 PM   #10
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Thank you all so much. I feel better about trying this now. Looking forward to meals with no fuss every once in a while.
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:54 PM   #11
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Assuming you have a ceramic crock, remove the leftovers to a different container before putting them in the fridge. The ceramic crock holds too much heat, and you want to cool the food quickly.
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Old 12-10-2016, 03:03 AM   #12
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Thank you all so much. I feel better about trying this now. Looking forward to meals with no fuss every once in a while.
Nice to meet you, JJean, and thanks for stopping by. Can we expect you to stick around and share the meals you're cooking in the slow cookers? It would be nice to see you again.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:42 AM   #13
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I'll definitely be back to let you know how my meal turns out. This is a great place to be, everyone was so helpful.
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Old 12-10-2016, 10:22 AM   #14
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I'll definitely be back to let you know how my meal turns out. This is a great place to be, everyone was so helpful.
The title of this forum should be, "The Helpful Foodies." You have a problem, we have the answer. In fact several solutions to each problem. Glad to have you aboard.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:04 AM   #15
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I'm new to the slow cooker and most of the recipes I see are for anywhere between 4 to 6-8 servings. I need to cook for 2. When changing the amount of ingredients, do I still cook for the time specified in the original recipe or do I cook for a shorter time.
I live alone but still make the full wack of dishes in my 6 portion slow cooker and freeze the excess in individual portions and defrost and reheat in the m/wave
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