Home > Food > Cooking Tips > Cooking Tools > Jump-Start Dinner
|

Jump-Start Dinner

Cooker Caveats

Bacteria have a better chance of growing if food has been partially cooked and then re-refrigerated That's why it's okay to cook onions but not brown meat.

Slow Savvy

You can easily make salad dressings at home in any jar with a tight-fitting lid. The general ratio is one part acid (any vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice) to three parts oil. Always add your seasoning to the vinegar first and shake it well, because seasoning doesn't dissolve in oil. Add the oil last and shake it again.

Are you stressed just getting out the door on time in the morning, let alone preparing tonight's meal before you leave for work? There's no reason you can't have everything ready to roll the night before—but be careful.

It's fine to cut all the vegetables and measure all the ingredients beforehand, but don't layer them in the slow cooker until just before you turn it on. It's fine to do steps like sautéing the onions and garlic, but don't brown the meat. And keep the meat or poultry separate from the vegetables for food safety until you put them into the slow cooker.

Serve-Alongs

The main part of dinner is set as soon as you turn on the slow cooker in the morning. But it's nice to have a few crunchy things as a textural contrast to the silky soft stew your slow cooker will cook.

A tossed green salad is a great start to any stew dinner. Pick a dressing that's in the same flavor family as the stew. For example, if you're serving a French or Italian stew, a vinaigrette dressing is always a good choice. If the stew is Mexican, add a bit of cumin to the dressing. And if it's Asian, use soy sauce instead of salt.

Along with a tossed salad, bread is always welcome. Once again, tie it to the theme of the meal. If it's a Mexican dish, serve heated flour or corn tortillas instead of bread.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking © 2003 by Ellen Brown. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks