Today's hectic schedules can make it difficult for families to eat homecooked meals for dinner. Lengthy commutes and extracurricular activities for children often mean that the family may not return until long after 5 p.m. On nights such as these, fast food options can be tempting. Another option is using a crockpot. These electric appliances are also called slow cookers. Food is placed in them with a small amount of water and covered with a lid. The contents cook slowly at a controlled temperature all day, yielding tender, flavorful results for a dinner that will be ready when you arrive home.
Things You'll Need
- Water or broth
- Olive oil
- Dried herbs of your choice
- Vegetables of choice (such as washed and peeled potatoes, onions and carrots)
- Meat thermometer (optional, but recommended)
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water. Plug in your slow cooker, but do not yet turn it on. Remove your roast from the freezer, release it from its packaging and rinse it well in cold running water. Place it on a plate.
Measure one cup of water or broth and pour it into a saucepan placed on the stove. Heat the water until it is very warm, but do not allow it to boil. Remove the saucepan from heat and turn off the stove.
Combine a tablespoon of olive oil and up to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of assorted dry herbs or seasonings of your choice. Stir with a spoon and rub this mixture on all sides of the frozen meat. Wash your hands again.
Pour the warm water or broth from the saucepan into the crockpot. Put the roast into the water in the crockpot and turn the unit on the "low" setting. Wash your hands for a third time and prepare the vegetables of your choosing to be placed over and around the meat in the crockpot.
Allow the roast to simmer slowly all day, up to 12 or 14 hours. At the end of the cooking time, check the roast to make sure that it has cooked through, turn off and unplug the crockpot and allow the food to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Place the roast and the vegetables on a serving platter for slicing.
Tips & Warnings
- Step 2 is essential when cooking a frozen roast in a crockpot. The pot must be unheated and warmed gradually from within with warm liquid before receiving the frozen roast. If a frozen portion of meat is immediately placed in a preheated crockpot, the pot could crack. If a frozen roast is put into a cold crockpot and cold water added, cooking time would be extended unnecessarily. The warm water or broth should be added in the fourth step prior to adding the roast.
- Cooking thawed meat in a crockpot would take 6 to 8 fewer hours using this method. When preparing thawed meat in this manner, allow the crockpot to adjust to a low heat setting for at least three minutes before room temperature water and the thawed roast are added.
- For safety reasons, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the roast at the end of cooking.
- Photo Credit Oven roasted meat with vegetables image by Rony Zmiri from Fotolia.com
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