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These 20 easy paleo crockpot recipes will make dinner time simple! Make a tasty chicken or beef recipe in your slow cooker that your family will love and works with your clean eating plan.
The weather has turned back to the drizzly gray rain that is synonymous with Portland and I have turned on my crock pot again.
It amazes me how many people don’t use this amazing cooking device. Seriously y’all, nothing breaks down the proteins of meat and makes it more digestible than slow cooking it in a crock pot. Not to mention that you can make a healthy nutritious meal with literally no work.
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Now most people think that you should just dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and it will turn out perfectly. That’s mostly true.
However I want to set you up for success so here are some great cooking tips.
Crock Pot Cooking Techniques
Before you start cooking, there are a few techniques you should know about that will improve the results of your crock pot meals. Even though each recipe you try may not reflect these procedures, you may want to consider giving them a try in order to improve the results of your finished meal.
When most folks think about crock pot cooking, they think that it’s all about throwing everything in the pot in the morning and coming home to dinner at night. Well, you can do that if you wish, but with a little extra preparation you will see better results in your finished crock pot meal. Browning meat and poultry will enhance the color and flavor. The process of the slow cooker naturally will dilute the juices produced by cooking the meat, as steam is rising and gathering on the lid and dripping back into the food. This is the way the crock pot cooks, so the meat flavor will hold up better if it has some richness to begin with. The rich, dark flavors you get when you brown meat and poultry will come through much better in the finished dish.
Many recipes call for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, chicken breasts can dry out pretty quickly cooked for an extended period of time. Leaving the skins on, then removing after cooking is completed, will help reserve the moistness that would be lost otherwise. Another option is to use chicken thighs or drumsticks instead of chicken breasts if you can. The thighs and legs tend to be moister and stand up better to crock pot cooking. You can still take the skin off after the cooking is completed if you like.
Yes, you can just cut the vegetables and throw them in the crock pot. Your meal will be just fine. However, vegetables, especially root vegetables, cook slower than meat does in a crock pot, so to get the timing right, it helps to give your vegetables a head start. In addition, if you sauté your vegetables before adding them to the crock pot, you get a chance to caramelize them a little, start breaking down those sugars that make the flavor of the vegetables sing out. You can also add spices and herbs to your sauté pan, enhancing the aroma and impact that the spices have on the finished dish.
Very solid vegetables such as parsnips, rutabaga, and carrots should be cut small and put in the bottom of the crock pot, or around the sides. Use small to medium size potatoes, scrub them and leave the skins on to preserve their shape. Put them in the bottom of the crock pot, also. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and whole kernel corn will take less time, and, of course, peas should be added only at the last few minutes to maintain their fresh green color. The same would apply to leafy greens like spinach and kale. Greens will tend to lose their texture and color if allowed to cook too long in the crock pot.
I hope that helps you in the kitchen and without further ado here are some delicious, easy crockpot recipes to try!