Crock pot cooking is great for those who have the desire for good home cooked meals but just don't have the time to prepare it. Crock pots work all day on dinner while you are away.
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The Hamilton Beach 33275 three quart is the perfect size for up to three people. Getting the right size is important. If you cook for only 2 or 3 people, like we do, and use a big 6+ quart cooker, the meal can dry out unless you always cook enough for two or three meals. Putting a small roast in small 3 quart cooker is a recipe for juicy roasts than cut with a fork.
The trick to crock pot cooking is keeping the meal surrounded by plenty of stock and steam. An inch or two on the bottom is perfect. I add about 1/2 cup of either broth or water to the three quart cooker. A larger cooker would need a lot more liquid. So, buy accordingly. Don't overdo it and choose some huge washtub size crockpot for only one or two people!
The lid had a steam spout, which is a nice feature that many crock pots (some much pricier) do not have. Without the steam valve, the lid constantly lets steam out the edges, often creating a wet kitchen counter surface.
The ceramic crock lifts out of the cooker and can be washed in a dishwasher. The cooker is cleaned by just wiping it with a damp cloth. The crock can also be used as a serving platter! Just be careful when placing on scratch sensitive surfaces as the underside of the crock is a bit rough and can scratch table or counter surfaces.
The cooker has three settings...high, low, and warm.
We get the best results by far with the low setting. This takes almost twice the time to cook, but if you are going to use a crock pot, make full use of the technique. Avoid using the high setting; you might as well use an oven in that case.
Typical roasts cook in about 8-10 hours on low. Best choice. A basic recipe booklet is included, but experiment with everything you can think of that's in your kitchen cabinets. Use lots of spice, butter, wine, etc. Come up with your own recipe. I made up a chicken soup recipe that would make the Soup Nazi (from Seinfeld) drool.
I found that it's almost impossible to overtook a roast with a crock pot. An extra hour of cooking is no problem...unlike a regular oven!
I found one for $20 earlier this year. It's paid for itself many times over with great meals that rival any restaurant.