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Old 06-06-2018, 06:36 PM
 
Location: USA
1,722 posts, read 594,282 times
Reputation: 3809

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Let me preface this by saying my preferred method of cooking is to slow cook everything overnight in the oven for 10-12 hrs, from chicken soup to spaghetti sauce to meatballs/sausages to roast beef. This way, I don't need to watch the stovetop, food is cooked to flavorful, tender perfection & it's easy.

However, since I relocated almost 3-mos ago & my electric bill is very high (my entire home is electric)... in fact, 80% higher than my neighbors (I found that out on my electric co's website), today, I just bought a Crock Pot slow cooker. I've never used one before. But, I'm sure my bill is so high as the entire house is so hot from the oven being on for 10-hrs on a regular basis, that the a/c is running constantly.

I'd like to cook a meatloaf & potatoes overnight in the Crock Pot so it's ready for breakfast. I shopped today, so the beef is raw.

Firstly, do I cut the potatoes into small pieces, or is quartering enough? In the oven, I always leave them whole or 1/2 them if they're large. Also, which temp do I use... low or high? Besides Warm, those are the only other settings. I'll be getting up at 8am & it's 8:30pm now, so which time do I put raw meatloaf & potatoes into the Crock Pot?

Any help will be appreciated. Also, if you know of a specific crockpot website with recipes, I'd love to know. I've never used one so have no idea how hot it gets & how long it takes to cook raw vs frozen.

Cheers very much!
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,012 posts, read 17,497,955 times
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I'm not a big fan of the crockpot, but I have a crockpot cookbook with a post-it note with my name on it in my late Grandma's handwriting. She also wrote a note in the front cover that the Louisiana Trinity is chopped onions, celery, and green pepper. I miss my Gram.

I tell you this as fair warning that I haven't made any of these recipes.

Meatloaf #1 "Easy, All-Day Meatloaf and Vegetables"

4 large or 6 medium potatoes, sliced
6 carrots, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 lbs ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. cracker crumbs
1/3 c. ketchup
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place potatoes and carrots in slow cooker, sprinkle with the 1/4 tsp salt.

Combine remaining ingredients. Mix well and shape into a loaf.

Place loaf on top of vegetables, making sure that it doesn't touch sides of slow cooker.

Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,012 posts, read 17,497,955 times
Reputation: 27790
Meatloaf #2

"Ruth Ann's Meatloaf"

1 egg
1/4 c. milk
2 slices day-old bread, cubed
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T chopped green peppers
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1.5 lbs ground beef
1/4 c. ketchup
8 small red potatoes
4-6 medium carrots, cut in chunks

Beat together eggs and milk.

Stir in bread cubes, onions, green peppers, salt and pepper. Add beef and mix well.

Shape into loaf that is about an inch smaller in circumference than the inside of the slow cooker.

Place loaf into slow cooker.

Spread top with ketchup.

Peel strip around center of each potato.

Place carrots and potatoes around meatloaf.

Cover, cook on high 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 7-8 hours longer.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:11 PM
 
Location: USA
1,722 posts, read 594,282 times
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Debsi... Thank you so much! I have my own ingredient recipe, but will follow the instructions in the 1st recipe & place it on low overnight now. I've never eaten anything from a crockpot, so have no idea what to expect. I'm sure there's a learning curve... but, I've got to start somewhere. Just wasn't sure if people put in frozen meat or raw.

When slowcooking in the oven overnight, it doesn't matter. I've done it for so long, I just toss meat/veggies into the pot with water & spices & it's perfect every time. I'm sure I had a learning curve, too... but, I've been doing that for so long, I don't remember.

I'll let you know how it worked out tomorrow. I'm excited to use my new gadget tonight.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,012 posts, read 17,497,955 times
Reputation: 27790
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Typical.Girl View Post
Debsi... Thank you so much! I have my own ingredient recipe, but will follow the instructions in the 1st recipe & place it on low overnight now. I've never eaten anything from a crockpot, so have no idea what to expect. I'm sure there's a learning curve... but, I've got to start somewhere. Just wasn't sure if people put in frozen meat or raw.

When slowcooking in the oven overnight, it doesn't matter. I've done it for so long, I just toss meat/veggies into the pot with water & spices & it's perfect every time. I'm sure I had a learning curve, too... but, I've been doing that for so long, I don't remember.

I'll let you know how it worked out tomorrow. I'm excited to use my new gadget tonight.
Great, let me know how it works out!

There are a lot of crock pot lovers out there. I'm not an expert at it, but I feel like most meat dishes end up with too much liquid around them and kind of bland (stews, shredded chicken, etc). I've never tried to do a meat loaf so do let me know if I should.

I do like the crock pot for heating up mulled apple cider, or making something like beans. I'm sure it's a good choice for spaghetti sauce too, although I'd brown the meat first.
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:22 PM
 
Location: SE Florida
1,199 posts, read 293,570 times
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I have a question, since we do not own or use a crock pot, when do you remove the rendered fat?
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:07 PM
 
Location: USA
1,722 posts, read 594,282 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogboa View Post
I have a question, since we do not own or use a crock pot, when do you remove the rendered fat?

DB... You could open it at any time, just like having a pot in the oven. The tops on most do latch on either side, but, it's not like a pressure cooker where you have to wait for the steam pressure to allow removal of the top. You'd just unlatch & remove the top.


Debsi...

It came out great. I'm really impressed with this little gadget... got it on sale for $29 (6-qt capacity) & it's going to be used for most cooking from now on. So much better than heating the whole house with the oven or having to stand over the stove. In fact, I have a $10 store credit & think I'll return to get their 1-1/2 qt crock pot for $12. I'd use that for rice or noodles or even a small batch of beans... since I'm single, I don't need 6-qts of many things... I mostly bought the larger one for soup & the occasional pot of spaghetti sauce, roast or Cornish hens.

I could have removed it sooner... woke up at 4am & it was done, but I switched it from low to warm & left it 'til 8, cuz I was too tired to care.

I cut potatoes into very small pieces, as if you were going to French fry them & placed them on the bottom, with the loaf on top. I was surprised that in 11-hrs, they weren't overcooked, but just perfect. The meatloaf was perfect, too. Next time, I think I'll try hi temp & will put meat in frozen, so it doesn't overcook. I didn't add any other veggies, cuz if it didn't come out okay, I didn't want to have 6-qts of food to continue cooking. I know some say to parboil on top of the stove first or to fry onions, but that's just another step & another pot to wash & defeats the purpose of using it for convenience. If I have to do that, I'd just cook on the stove top.

Thank you again for your help. It will take a bit of time for me to convert recipes to the crockpot, but in the long run, I'm really going to enjoy it. It's good that I like 1-pot peasant food. I'm also going to figure out how to bake bread in it... I'm sure it can be done. I was surprised how quickly it went from cold to simmer.

Have a great weekend.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:45 PM
 
1,198 posts, read 699,062 times
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We've made meatloaf in a microwave for years. We make it in a round Bundt pan. About 20 minutes.

I love the slow cooker. If you look at the label on the bottom you'll see that they are under 200 watts. I'm nervous about the time it takes to get meat up to a safe temperature on low, so I like to give it an hour on high before switching to low. I like to see 140 degrees. We've not made meatloaf in ours.

There are some old combo deep fryer/slow cookers that are not low energy devices. They depend on a thermostat to get the slow cook temperatures. With 1000 watt heating elements, I would feel less safe leaving one of those things unattended for hours.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,012 posts, read 17,497,955 times
Reputation: 27790
Thanks for reporting back & I'm so glad it was a success.

You don't want to open the crock pot often during cooking or you'll lose your precious heat. Did you feel the need to open it to remove any fat? Were the potatoes at all greasy?

I don't know what % ground beef you used for your meatloaf.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:36 PM
 
Location: USA
1,722 posts, read 594,282 times
Reputation: 3809
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnd393 View Post
We've made meatloaf in a microwave for years. We make it in a round Bundt pan. About 20 minutes.

I love the slow cooker. If you look at the label on the bottom you'll see that they are under 200 watts. I'm nervous about the time it takes to get meat up to a safe temperature on low, so I like to give it an hour on high before switching to low. I like to see 140 degrees. We've not made meatloaf in ours.

There are some old combo deep fryer/slow cookers that are not low energy devices. They depend on a thermostat to get the slow cook temperatures. With 1000 watt heating elements, I would feel less safe leaving one of those things unattended for hours.
Good info, John, thank you.

Mine is 240-watts, but I honestly don't know what that means in Re: to food temp. Unsure how hot my crockpot gets, but when I initially put it on high, it was simmering within 2-3 min max, which I found impressive. When I switched to low, it was very slowly simmering for hours... I'm guessing the means the temp was high enough.

I did luck out on time on warm, however. The instructions say to not leave food longer than 4-hrs on warm, but that's still a fairly long, convenient time.

And, btw, for Dogboa or anyone else looking to buy a Crockpot brand, if you visit their website, their items are cheaper than in the in-store sale prices. I visited 4 stores to price them & got a decent price, but there are much nicer upgrades & varying quarts available... mostly 6 qts are in stores, but there's 7 & 8 online).

https://www.crock-pot.com/
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