Forgetting to Prep the Slow Cooker Items

16 Oct

Like many families, everyone is running in a million different directions all at once.  Our typical week contains homework, karate, swimming lessons, physical therapy, play dates, Sunday school and any number of other projects that come up.  Luke and I have been trying to simplify things by planning ahead and using the slow cooker, but on occasion, we don’t get the prep done in time.  What can I say, our meal planning is a work in progress.  We have, however, discovered a new weapon in the kitchen; a pressure cooker!  Ours is a 6 quart, that is similar to this one.

Fagor Cookware

While Luke had some experience using a pressure cooker before, I never have.  My mom just happened to give one to us over the summer when we were visiting her.  (She REALLY likes to buy things from QVC – I’m sure I will write about that another time!)

Let’s get back to the pressure cooker.  The other day Luke and I were planning to make a slow cooker recipe with beans.  We woke up that morning and realized that neither of us had soaked the beans.  I recommended that we soak them, then use the pressure cooker later on that evening.  It worked great!  Since then, we have steamed artichokes, made rice and last night we made Kalua Pork.  The artichokes were a pretty good size, and even kept whole, steamed in 6 minutes!  The Kalua Pork was WONDERFUL and super easy!  I’ll post the recipe in a bit.

Finally, this brings me to the rice.  Plain brown rice.  Every now and then, I will admit to resorting to the frozen, pre-made rice that we have found at Trader Joe’s.  I wondered, why can’t we just make our own rice and freeze it for those nights that we get behind schedule?  Since we are able to make quite a bit of rice in a 6 quart pressure cooker, we did just that!  We portioned it in Ziploc bags and now we are ready for nights we don’t have an hour to cook rice!

Frozen brown rice

The only thing I would do differently is to put the rice into the bags in a thinner layer, so they stack better in the freezer and you can loosen up the rice a bit prior to reheating.  Luke loaded the Ziplocs, and in an attempt to get all the air out, forced all of the rice to the bottom of the bag and the top few inches of the bag are folded over.  We’ll try the flatter way next time, but this still works.

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6 Responses to “Forgetting to Prep the Slow Cooker Items”

  1. Jessica October 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM #

    I am anxious for a follow up on how the rice thawed. Did you notice any texture change?

    In exchange for your time saving tip here is one for you. Whenever my grocery store runs 3 lb bags of onions buy one get one free, I take them home and dice up all 6 lbs or more at one time. I portion them out in to sandwich size ziplocs of 3/4 to 1 cup depending which measuring cup os not in the dishwasher. I then put the sandwich bags into a freezer safe gallon size ziploc, and pop that in the freezer. I usually get 2+ gallons out of 6 lbs. Onions are in many of my worknight meals, and are often the only thing that requires me to get out a knife and cutting board. Oh yeah and and no wasted money on spoiled onions. Not to mention I can maximize the sale!

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    • Our Life With Kids October 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM #

      We used Hinode whole grain brown rice in the pressure cooker. http://www.hinode.us/our-products/medium-grain/whole-grain-brown
      It was the first time using this brand, and we really liked it. The pressure cooker manual recommended cooking for 15-20 minutes. We chose the shorter cooking time since we knew we would be microwaving it when it came out of the freezer. We put the frozen rice in a covered bowl to reheat for about 3 minutes. Texture was perfect!

      I love the onion idea – thanks!! I definitely do better when I have those types of tasks completed ahead of time! I’ve done the same thing with kale when we had extra and were leaving for vacation. I washed it, dried it well and chopped it, then put it into a storage container in the freezer. We later sauteed it and it was great!

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  2. melissa h. October 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM #

    I grew up with a pressure cooker and have one myself but I’m so wary of opening it after food has been “pressurized.” I’ve witnessed a pressure cooker lid blow off — it was scary. The force was so strong that the lid stuck to the ceiling by its spout (it had a little spout on the top of it where you’d put a special weight on it so that the steam could gradually escape).

    My pressure cooker is similar to yours. I love it for frozen or tough cuts of meat. Cooks it up in a jiffy! If only I wasn’t so afraid to open the lid, I’d probably use it more.

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    • Our Life With Kids October 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM #

      I am PETRIFIED of it, but need to learn to get past that! However, that is why I often say “we” when discussing it…”we” is really Luke! He does like to cook and I haven’t yet learned my way around the pressure cooker.  I’m a wiz at coming up with the recipes and ideas for what to cook, and for bossing directing him around the kitchen, but need to master the pressure cooker!

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  3. Dorothy October 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM #

    I’m a huge slow cooker fan! I use it at least 3 times a week! Great ideas Jennifer 🙂 Would love to read more slow cooker recipes from you in the future. I have a post coming up in the next few days about my slow cooker incident. Great connecting with you on the SD Mom Blogger group.

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    • Our Life With Kids October 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

      Thanks! I will be working on making items from the American Heart Association Slow Cooker Cookbook with the kids. Some of what the book does is substitute canned low-sodium items for the regular items. Luke and I have been discussing how many items we can pre-prep; such as fresh tomatoes, so we don’t have to use canned and can add our own seasonings. We don’t want to make the slow cooker difficult, so we may do a one day food-prep, separate out the ‘fixings’ then proceed with normal slow cooker intentions. Can’t wait to hear about the “incident”!

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