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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Slow Cooker & Crock-Pot Cooking / Layering Meals in a Slow Cooker
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    Layering Meals in a Slow Cooker

    Ransomed by Fire
    Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:30 am Groupie
    I'm thinking about starting to do a lot more slow cooking, and I'm trying to figure out how to do whole meals without everything being a one pot meal.

    I came across a recipe for a whole steak dinner (steak, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob) in a slow cooker here. This is a good example of what I'm looking for.

    Where could I find more - not necessarily "recipes" per se, but "how to's " like this? And what is the limit?

    Is there a way to do messier things like macaroni and cheese in a format like this along with a meat and a veggie?

    To what extent can you foil pack just about everything, leaving one "dish" out of the three loose in water/broth?

    Also, what are the limits (if any) on adapting traditional foil packet meals (meant for the oven) to the crock pot?
    Red Apple Guy
    Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:55 pm
    Forum Host
    Hello and welcome. I'm sorry I didn't see your post yesterday.

    You've provided the best link I've seen for cooking individual items at the same time in a slow cooker. There are a few posts here in the forum about this, but since there's no good way to search for them, let's just discuss our experiences and use common sense (which is allowed on the forum, by the way, although seldom encouraged icon_lol.gif ).

    I have separated items with heat-safe containers and with foil. Foil has an amazing array of uses in a slow cooker. I once used a lidded bowl to cook rice in the cooker while a stew was cooking. That kept the rice and it's water separate and allowed removal when the rice was done and the stew to continue cooking. I have made packets of veggies much like those cooked on a grill and set on top of other items as they cooked.

    Time of cooking comes into play. Most items are cooked in a slow cooker until they "fall apart" (usually about 200F+). This may not be desireable for faster cooking items like steaks cooked medium, chicken that should be cooked to 170F, and rice and pasta. Separate containers helps in this regard.

    In the example you gave, the potatoes might need the longest cooking, with the steak next (depending on the cut), and then the corn which might be done first. I often have the luxury of being around to watch the slow cooker during the cook. I'd guess most folks don't since that's why many use the slow cooker - set it and forget it.

    Not sure how related this is, but I often use aluminum foil balls to keep items out of the liquid - like a roasting chicken that I want roasted more than stewed.

    Well, hope this helps. You've raised a fascinating question. Keep us here posted on what you learn and try.

    Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:04 am
    Forum Host
    I have never done this, but it is very interesting and would make my large slow cooker more useable for us. I have done the chuck roast wrapped in foil and then placed in the crockpot. I liked how it stayed together rather than falling apart - I don't always want shredded beef! But that's the extent of my experience.
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:51 am
    Forum Host
    Since the kiddos were kids, Charlotte has made chuck roast and veggies in the crock pot. Her approach was to get a blade-in chuck roast and a bunch of baking potatoes and carrots and enough gravy (canned soup and a pack of dry onion soup mix) to feed Cox's Army. Now that's a full meal - or several. But I'd really like to fix a dinner like that without everything swimming in a gallon of gravy. Once we figger out how, we can start a bidness selling inserts to fit any slow cooker and get rich. icon_lol.gif Is that a plan or what?

    Apple Guy
    Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:37 pm
    Forum Host
    Stephanie had this layered recipe also on her site,

    Red, I'm with ya love gravy but often everything ends up tasting the same. I want to try wrapping my roast in foil and also making potatoes and whatever else in the same crockpot. Not sure how the timing would all work.
    Red Apple Guy
    Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:37 pm
    Forum Host
    I saved her layered recipe.

    The trick has to be in selecting items with similar cooking times. A roast and potatoes both require long cooking times (8 hours + on low). chicken and sweet potatoes cook faster (I'll bet her dish would take 5 hours in my cooker on low).

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