Slow cookers....which one do you have?

I am wanting to buy my mom and her husband a slow cooker, she has never used one before and I think it is about time she had one. The one we have is too big for just two people, I think it is a 6 quart one. I was wondering if any of you would let me know which one you have and the pros and cons of it. And if you know of a few good slow cooker receipe books that would also help!

Thank you all for any and all help you might be able to provide!

I love my Rival VersaWare. There are only two of us, and it is a good size. I can fit a chunk of corned beef in it, or a gallon of apple juice for hot apple cider. I love that I can also use it on stovetop, not that I ever do. The one drawback to it is that the sides of the insert are not straight, so it’s a bit more difficult to clean, but I happen to think that’s fairly minor.

I’ve had numerous crock pots, currently I have a large Rival programable and a Proctor Silex smaller one.

My only concern now, after having been through so many, is if the feet/base of the crock pot are one piece. I find the biggest reason I have to replace a crock pot are because the feet have become brittle with use and fallen off. I’ve discovered it is cheaper to buy a new one than it is to order in replacement feet.

My second reason for buying them is because I’ve cracked the crock. That is usually a result of a family member dropping the crock. Look for lids that have a metal rim or are not glass, because those survive falls.

Other than that, the new crock pots cook at a bit higher temperatures than the old ones, this means you can burn food however it is safe to eat the new foods. Luckily, with the programmable ones, you can program them to switch to ‘keep warm’ and that helps prevent the burning.

And I don’t like the way the crock pots that you can use for other things keep warm. Like the ones you can use a griddle or whatever.

I have a 3 1/2 quart Rival that I use most often for DH and myself. It’s not programmable, but I do have the Rival programming gadget, but seldom use it. This is the most convenient size if I want to have enough left for another meal or two. It is oval shaped and it is easier to fit 3 lb. meat cuts in it.

I have a round shaped one by Toastmaster which is only about a 2 quart capacity. It works well mostly for stews or desserts.

Also, I have a little 2-cup size one (like the Rival Little Dipper) that I can use for sauces or gravy. Wish the ceramic pot itself were removable and that you could adjust the temperature on it…

Whatever you get, I recommend that you make sure it has High, Low, and Warm settings.

I, also, have a 6 quart roaster. My complaint with it is that there is a hole in the lid for steam to escape…this dries out whatever you are cooking. Also, the 6 quart size is just a little larger than we need and I hate wrestling with it to wash it in the sink.

I used to have the Black & Decker one that you could use the base for a griddle. Never used the base cause I didn’t wanto get it gunked up with grease. The pot itself was 6 quarts in capacity and it wasn’t hard to clean. I liked it, but decided it would be safer to have a regular crockpot that is surrounded by heat.

I had a 5 quart Euro-Pro. It worked well, but It was so heavy when it came time to wash it.

What I really wish is that the crockpot inserts would be made by Corning. My Corning Ware cookware was always so much easier to clean than the inserts that come in most crockpots. Must say that The Rival insert is not as difficult to clean as the Euro-Pro insert.

I have the spiral-bound Fix-it and Forget It cookbook which has a lot of recipes, but I really like the Betty Crocker Slow Cooker recipe booklets that frequently are found at the check-out counters at Walmart or other grocery stores. I also have a hardback Betty Crocker Slow Cooker cookbook that I refer to often.

I have two crock pots. Both Rival’s. The first one I got almost 20 years ago and it has been a wonderful unit. It was one of the first to have the removable crock for easy washing. 20 years and it is still going strong. My other one I bought last year and now I don’t see them in the stores anymore. It has two clips on the sides for easy transport. We do lots of potlucks with friends so it is quite handy for that. It just has 3 settings, Low, High and Warm. I love my crock pots and use them all the time. I don’t quite get the programmable crockpots or the need for temperature probes. Golly, if you cook a roast on low for 8 hours and it is falling apart tender I don’t think I need a probe to tell me it is cooked :slight_smile: there is a new crock pot out now that comes with three different size crocks. I think that is pretty cool and would probably get it, but with two different crocks already in two different sizes, I think it would be a bit overkill (although I am thinking of getting a small crock that will hold 1.5 qts.)

WHATEVER YOU DO—warn her NOT to cook chicken with the skin on it in the crockpot. The fat in the skin will form a thick greasy liquid layer over everything in the pot. [I]bleeeeech![/I]

Here’s a couple of my favorites, tho’ they are real southern dishes–a northerner might not care for the first 2 (using ham hocks means the skin and bones have to be fished out later). The third and fourth ought to be appealing to most folks tho’.

Southern Butterbeans

2 1# bags of butterbeans, frozen or dry (If you have to you can substitute large limas…the small ones are nasty)
2 smoked ham hocks (if you can smell the smokiness thru’ the package you got good ones)
1 cup fozen okra

Toss into a crock pot, cover with water to an inch or 2 (preferably 2) above food, cook on high for 8 hours. Serve with cornbread, green onions, slices of ripe tomato, and plenty of peppersauce.

Southern Greens

2 smoked ham hocks
2 1# bags collard, mustard, turnip or other greens.

Cover with water and cook in crockpot on high 8 hours. Serve with peppersauce and cornbread.

Ham Dinner (kind of the Southern version of the New England Boiled Dinner)

1/4 of a smoked picnic ham
1# bag of baby carrots
2 1#cans sliced or small whole potatoes (my preference) or diced potatoes (skin on has the most nutrients)
1# can of Italian green beans

Toss in crock pot, do not drain water from cans of veggies, cover with water. Cook on high 8 hours or so. The smoked picnic ham will give a nice rich broth, and should be fork tender. Serve with cornbread.


Meat of choice (couple of ham hocks, or 1# drained bowned ground beef works, or browned stew beef…never tried skinless chicken or smoked turkey)

4# of veggies of choice–I use a can of diced tomatoes, a drained can of whole corn, a can of italian green beans, and a can of potatoes.

1/2 onion, diced

I also add a handful of dried beans (blackeyes or Speckled butterbeans or large limas), a tablespoon of minced garlic, and a cup of okra.

if not using smoked ham, add a couple-3 cubes of boullion.

Cover with water and cook on high for 8 or so hours. Rolls go well with beef, cornbread with ham.

…Dang it, now I’m hungry.

I love my CORNING WARE crock pot , it goes from pot to table & is so easy to clean!.

I wanted to thank you all for the responses! All the info does help me out in figureing which one to get her.

CountryKitty, my grandma was from Oklahoma and I was raised with beans (with saltpork) and cornbread (I’m thinking it is time to make 'em again!) and those receipes do sound good!