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Yes you can use any cheaper cuts of meat or chicken and yes less liquid is used in slow cookers. add hard veges n use green veges for end of cooking time. cook for 6 or 8 hrs on low. Yeilds ecellent results. Find slow cooker books for great meals n desserts. I use mine every week.
The appliance is called a steam table, and it operates on the same principle as a double-boiler. The design uses water as a thermal buffer between the heating element and the food, and ensures that the food is kept at food-safe serving temperature (varies by food, but typically over 140F, sometimes over 170F) but won't let the food get hotter than 212F so it doesn't burn or overcook the food.
If it's splattering boiling water, then it's overfilled and you should reduce the amount of water, but only by a little bit. A steam table should NEVER be allowed to run completely dry.
As for the steam getting you when you take out a pan -- that's true, and you do have to be very careful when you remove pans from a steam table.
Like ou, we got one as well and they are great.
If it's burning or overcooking on Low, it may be the heat control is malfunctioning. My wife made several suggestions...
1. Take it back to where you bought it and exchange it for another.
2. Call Rival Customer Service and ask them about it 1-800-557-4825
3. Put a layer of vegetables (carrots, celery, potatoes, etc) on the bottom and meat on top of it, with fluid to keep it moist. Cook on low for shorter periods of time.
Teflon is very dangerous. I discovered this when I got birds. Teflon is so deadly that if it is even slightly heated (by having a pan in the drawer below the stove) by having the oven on, it kills birds - immediately. It becomes airbourne and is that toxic. I know of so many examples of bird's dying from it. Can you imagine how tramatic it would be to be cooking and your bird drops dead. I had to get rid of all my pans because of them. And I'm glad for it. So it would be, not deadly, but not great to ingest for humans. Teflon is also in some heaters so its good to check that too.
Pressure cookers are only slightly more complicated than crock pots. In fact, you can think of them as the opposite of Crock pots. Where a crock pot needs 2-3 times as long to cook something, the pressure cooker needs only 1/2 to 1/3 of the time.
These are not that complicated and haven't changed in the last 50 years. The only real hard part is being sure is doesn't explode; not that hard: don't cook things that would foam, like pasta or potatoes. Just read some recipes on the internet or get a recipe book at a bookstore, used book store (super-cheap)or the library. My best advice is to make sure you use the lowest possible heat that still allows steam to escape at a whisper. That will keep things from burning (or scorching) on the bottom, which can give a harsh taste and make clean-up more work. Just do it.